What is a habit tracker?
Put simply, a habit tracker is a way of measuring if you performed a habit. They needn’t be over complicated, and can normally be created on a large spread monthly calendar. You can write down the habit that you wish to perform daily, and mark off each day with an X if you have successfully performed this habit.
For example, you may wish to start doing 20 minutes of exercise, Monday to Friday. On each day that you perform 20 minutes of exercise, you would mark the day with a X. On any days that you did not perform this, you would simply leave blank. As the month goes on, you can clearly see which days you have or have not performed your daily exercise. If you see each day has an X marked on it, then this can work as encouragement. If you are noticing a lot of days without an X, then this can work as a realization that you need to make the habit easier to perform, or put more attention into performing it.
So a habit tracker is incredibly useful because it works as a visual cue to act on your habits, it motivates you by recognising your progress, and it is satisfying to look back at the month and see a streak of successful days.
Free Downloadable Habit Tracker PDF
To make this a simpler process, we have created a free downloadable habit tracker pdf. The habit tracker can be printed out for each month, and you can add 3 habits to be tracked. Simply cross off or tick the days that you have completed your habit.
Click here to download your free habit tracker.
Tips for Using the Printable Habit Tracker Template:
- First off, print your habit tracker template. The template has been designed as an A4 size, but can be printed larger. If you plan to use the same habit tracker template each month, we'd recommend getting it laminated and using whiteboard marker pens.
- Keep your habit tracker somewhere obvious - a bedside table, your desk, in your daily backpack. This will work as a visual cue and reminder that you are actively trying to track and encourage new habits. Keeping your habit tracker somewhere that you will see daily will increase the chances of this becoming part of your daily routine.
- Keep a working pen or pencil with your habit tracker. Such a simple thing to do, but it’s important to make the process as seamless and easy as possible. If in the morning, when you come to complete your habit tracker and you have to spend 5 minutes looking for a pen or pencil, then chances are you may not complete your habit tracking. Again, you’re more likely to make tracking your habits part of your daily routine if you do this,
- Don't feel pressure. While it is important to track your habits, if you do forget to do this on one day then do not get discouraged and put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Just brush it off, and use it as motivation to avoid missing a day of habit tracking.
Why do habits matter?
Habits are the small decisions and actions we perform each day. A habit is a routine of behaviour that is repeated often and normally occurs subconsciously.
The reason why habits matter so much is that they hold a great deal of influence over the way we think, act, and feel in certain situations. A habit is an automated response, which can be good or bad.
An example of a beneficial habit would be to clean your teeth every morning when you wake, and each evening before you go to bed. An example of a negative habit would be to smoke a cigarette on the way to work.
That's why it is important that we identify negative habits, and also adopt beneficial habits.
Why do we need habits?
Habits have a strong effect on our subconscious actions. They help us to manage our minds automatically.
Through this automatic response, habits allow us to perform actions with little to no thought process, which saves our brain power for more strenuous or creative work.
The interesting video below explains how habits work, and simply explains how they form part of our daily life.
How do we form habits?
A habit loop is a psychological pattern, which is the initial start to forming a habit.
The habbit loop includes three separate parts:
- A cue or trigger for an automatic response.
- The routine, which is the behaviour itself.
- The reward. This part helps the mind to remember the habit.
The basal ganglia is the part of the brain that Neuroscientists believe to be in charge of forming habits. The basal ganglia also has a significant part to play in developing emotions, memories, and pattern recognition.