“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Alright, overachiever, you’ve picked a habit to work on and now you’re ready to crush it! Time to just jump into the deep end, right?
As much as habit change is about actually following through, another key component that most people fail at is tracking their progress. Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably great at coming up with goals or habits, but probably not great at tracking whether or not you’re working towards them
Over the years, I have to say the overwhelming number of goals and habits I set out to achieve were not tracked. And to no one’s surprise, most if not all of those ended in failure.
However, for all the times I did track my progress, I noticed something – that I stayed with the goal longer and was more likely to achieve it. Maybe there is something to this habit tracking, after all.
If you haven’t tried using a habit tracker yet, you should definitely start one.
3 Reasons Why It’s So Important to Track Your Progression
First of all, you want to be able to see your progress and how far you’ve gone. It’s like when you’re driving on a long road trip and you check on Google Maps how far you’ve driven and how much longer your trip is. It helps you stay on the journey, and gives you a sense of where you are. No one likes surprises.
Another reason why tracking your progress is that you don’t want to rely purely on willpower and motivation to keep you going. Motivation is great to start you off on your journey, but it’s a horrible tool to keep you going. When you track your progress, you can see every step you’ve taken, and, at some point, your brain tells you, “we’re in too deep now, we can’t just quit.”
At that point, you make the switch from motivation to complete your goal to using perseverance – you persist on your journey because you feel and know you’re getting closer and that it’d be way worse to quit than to keep moving forward.
Lastly, tracking your progress visually keeps you accountable to yourself. Let’s say your goal is to not drink soda. If you didn’t track this, you’d have no way of really knowing how many sodas you’ve had in a week, a day, or even an hour. And if someone asked you, you’d probably go easy on yourself, and say something like, “eh probably 1 or 2 this week. It wasn’t that much.”
BUT if you tracked every soda you drank a day, and looked at it, you’d see the real number, and either be like…
Either way, habit tracking let’s you see the real story rather than one you make up for yourself.
BONUS reason why habit tracking is awesome
It’s awesome looking back at your track after several months and see your growth over time. It’s a sense of pride that can’t be bought. (Definitely a NOICE moment. At the very least, a positive “oh snap.”)
But Habit Tracking Can Be A Ton Of Work
Businesses realize how important habit tracking is, and there are a ton out on the internet. If you go to the App Store, you’ll probably find at least a jack ton (that’s a number, right?) of apps that do NOTHING but track habits.
On top of ALL those apps, you can also jerry-rig together an Excel spreadsheet, or buy one of those notebooks or journals made to track habits. And there’s probably a ton of other ways I haven’t named.
What I’m trying to say is this – there are a SHIT ton of ways to track your progress, and figuring out the right one can leave you with your head spinning.
On top of figuring out the right tracking system, you have to learn how to use it AND fit into your schedule. In other words, you have to create a habit out of using the habit tracker that’s supposed to help you create the ACTUAL habit you want to create.
It’s unnecessarily confusing and this is where most people just throw up their arms, say, “fuck it,” and wing it.
But It Doesn’t Have To Be Stupidly Complex To Work
Rather than trying to learn some fancy schmancy tracker app, all you need are 2 things:
- An index card
- A pen
That’s all. Seriously.
This is what you do:
- Take the index card
- Write down your habit goal. (If you need help how to write a goal, click this out.)
- Under your goal, write down why you want to reach this goal. Make it mean something to you. A reason like “coz I want to lose weight” is a shitty reason. Dig deeper and find out the true reason why this goal will positively affect your life.
- Now, turn the index card over.
- Draw 6 horizontal lines and 5 vertical lines (don’t need to be perfect lines)
And…there you have it! Your very own Habit Card!
Wait…what’s a habit card?
It’s your new habit tracker, silly rabbit!
Each box represents a day for the next 30 days. Your goal is to be as consistent with your habit as possible. Here’s what you do:
- Each day you do your habit, put an X in the box. Boom! Crushin’ it.
- For each day you don’t do your habit, leave the box empty. (Bummer)
The whole idea with the habit card is to give you a simple, cheap, and clear habit tracker. You don’t have to download anything, or go through tutorial videos. You either put down an X or not. It’s that simple.
Your goal is to write down 30 Xs and fill up your habit card. Because if you can do that, you’ll build the necessary momentum and consistency that will lead to success.
You want to know what humans hate? Seeing an empty box.
Seriously, I have anxiety thinking to myself looking at my habit card and seeing blank boxes. This means that I consciously decided I wasn’t working on my goal that day. And knowing that sucks.
Trust me, you’re going to hate seeing blank boxes on your card too. Think of them as as your own personal Dikembe Mutombo – they’re there to block you from NOT working on your goal.
Where To Go From Here
“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”
– Muhammad Ali
I would highly recommend that everyone give a habit tracker a try at least once. It’s astounding how many things we do on a daily basis that we don’t even notice. I don’t know about you, but I like knowing what’s going on with my time because I want to do a better job of managing my time.
You make the choices that determine your life. And we believe, there are 2 choices you can make in Life – you either choose to get better or choose to get worse. No one forces anything on you. You’re in control. To get where you want to go, you have to take the necessary steps every single day to get there.
And the best part is – these steps don’t have to be big ones. Honestly, they shouldn’t be. All you need are baby steps – small wins.Accomplishment cannot spring from nothing Click To Tweet
Remember, in order to change your life, you must change your habits. Using a habit tracker helps you make the small changes each and every day that lead to huge results over time.In order to change your life, you must change your habits. Click To Tweet
And the beautiful thing about using the habit card as your habit tracker is that it perfectly captures these choices – an X means you choose to get better and a blank box means you choose to get worse.
Are you going to choose to get worse in life? NO NO NO, NOT IN MY HOUSE!
Thanks for Reading!
Help others track their goals – share this with your friends!This no-brainer habit tracker just blew my mind! Click To Tweet
Would love to Hear from You
How are you currently tracking your progress? Feel free to share your thoughts here in the comments.