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You’ve done your research to pick out
your ideal bullet journal.
You’ve compiled all of the pens you want to use and have decided on a
color-coding system. Or, you’ve
finally found an app that works just
right for you to help you track your progress with your habits. But now
One of the best things that you can use these tools for is personal development, and tracking your habits is a concrete way you can be sure to stick to your self-improvement goals. We all want to live healthy lives, but forming a new habit that sticks can be a challenge, which is where habit tracking can help you.
By tracking your habits, you can monitor
both your good and bad habits without
guesstimating your progress–which means you have no choice but to be honest
with yourself. Plus, the physical act of writing down your progress will
motivate you to accomplish your goals.
With the growing popularity of bullet journaling, there are many variations for the layout of your bullet journal and possible ways to track your habits. Or, if you prefer to do it digitally, there are a wide variety of habit tracker apps that can help you stay on track. (Here’s our review of the best bullet journals to help you keep track of your ideas and goals.)
But in general, habit trackers are an excellent tool to give you a visual representation of your progress. By looking at your results, you can see how well you’re doing–and, if you’re like me, you will be motivated to follow through with your intended habits because you don’t want to look at a blank habit tracker, which makes these tools an excellent accountability partner.
It’s a waste of time to track random habits that have no impact or relevance to your goals, so you have to consider the things in your life that you’re honestly interested in changing. But what’s surprising is that sometimes it can be tough to find habit tracker ideas! Here, we have compiled an extensive list to help you figure out which habits would be most helpful for you to track on a regular basis. (If you’re using a bullet journal, we’ve also rounded up the best bullet journal habit tracker ideas in this other post.)
For your convenience, we have separated
the ideas into categories so you can focus on the area of your life where you
feel like you could use some improvement.
Let’s take a look.
(Side note: If you don’t know how to build a habit, then check out this nine-step blueprint that walks you through the entire process of creating lifelong habits.)
Health and Wellness Habits to Track
1. Weigh yourself once a week. Some people
weigh themselves every day, but due to the minor fluctuations that we all
experience from day to day, this can be stressful. Check on your weight just
once a week to see if it’s starting to go in one direction or another and
adjust your lifestyle accordingly.
2. Take a daily multivitamin to ensure your body is getting its nutritional needs. Studies have shown that taking a multivitamin can benefit your long-term health. While you should be aiming to get all of your nutrition from real food, there’s no evidence suggesting that there’s a potential risk with taking vitamins.
3. Drink a glass of water with lemon as soon as you awake to help rehydrate your body after sleeping and wake up your digestive system to prepare it for the rest of the day. The lemon will give you a boost of vitamin C, improve the health of your skin and hair, and lower your cholesterol, among other health benefits.
4. Keep a food journal. This takes time, but
it’s important when trying to keep track of your calorie intake versus what
you’re burning. A food journal will help you recognize if you’re overeating, and it can show you how your little
snacks here and there add up.
5. Eat a healthy breakfast every morning to jumpstart your metabolism and boost your intake of fruits and vegetables. Research also shows that eating breakfast will help improve your performance, memory, and attention throughout the day. Here are some great ideas for a healthy breakfast.
6. Take at least 10,000 steps every day. Use a
pedometer to help you track your progress so
you can be sure to meet this goal.
7. Start your day in a state of relaxation
with shower meditation. Let the warm water wash away your stress and envision
your negative thoughts washing down the drain.
8. Laugh every day, even if you have to search for something funny. Here are some podcasts that are sure to make you laugh, which will release endorphins and make you feel good.
9. Stretch daily to improve your flexibility
and posture, release tension, and reduce your chances of getting injured.
10. Replace one meal each day with a salad or
vegetable soup to increase your vegetable intake.
11. Get at least 150 minutes of exercise every
week. You can make this fun by finding a friend to
speed walk with you. Switch up your form of exercise to reduce the chance of
getting bored and experiment with new activities to find what you really enjoy.
12. Focus on your breath for at least two
minutes mid-day. Practicing mindfulness or taking some time to
recenter yourself and listen to your body is an important factor in maintaining
13. Reduce your sugar intake. This habit
change likely needs to be broken up into smaller, trackable habit changes. For
example, start by cutting down your soda intake by half. Then, only indulge in
dessert once or twice a week. Small, trackable goals such as these will help
reduce your overall sugar consumption.
14. Drink a cup of water before every meal to
help fill your stomach and limit your impulses to get a second helping.
15. Aim to eat at least one food of every color of the rainbow
every day to guarantee you’re eating all of the nutrients your body needs.
16. Park in the spot that is the farthest from
your office to help increase your steps for the day and add in more exercise.
17. Complete a set number of squats and
pushups every morning, adding one of each per week to keep building muscle.
18. Record your exercise goal and actual achievement each day, increasing
your intensity every week.
19. Plan your meals ahead of time to avoid
resorting to fast food.
20. Pack healthy snacks for work in case hunger
21. Drink at least half a gallon of water per
day, and more if you’re exercising. Here are some tricks to help you increase your water intake.
22. Cut out coffee to end your need for
caffeine to function.
23. Floss nightly to maintain oral hygiene.
24. Do yoga three times per week to practice
self-reflection and increase self-awareness.
25. Choose the stairs over the elevator.
26. Exercise your pets daily to keep them
healthy and happy.
27. Practice clean eating by choosing whole,
natural foods, eliminating processed foods, and including protein, healthy
carbohydrates and fats, and produce in every meal.
28. Control your portion sizes by measuring your
29. Track your medical symptoms. While this
isn’t really a habit per se, using a
habit tracker to note when you have a headache or are fatigued can help you
recognize any possible triggers.
30. Spend at least 20 minutes outside to get your daily dose of vitamin D and a variety of other health benefits.
Professional Habits to Track
31. Make three business connections per week
through social media, networking groups, or your current professional contacts.
32. Get to work 15 minutes early to get yourself
settled, check emails, and get started right on time. Being early will give you
a cushion for unexpected obstacles and help you get to work feeling calm and
33. Say something at least once in every
meeting to add to the discussion.
34. Every day, dress for the job you want, not
the job you have. This helps others envision you in a higher role, which will
be helpful when it comes time for promotions.
35. Be punctual to meetings or appointments
that occur in your office. You don’t want to be the person who’s holding
everyone else up.
36. Respond to emails within 24 hours to show
37. Be direct in your communication, even if
you need to give yourself a chance to think before responding to a colleague.
Being indecisive doesn’t show professional confidence.
38. Ask for help when you need it and offer it
when it’s needed.
39. Expand your online presence daily by
updating LinkedIn, responding to messages on your professional social media
site, or updating your blog.
40. Maintain professional relationships by
reaching out to a former colleague once a week. A simple “How’ve you been?” is
all it takes to keep that connection, and you never know how someone can help
you later in your career.
41. Send professional “thank you” or follow-up emails
after meetings to demonstrate your continued attention to the matter.
42. Keep a record of your ideas and review
them each week to make a plan to implement them.
43. Keep track of the time you spend on work
tasks so you can later analyze the amount of time you’re wasting and where you can improve.
44. Get some exercise in while you’re sitting
at your desk by using desk exercise equipment every day.
Social Habits to Track
45. Scan the headlines every morning to stay
up-to-date on current events. While you don’t need to read every news story
that’s out there, stay aware of key global events so you can maintain
conversations with others.
46. Learn a new word each day to increase your communication skills and self-confidence in social encounters. There are many apps such as Word of the Day that can help you build this habit. Be sure to use the word in conversation, which will help you retain its meaning.
47. Text someone something encouraging every morning. This will help you stay in touch with your loved ones and make them smile.
48. Write a note to your partner or a
co-worker every day expressing your gratitude for them. This could
be a simple “I love you, have a good day” on scratch paper that you leave on
your kitchen counter or a sticky note left on your colleague’s monitor letting
them know you appreciate the work that they do.
49. Practice active listening whenever you’re
having a deliberate conversation by giving people your full attention when
they’re talking. Use your body language to show that you’re engaged in the
conversation and ask clarifying questions to ensure you understand what they’re
saying. Not only will this help you see other people’s points of view, it will
also validate the speaker and help build a sense of trust.
50. Keep track of how often you smile when you
make eye contact with other people. This will help you appear to be friendly
and welcoming to those who don’t know you.
51. Make someone laugh every day. If you don’t
think that you’re naturally funny, check out these ideas to help improve your humor.
52. Show people that you’re confident and
approachable through your body language. By uncrossing your arms, standing (or
sitting) up straight, and relaxing your face, you will improve your
likeability, even to strangers. Keep track of this by doing a mental body check
whenever you’re around others and note each time you have to correct yourself.
53. Stop being negative. Your negative attitude
can impact those around you, so keep track of every day you’re able to get
through without any negativity.
54. Similarly, track each day that you go
without engaging in gossip. Gossiping is a toxic behavior that is largely a
waste of time.
55. Perform at least one random act of kindness per day. This promotes
compassion, which leads to a sense of connection with others.
56. Sit down to a family dinner five nights per week. There are tons of mental and physical benefits to having family dinners.
57. Avoid checking your phone whenever you’re
talking to someone, because doing so is rude and suggests you’re uninterested.
Track this by marking each day that you only looked at your phone when you were
Organizational Habits to Track
58. Spend five minutes each morning decluttering your workspace by putting away
any unneeded paperwork or archiving old files on your desktop. Make use of both
physical and digital folders for your work. Forming a decluttering habit will reduce
stress and improve your ability to focus.
59. Each night, prepare yourself for the next
day. Choose your outfit, pack your lunch, get your gym clothes together, check
your upcoming events, etc. Doing this will reduce the chaos and rush you feel
in the morning as you’re trying to get out the door.
60. Throw away junk mail before it even hits
the counter to avoid unnecessary clutter.
61. Write a daily to-do list to organize your
responsibilities and goals to make your day more manageable and help you feel
prepared. This visual representation of your completed and unfinished tasks
will keep you focused and prevent you from finishing the day only to realize
you didn’t get anything important accomplished.
62. Spend 15 minutes at night tidying up your
living space. This means that all of your belongings should have a dedicated
place to stay, which will save you time whenever you’re trying to find
63. Prioritize your tasks every day by marking
what’s urgent and what can be set aside. The Eisenhower Matrix is a great tool to help
you figure out how to complete things at the right time.
64. Tackle one big organizing task every week. This could
mean shredding that growing pile of papers that you can’t just toss, purging
your closet, cleaning out the garage, deleting unneeded files on your computer,
65. Throw away or donate one thing each day to
66. Do a monthly deep cleaning of your house,
including dusting, cleaning baseboards, cleaning behind the oven, etc.
67. Declutter your inbox nightly.
68. Don’t go to bed with dirty dishes anywhere
in the house–including the sink.
69. Backup all of your files weekly to avoid
losing something important and having to start over.
Sleeping Habits to Track
70. Expose yourself to natural light each
morning when you wake up to help control your circadian rhythm, which will
allow you to wake up energized, control your eating habits, and help manage several other of your critical bodily functions.
71. Replace alcohol with green tea at night to
help improve your sleep. When you have alcohol in your system, it reduces the
amount of deep, restorative sleep that your body needs. On the other hand, green tea contains very little caffeine and
can calm you before bed.
72. Go to sleep at the same time every night–preferably, on the early side. Doing this will
help get your body in such a routine that eventually, you won’t need your alarm
clock to wake you up at the same time each morning.
73. Turn off your electronics two hours before
you go to sleep and read a book instead or listen to some soft music.
74. Before you go to bed, make sure to turn
off all the lights in or near your room, block out sounds using a sound machine
or a fan, and avoid going to sleep on a full stomach. Here are some more tips to help improve your quality of sleep.
75. Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
76. Don’t hit snooze
77. Keep a sleep log to help you identify
patterns in your life that correlate to the quality of your sleep. You may find
that when you do a certain activity, you sleep better–or something that you
eat tends to keep you awake.
78. Stick to a nightly schedule before bed
such as taking a warm bath or reading a book before going to sleep. This will
signal to your brain that it’s time to settle down.
Productivity Habits to Track
79. Choose one task every day to either
delegate or eliminate. If you have something on your to-do list that another
person could do for you, assign it to that person. Or, if you have something on
your list that really won’t help you make progress toward your goals, eliminate
80. Take a short break every hour to avoid
experiencing burnout on the task at hand. This will give you a chance to
rejuvenate yourself and start fresh every so often.
81. Turn off notifications before starting any
task that requires your focus. Give yourself a personal ban on texts, emails,
phone calls, or anything that could distract you. If you’re constantly
interrupted from various methods of communication, your productivity will
82. Overcome temptations of procrastinating by
completing your most important tasks (MITs) first. Your MITs are your critical
tasks that lead to your most significant results. List 2-3 MITs daily and do
83. Streamline your daily tasks by grouping
together similar tasks to do all in a row. For example, do all of your computer
work at one point and then your paperwork or meetings at another.
84. Implement the 80/20 rule (also known as
the Pareto Principle). This principle says that
20% of your effort generates 80% of your results. By figuring out what your 20%
is, you can immediately improve your productivity.
85. Practice the Pomodoro Technique by taking short breaks
after focused sessions of working. The more you work, the more you brain needs
a rest. If you break up your work into smaller portions, you can take the
necessary breaks to refresh your mind.
86. Just like you’re doing with your habit
tracker, make sure you’re creating SMART goals so you can focus on
achieving them and tracking your progress.
Financial Habits to Track
87. Research a method of earning a second
income at least once a week. This could be anything from converting a bedroom
in your house to an Airbnb to selling something that you create for a hobby on
88. Pay bills as soon as you receive them to
avoid interest charges or the risk of forgetting to pay.
89. Take a few minutes each morning to review
your finances. Look at how your investments changed overnight and do a quick
rundown of the activity on your credit card and checking account to ensure
everything looks right. It’s important to know the current state of your
finances so you can spend accordingly.
90. Do a weekly budget review to see where
you’re spending your money. This can help you recognize if you’re going overboard with your “wants” instead of
your “needs” and make sure you’re remaining on track with saving.
91. Reduce the amount of money you spend on
utilities by practicing daily habits such as turning off lights when you’re not
in a room or unplugging appliances that you’re not using. These extra little savings will add up and it’s better for the environment.
92. Bring your lunch to work. Packing a
healthy meal will not only save you loads of money in the long-run, it will
also help you control what you’re eating so you can be sure to make healthy
93. Read a personal finance article with your morning coffee. If you don’t feel like you have time for this, listen to a finance podcast during your commute, such as NPR’s Planet Money. This will help you stay up-to-date on what’s going on in the financial world and help you continue to build your financial education.
94. Subscribe to Morning Brew or a similar daily financial
newsletter and read it every morning.
95. Give yourself a daily spending limit and stick to it.
96. Pay yourself first by transferring money
into savings and paying
down debt whenever you get paid.
97. Limit your online shopping to necessities.
98. Buy for value, which means you avoid
buying the cheapest option or the
most expensive. Do your research before making a big purchase to make sure what
you’re buying will last.
Personal Habits to Track
99. Take five minutes every night to review your short-term and long-term goals. This will help you recognize if you need to make adjustments to your life to reach your goals and help you realize if one of your goals isn’t as valuable to you as it once was and you want to replace it.
100. Watch one TED talk per day or another type of inspiring
video to keep you motivated in whatever topic you’re focusing on–however, make
sure to limit it to just one (or two) a day so you don’t find yourself two
hours later still clicking on related videos.
101. Make a commitment to lifelong learning by
doing some self-education every day. There are a lot of strategies that you can
use to learn new skills, which will help you remain a
valuable asset in our fast-paced world. Alternatively, you can do research on a
topic that interests you or on a challenge you’re facing to learn how to
102. Make your bed every morning. Completing
this first task of the day will give you a sense of accomplishment and set the
tone for the rest of the day.
103. Add one thing to a list of things that
you want to do every day to help you
focus on self-care and replenishing yourself from the everyday stressors that
you face. Making time for fun activities will help you appreciate what life has
to offer a little bit more.
104. Do something that makes you happy every day, whether that’s
listening to your favorite song, practicing mindfulness meditation, or spending
some time with your pet. Having your “me” time will help reduce your stress and
improve your overall happiness.
105. Write in a gratitude journal every day. Recognizing your appreciation for all of the good things in your life will help
you cope with adversity when it arises, improve your relationships, and stave
off symptoms of depression.
106. Engage in a hobby that you enjoy every
day. There are a lot of benefits to having a hobby, including
increasing your overall satisfaction with life.
107. Step out of your comfort zone at least
once per day. Do something that makes you a bit nervous such as approaching a
stranger or switching up your routine. This will help you build
108. Actively work to improve your intelligence every day.
109. Make time to read every day, even if it’s just when you
have some downtime. This will ensure you’re continuing to open your mind to new
ideas and gain knowledge.
110. Don’t finish a day without reciting positive affirmations that help boost your
111. Keep a mood tracker to uncover any trends
112. Set aside quality time with your partner at least four
times per week.
113. Volunteer once a week in your community.
114. Start your morning off with a smile in
the mirror to boost your mood and confidence.
115. Try something new every week. This will
help you continue to expand your horizons and gain new experiences.
Trackable Habits to Quit
116. Stop watching television–you can do so many
more productive things with your time.
117. Stop biting your nails by replacing this habit
with something else, such as listening to music.
118. Stop spending time with toxic
people who are holding you back in life. If these are family members
or others you simply can’t avoid, limit your interaction to a concrete number
that makes sense for the relationship, such as only on holidays.
119. Stop emotional
eating by replacing this coping mechanism with something healthier,
such as going for a walk or calling a friend.
120. Quit smoking for obvious reasons. If you
cannot stop cold turkey, create measurable goals to severely limit your smoking
habit until you can completely stop.
121. Stop eating fried food because this can
increase your risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and
obesity. You can track this by limiting yourself to 1-2 fried foods per week
and then reducing that to once a week before cutting it out altogether.
122. Eliminate alcohol. Habitual drinking can
increase your risk of a plethora of diseases and lead to bad decisions. Start
by cutting out alcohol during the week and limiting your drinks on the weekends
to two per night. Eventually, if you’re at a social event, order club soda and
lime instead of alcohol.
123. Cut out soda gradually by switching to half
soda, half soda water. Then limit yourself to one “soda+water” per day, while
replacing the rest with herbal tea. Eventually, drop the soda part and if you
feel like you need some carbonation, opt for plain soda water instead.
124. Waste less time online. This one is tricky
because you probably have to be online for your job, so it’s tempting to jump
over to a social media site for “a few” minutes. Start by setting aside 20
minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night to browse the internet in any
way you choose. If you feel like you need to limit it more after you reach that
goal, reduce it to once per day.
125. Give yourself ten minutes before
succumbing to the urge of the habit you’re trying to quit.
In order to successfully achieve your goals,
you need to continuously track them from start to finish. Log your progress daily or weekly (depending
on the habit) to give yourself the data that you need to have feedback on how
far you’ve come.
There is no rule that says one habit is more important than any other. It’s your job to figure out which habits will be the most useful to track for your life. Pick out a few of these habit tracker ideas that could benefit you and start tracking!
Finally, if you need help with building habits, then check out this nine-step blueprint that walks you through the entire process of creating lifelong habits.)
Connie Stemmle is a professional editor, freelance writer and ghostwriter. She holds a BS in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her 4-year-old daughter, running, or making efforts in her community to promote social justice.