Habit tracking has become a huge win for me this year. The knowledge I’ve gained reading Atomic Habits combined with my Bullet Journal habit tracker have helped me cultivate good habits and eliminate bad habits that I’ve struggled with for years.
I keep it simple and commit to a maximum of five habits each month, but rarely more than four. I find I lose focus and get overwhelmed if I try to do too much. I use the columns in my Bullet Journal’s monthly collection, one column for each habit I’m tracking.
Exercise is a mainstay habit this year. I’m following Atomic Habits’ advice and aiming for consistency. I use small routines that last for no more than 20 minutes and don’t require any (minimal) equipment.
- Four rounds of max pull ups, interspersed with max hanging leg raises
- Four rounds of max push ups, interspersed with max crunches
- Four rounds of pistol squats, interspersed with a timed static bridge hold
- Running, usually 5-10km
- Yoga, usually 20 minutes
Taking into account illness and forced days out I hit an 80% strike rate, completing 197 workous of a possible 244 days. This is a vast improvement on any other time in my life. I’ve always struggled to maintain any sort of consistency, finding myself in the motivated-then-can’t-be- bothered cycle many people do.
Daily reflection is another ongoing habit I’ve cultivated. Every morning and every evening I spend 5-15 minutes either planning or reviewing, or both. A description of my complete process is for another blog post, but I can’t stress how important it has become. It keeps me on track and working towards what I’ve pre-defined as the most important things in my life, and helps me make adjustments where necessary. It also forces me to acknowledge the little wins I’ve had during the day, something I’ve never done enough of being particularly self-critical.
One of the most satisfying feelings is the feeling of making progress — Atomic Habits
Other good habits I’ve cultivated and bad habits I’ve eliminated that I can attribue to habit tracking are:
- Flossing — I floss every night.
- Gratitude — Every day I write down two things I’m grateful for.
- Offline evenings — I put my phone and laptop away before I put the kids to bed each night. I spend most nights reading instead of being sucked into staring at a screen.
- Meditation — I meditate first thing every morning for 20 minutes.
And finally, had it not been for habit tracking and the motivation I get from not wanting to miss: writing. I’ve committed to publishing two blog posts each week, on Tuesday and Friday. It’s now 21:33 on Friday night. Had it not been for habit tracking I would have postponed this post, and probably never written it. Now I get to click publish, keep the chain unbroken, and hopefully in the future see the results compound.
Small habits don’t add up. They compound — Atomic Habits