I made a small change in my system and let go the aesthetic expectation of a habit tracker and suddenly things clicked
There is something very soothing and personally pleasing to see a tangible representation of you maintaining a “streak” in a habit you want to cultivate. Doesn’t matter if it’s something relatively simple like “make the bed,” a little more complex like drinking a certain number of glasses of water, or a gentle weekly reminder to take out the trash. There’s just something satisfying about checking items off a list, giving you the feel as if you are in control of something, regardless what else is going on in your life.
I subscribe to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s newsletter (say what you will, but it’s a delightfully positive and encouraging newsletter!), and today the newsletter (written by a small group of collaborators) touched on habits:
“I hit 66 days in a row of daily journaling this Sunday, so I wanted to share some lessons about how I broke through. As much as I heard it takes 21 days or 30 days to build a habit, research suggests the average time to make a habit automatic is 66 days.”
That’s a long time! Over two months of persistence! No wonder we like using habit trackers!
When I first went down the rabbit hole of the Planner Community online, I was attracted to all the habit trackers — graph paper, bullet journals, pre-printed, stickers, ink dots… there are loads of different kinds and styles out there. I found it soothing and a good way to show productivity, and made many valiant attempts at keeping them but to no avail.
I’d get discouraged from the lack of consistency. I’d need to change up how often I kept track of certain habits. I wouldn’t have the paper tracker on me in moments when I needed to remind myself what I needed or wanted to do. I needed to keep other habits at certain times and be annoyed I couldn’t “complete” the rest of my talents before the end of the day when some of them needed to be done at the end of the day.
Finally I reached a point where I realized I didn’t need a habit tracker — I needed habit reminders.