Does anyone know that scene from Up where the dog is super excited while talking to the old man and then, all of a sudden, whips his head in the other direction and says, “SQUIRREL”? Ugh, so good! … but also, ugh, not so good because I am most definitely the dog IRL. With the amount of distractions available these days, I think most of us are facing a pretty steep and scary decline in the attention span area.
A few months ago I became particularly frustrated with the number of hours I was wasting and how I chose to spend my free time. I’ll give you a hint… it involved a handheld 4 x 6 screen, some Wi-Fi, and a very craned neck. The worst! I had a laundry list of projects to work on, people to see, and things to learn, and I was done letting all the outside noise and poor behavior get in the way. Insert: my new best friend, The Habit Tracker.
I came across habit trackers when I started getting back into bullet journaling (more on this later), and the concept has honestly been a game changer. You can start anywhere and anytime, and all you need is a pen and a piece of paper (OR the custom template that I made for you guys to download!).
It’s a simple practice:
Decide what habits you want to prioritize on a daily and monthly basis, and act accordingly.
If you’re using my template, first, circle the current month in the upper right hand corner. Next, fill in the days of the week row according to the month. Then, choose a handful of habits that you want to monitor over the next couple of weeks and write them in the long column under “Habits.” Every day that you complete the habit, place a mark in the corresponding box. You can shade in the box or mark it with an X, a checkmark, a dot, etc. Anything works! The goal is to fill in as many boxes as you can. At the end of the month, you will have an entire page of feedback on your behavior and progress. You’ll be able to see which habits you were able to stick to and where you fell a little short.
What Counts as a Habit?
Whatever you want! It can be anything from “Stand up from Computer Every Hour,” “Cook Twice a Week,” or “Work on Side Hustle” to something as simple as “Floss”, “Take Off Makeup” or “Journal.” The only thing I’ll say is, make sure you’re not going overboard. There’s room for 15 habits in the template I provided, but there’s no need to fill out the entire thing. If the only thing you want to work on is making a homemade lunch every day, stick to that. What you don’t want is to overwhelm yourself with so many goals or habits that you don’t end up doing any of them!
Why Track Your Habits?
My habit tracker has been a godsend. It keeps me accountable and forces me to be honest with myself about my behavior. I used to never get a good night’s sleep because I was on my phone watching YouTube videos until the crack of dawn. Now, I desperately want those check marks next to “Get 8 Hours of Sleep” and “Read for 20 minutes,” so I power down the screen and get out my book at 10:30pm most of the time instead of staring at my phone all night.
Another example - I used to come home from a long day of work and sit on my phone or computer for an hour or two. Instead, I put down that I wanted to go for a walk and listen to a podcast or go to the gym. Once I added it to my habit tracker, I would come home from work, give myself 15-20 minutes to relax, and get back out the door for my exercise. Slowly but surely, it’s helped me eliminate (or greatly decrease) a lot of bad behavior and stop wasting time! I feel good having a few simple and accessible tasks in front of me every day, and I feel even better when I get them done!
I hope this is a good start for those of you who are looking to make some changes or get back on track. Life’s tricky and sometimes we fall off the bandwagon, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hop back on!
Tag me on Instagram or let me know in the comments if you’re going to start tracking your habits. We got this!