Why Tracking is Important

By Mark Buchl

People do not decide their futures; they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.” R.M. Alexander

The NO-BRAINER way to track your success   http://www.chillpill.io/habit-tracker/

As much as habit change is about actually following through, another key component that most people fail at is tracking their progress.  Over the years an overwhelming number of goals and habits set are not tracked.  And to no one’s surprise, most if not all of those ends in failure.

However, for all the times progress was tracked people stayed with the goal longer and were more likely to achieve it.  Maybe there is something to tracking goals.

3 Reasons Why It’s So Important to Track Your Progression

  1. You want to be able to see your progress and how far you’ve gone. It helps you stay on the journey
  2. Tracking your progress helps you not rely purely on willpower and motivation to keep you going. Motivation is a great tool 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, 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 the goal is in sight.
  3. Tracking your progress visually keeps you accountable to yourself. If 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.  If you tracked every soda you drank a day and looked at it, you’d be like…. Wow, Oh Snap!!   Habit tracking let’s you see the real story rather than the one you make up for yourself.

 

BONUS Awesome Reason why habit tracking rocks

  • It’s awesome looking back at your tracker after several months and see your growth over time. It’s a sense of pride that can’t be bought.

7 Benefits to tracking your habits:   https://wealthygorilla.com/7-reasons-start-tracking-your-habits/

  1. You’ll be likelier to achieve your goals.
    1. By breaking down your big goals into small habits, and tracking them, you’ll feel more confident and in control of your destiny.
  2. Tracking you habits on a daily basis gives you a sense of everyday accomplishment.
    1. You’ll have more motivation to keep them going the next day and so forth.
  3. You’ll learn which habits you find difficult being consistent in, thus making it likelier that you make adjustments.
  4. You will feel in control of your life and won’t look back on the week with a sense of forgetfulness
    1. You’ll know exactly what you did and didn’t do
  5. You can break your social media addiction by tracking how many times you check email and social media on a daily basis.
  6. You can make the connection between you habits and your current life, meaning that you appreciate just how powerful they are and use them accordingly
  7. You’ll start to recognize that everyone is where they are due to the compound effect of their habits.

Why you should be tracking your habits (and how to do it well)   https://exist.io/blog/habit-tracking/

When choosing a new habit to track, consider these three aspects:

  1. Motivation
    1. Choose a habit you care about doing regularly not what other people think is important.
  2. Regularity
    1. The more often you do your habit, the stronger it will become.  Repetition makes the behavior automatic, something you do without thinking, which is when we call it a habit.  If you’re only doing something once or twice a week, it’s going to take a long time for that behavior to develop into a habit.
    2. Try and find a habit you can track every day, or every weekday at least. The more you do it the faster you’ll develop it into a real habit
  3. Achievability
    1. IF you aim to run 5k every day after not exercising for the past two years, you probably won’t keep that up for long. To keep on track with you new habit you need to choose something achievable, so you’ll always feel that if you make the effort you CAN do it.
    2. If you need to choose something tiny to start with, go for it. Better a tiny habit that you do every day than a huge one you hardly ever complete.

How to Build Solid Habits

  1. Work on one habit at a time
    1. Focusing on several new behaviors at once will mean you can’t fully focus on any one of them.
    2. Going to the gym every morning and getting 8 hours of sleep every night what do you do when you have a late night? Sleep in and get your 8 hours or go to the gym.
  2. Stack your Habits
    1. Use a trigger to remind yourself to do it. If your habit is to do 20 pushups every morning, you could use getting out of bed as your trigger.  Once you have the habit of doing 20 pushups once you get out of bed you stack other habits on it like do 20 sit-ups as well.  Now stack a third, maybe you want to spend some time reading every morning after exercising.  Now you have stacked three habits all triggered by getting out of bed.

Build time into your day

  1. If you complete your new habit at any time, on any day, you won’t get the advantage of familiarity that helps you get used to doing that behavior without thinking about it.
    1. To make your habits automatic faster, plan them into your day. The them in the same way, in the same place, at the same time every day.  It helps to make a habit automatic much faster if your trigger and environment are always the same.

How to track

  1. Paper
    1. The ol’ trusted favorite. If you use a diary or daily planner, try making a note on each day of whether you completed your habit or not.
    2. This releases a hit of dopamine every time you achieve your goal and that in itself will drive the habit formation.
  2. Spreadsheet (😊)
    1. This is a good way to make your tracking more visual, so you can get an idea at a glance about how you’re doing.
    2. This is very simple and useful
  3. Mobile Apps
    1. Momentum (iOS) and Habit Bull (Android) are good ones.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL IDEAS OF THINGS THAT YOU CAN TRACK?

There are a ton of things that you can put in your habit tracker to help you stay on the right path toward your goals or simply observe your current patterns. Here are different possibilities to get you started.

Personal Things to Track

  1. Water consumption
  2. Caloric intake
  3. No soda (coffee/alcohol/junk food/etc)
  4. Exercise
  5. Cook at home – If you struggle with this one because of time, you should give meal planning a try. I created a recipe bank that has become essential to my meal planning routine!
  6. Use planner/bullet journal
  7. Exercise dog
  8. Work on a hobby – the habit tracker is only one way the bullet journal can help with your hobby.
  9. Work on a project – business project, home renovation, creative project… this could be whatever kind of project you want! Sometimes I just pop in my headphones, zone out to my favorite Music channels. I find that I’m much more productive on those projects I’ve been dreading when listening to music.
  10. Medication – for people who struggle to take their meds every day, this could be just the way to monitor it.
  11. Symptoms – a habit tracker is a great asset to people suffering from a chronic illness. Track your episodes, spells, and symptoms so you have a comprehensive history to show to your doctor.
  12. Publish blog post – don’t have a blog? Start one today!
  13. Respond to social media comments – another one for bloggers
  14. Meditate
  15. Write in your journal.
  16. Less than X hours on time wasters (Reddit, Facebook, etc)
  17. Practice – whether it’s your instrument, brush lettering, or foreign language skills, it’s awesome to mark the days you practice.
  18. Call mom – I’m awful at remembering this. Sorry, mom!
  19. Spend time in Nature
  20. Go to bed/ Wake up on time
  21. Floss
  22. Affirmations
  23. No money spent (This is perfect for developing your financial plan!)
  24. Relax/Me Time – check this box if you felt that you had some time to relax and unwind. If you don’t check it for a few days, you know to make it a priority.

Professional things to track

  1. Appointments
  2. Calls
  3. Networking
  4. Learning about your trade
  5. Closed deals
  6. Referral partner meetings
  7. Come to work early / Leave on time
  8. Working late
  9. Referrals given / gotten
  10. Empty inbox – this is a good reminder for people like me who let their inboxes get out of control. Empty it every day and check it off.

 

“The secret of your success if found in your daily routine.: – John C Maxwell