Habit tracking simplified

I do much better when incorporating new behaviors into my life when I have a way to track them that’s visual and shows more than just a few days. I found an online PDF, Habit Tracker, that has space to track up to 17 behaviors for one month, so you can easily view trends, skipped days, etc.

One of the activities that is motivating when trying to develop a new habit is checking off each time you do something on a monthly calendar. When you’ve done it for a few days in a row, you see your streak of successfully incorporating the habit, and you don’t want to break the chain. This technique was attributed to Jerry Seinfeld, but he doesn’t claim credit. Whatever. It works!

Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 11.56.00 AM

Source: https://www.clementinecreative.co.za/reach-goals-free-printable-habit-tracker/

Here are behaviors I currently track daily or less often. Some of these I simply check that I did it. Others I track in minutes or hours.

  • Feeling the tides. This is work-related for my craniosacral biodynamics practice, and it’s deeply calming.
  • Flossing or using my Waterpik, so tempting to just skip.
  • Doing Breath of Fire (kapalabhati pranayama) for energy and to strengthen my diaphragm to lessen occasional discomfort from my small hiatal hernia. I’m up to 3 minutes a day.
  • Using a SCENAR device, borrowed from a friend, to stimulate healing on specific aggravated areas of my body.
  • Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 12.39.32 PMWearing a Spire mindfulness and activity tracker to track periods of calm, focus, tension, activity, and sedentary time. This is new for me this month, and I plan post more about it as I gain experience. My main goal was to identify when I’m tense as I go through my days, and especially when it’s something I can change. So far I learned that trying to give someone directions when driving while carrying on a conversation with them at the same time results in tension. Now I know, and from now on, the conversation can wait. It also notifies me when I haven’t taken a deep breath for a while. I love that it extends more mindfulness into my out-and-about activities.
  • Being physically active in total minutes by category: working with this pelvic alignment video, doing tai chi and qigong, ecstatic dance, and more.
  • Meditating and measuring HRV in total minutes by category: using the Inner Balance app and sensor from HeartMath 3 times per day for 5 minutes, using the Insight Timer app daily for guided and silent meditations, and other periods of meditation.
  • Fasting in hours per day. I found an app, FastHabit, that you can set for how many hours you want to fast, and it counts down the remaining time. It also shows 10 days worth of data. I only consume water, green tea, and herbal tea with stevia while fasting. It does get easier.
  • Reading and studying biodynamics.
  • Washing the dishes before I go to bed. It feels so much better to wake up to a clean kitchen.
  • Cleaning my Night & Day contact lenses, because I’ve gotten eye infections.
  • Bowel movements, because it feels better to be regular. If I’m not (travel and disruptions in my daily routine can do it), I drink more water and consume more fiber.
  • Weight, so I can see how my activity levels, diet, and intermittent fasting are changing my body composition.

I started the second week in July, and I will start over with a new sheet in August. I may add or subtract behaviors to track.

Also, I want to mention that there are habits I don’t track because they’ve become part of my life. I don’t eat gluten except on rare occasions (and then it doesn’t affect me the way it once did). I avoid sugar, rarely eat grains or legumes, drink enough liquids to stay hydrated, avoid processed/fast food, and sleep 7 hours or more.

Lord knows there are a lot more things I could be doing for my well-being and health. I shall see how this evolves over time, and also at some point, I may decide to take a month off from tracking to see how well I do without it.

If you use a habit tracker, please share in the comments.

 

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2 thoughts on “Habit tracking simplified

  1. I’ve been using a habit tracker for over 10 years now. It’s very low tech–just a notebook that I’ve drawn vertical lines in and written the items across the top. Doing this has made all the difference in keeping myself accountable. I do it while in bed before sleep so I can get up to take my evening vitamins, do my evening meditation or whatever if I forgot. Without this, I know I’d be much less regular on my habits, even after all this time. I also note various aches and pains so that I can monitor how long they take to improve. Otherwise, I’d just forget I ever had them as the pain subsides. On the opposite page of the notebook I write what I ate during the day and mark whether any of it contained sugar or gluten. I write in any effects I have, such as stinky farts or excess burping or whatever else. Sometimes I feel that I’m keeping track of too much, but I know that if something comes up health-wise, it will be useful to have all that data.

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