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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 what?
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 different potential habit change 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.
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 mental health.
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 strikes.
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 food.
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 guilt-free.
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 you’re reliable.
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 alone.
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 something.
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, etc.
65. Throw away or donate one thing each day to reduce clutter.
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 it.
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 greatly decrease.
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 them ASAP.
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 Etsy.
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 choices.
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 overcome it.
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 self-confidence.
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 confidence.
111. Keep a mood tracker to uncover any trends or triggers.
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.