Not sure what all the fuss about habit trackers is or if habit trackers really work? Or maybe you don’t know what habits to track. This guide on habits to track and how to use habit trackers for success will help!
Habit trackers are one of the easiest and best ways to form a new habit and make it stick. Habit trackers can also help you break “bad” habits.
Habit trackers are fun (yes, fun!) and easy to use in your planner or bullet journal, especially when you grab a free printable habit tracker you can print and start using today.
Discover the difference between types of habit trackers, how habit tracking can help you, and ideas for 75+ habits to track for a healthier, more productive life.
What Are Habit Trackers?
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You’ve probably seen very ornate habit trackers on Pinterest or Instagram. They may feel complicated, but habit trackers (and the idea behind them) are super simple. Habit trackers are simply a tool to help you (you guessed it!) track your habits.
People frequently print out habit trackers for their planner or journal, but you can also use habit tracker stickers, habit tracker washi tape, preprinted habit tracker booklets, or even wall-mounted habit tracker charts. If you prefer the handwritten look of bullet journals, try a simple habit tracker stamp!
Habit trackers can be used to help you build and reinforce habits, like drinking enough water each day, or as steps along a path to a goal.
If you have a goal in mind (losing weight, getting out of debt, etc) a habit tracker may be helpful to you in reaching that goal.
Habit trackers can also be used to end a “bad” habit. For example, maybe you’re a habitual nail biter. Marking off every day you didn’t bite your nails on a habit tracker can help you see your progress so you can finally stop biting your nails for good.
Habit trackers can help you spot patterns. For example, maybe days where you miss your “didn’t drink soda (or coffee)” box, you also don’t hit your target 8 hours of sleep. Habit racking recently shoed me that I can’t have coffee after 2 (sad face) if I want to get to sleep by my target time.
And, finally, habit trackers are a helpful way to keep up with routine tasks and chores. If you’re someone who frequently forgets to take out the trash, having a written weekly reminder can help you remember to a actually get it to the curb (so you don’t have to deal with stinky trash sitting around again).
Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Annual Trackers
There are many different types of habit trackers and they come in all sorts of designs, but generally, but most of them fall into one of four categories:
- Daily habit trackers
- Weekly habit trackers
- Monthly habit trackers
- Annual habit trackers
Here’s an example of how you could use a habit tracker to track the goal of getting out of debt.
- Daily: Using cash for purchases or no-spend challenge
- Weekly: Placing all receipts in a specific envelope or binder
- Monthly: Paying extra towards debt
- Annual: Checking for the best insurance policies at the best rates
As you can see, there are small and larger things that you can track to achieve your goal. So when you’re thinking about tracking your habits, see how it fits into a larger goal that you’d like to meet.
Why You Should Track Your Habits
Habit trackers seem like all the rage these days. But is there actually a point to tracking your habits, other than being able to show it off on Instagram?
Writing down your habits (in service of your goals) will make them manageable. You will be able to see both the big and small picture.
What you do daily (and weekly, and monthly, and even annually), really affects your life. For example, did you know that people who write down their goals are more likely to accomplish them?
It takes far longer than most people realize to successfully form a habit. One study found the average amount of time it took people to form a new habit was 66 days. 66 days! This means if you’ve ever tried to form (or break) a habit and gave up after three weeks because “everyone” says you form a new habit in 21 days that it wasn’t your fault.
There’s nothing wrong with you if you couldn’t form a new habit in just 21 days – you’re completely normal and on the right track. You just need to start using a habit tracker to see your progress and stick with it for a little bit longer next time.
What habit trackers can help with:
- Making your habits and goals tangible – you can actually SEE it and it is not abstract. Keep your habit tracker on your fridge, next to your bed, or wherever you think it could get the most visibility
- Encoding – this is a biological process that helps a memory “sink in” to your brain. The more that you do something, especially writing it down, it gets remembered. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve had a vague goal to do something and completely forgotten about it until I was able to go to bed.
- Reminding you to do something – it’s easy to get distracted and forget to do something. Seeing your habit tracker gives you a physical reminder to act.
- Motivation – seeing those circles filled in or stickers put in place gives you a sense of accomplishment which motivates you to keep going.
- Immediate gratification – it can be difficult to keep going towards an abstract goal when you don’t see measurable progress every day. Filling in the space on your habit tracker can give you a shot of immediate satisfaction that keeps you on track.
A great way to keep yourself accountable is by using a wall-sized habit tracker. This is particularly effective for challenging habits and things you tend to forget. Grab a huge habit tracker and post it somewhere you can’t miss it!
75+ Habits To Track in your Bullet Journal or Planner
These are just a few habits that you may want to check, broken up into daily, weekly, monthly, and periodic.
Some of these may not apply to you or you may have ones that I didn’t list here. The only limit is your imagination (and the size of your habit tracker!).
Daily Habits To Track
- Making the bed
- Working out (you might get more specific with this one by adding the actual workout i.e weight training and a specific number of minutes)
- Water consumption
- Writing in a journal (Grab a free printable gratitude journal page here)
- Left the house on time in the morning
- Left work on time
- Mediating for X number of minutes (I recommend at least 5 – 10 minutes)
- Woke up without hitting the snooze button (go you!)
- Went to bed on time
- Cooking at home
- Brushing your teeth for two whole minutes
- Eating breakfast
- Bringing your own lunch to work
- Servings of vegetables
- Servings of fruit
- Listening to a podcast
- Working on a professional goal
- Working on a hobby
- Telling your significant other one thing that you love about them
- Washing dishes (or putting dishes in the dishwasher)
- Helping the kids complete their homework (or completing your own)
- Taking a walk
- Walking your dog
- Playing with your cat or other pets
- Giving someone else a meaningful complement
- Saying positive affirmations (grab free printable positive affirmation cards in this post)
- Reading a certain number of minutes or pages (try reading Atomic Habits – it’s a great book about building good habits)
- Caloric intake
- Taking medication
- Taking vitamins
- Getting at least 8 hours of sleep
- Time spent on (or off!) social media
- Cleaning cat box
- Wearing sunscreen
- Applying moisturizer at night
Like the habit tracker and reading tracker below? Check them out in this post with printable October planner pages.
Weekly Habits To Track
- Doing a brain dump
- Inbox (or voice mail) zero
- Taking out the trash/recycling to the curb for pick up
- Cleaning the bathroom (or other specific room)
- Cleaning out expired or old food from the fridge, freezer, and pantry
- Cleaning out your car
- Backing up any important computer/phone files
- Cleaning out your purse or handbag
- Doing a random act of kindness (grab a free printable RAOK poster here)
- Period and/or ovulation tracker
- Watering plants
- Recording your weight
- Meal prepping
- Deep conditioning your hair
- Changing the sheets on your bed
- Doing the laundry
- Calling a friend or family member you haven’t spoken too recently
- Deep cleaning and full empty of cat box (or rabbit hutch, guinea pig cage, etc.)
- Brushing cat/dog
Monthly Habits To Track
- Reviewing last month’s budget
- Creating this month’s budget
- Paying monthly bills (check out these bill trackers!)
- Organizing and/or delete photos on your phone
- Cleaning out your inbox
- Date night with your partner
- Family night
- Decluttering your social media (are you really friends with 5000 people?)
- Deleting unused apps on your phone
- Going through the fridge, pantry, and freezer to create a grocery list of staples you’re running low on
Periodic Habits to Track
These habits may be things that happen less frequently, but you still want to make sure that you’re tracking when you’re doing them. You might want to set up a quarterly tracker to make sure you do each of these things every 3 months or so:
- Deep cleaning the house
- Checking your credit reports
- Getting an oil change for your car
- Checking car tire pressure
- Cleaning out old clothes that no longer fit (your body or your vibe)
- Researching the best insurance options (car, life, health, etc) for you and your family
- Packing away clothes from the previous season (winter coats, bathing suits, etc.) and getting out clothes for the months ahead
Things You Avoided/Habits of Avoidance
These are habits of avoidance, or “bad” habits you’re trying to quit. Log the day when you successfully didn’t do one of these things:
- Didn’t drink alcohol
- Didn’t drink soda
- No coffee or tea (especially after a certain time in the afternoon/evening)
- Didn’t bite nails
- Didn’t spend any (extra) money
- Didn’t eat anything with added sugar
- Didn’t eat fast food
- Didn’t bring your phone to bed
- Didn’t smoke
- No TV (or Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.)
- No complaining (This is hard! Read Complaint Free World for more information about becoming complaint free. This book seriously changed my life.)
- A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted
- Bowen, Will (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
What if I miss a day with my habit tracker?
The long and short of it? Nothing happens and skipping a day is totally okay. Why? Because you’re HUMAN. Skipping a day will inevitably happen and you can start again the next day fresh.
If you do skip a day, here are some tips on getting back on track:
First, forgive yourself. Like I said, it is going to happen and that’s okay! There will be days that you’re too tired or too busy or you just don’t want to do whatever you’re tracking. We all have those days and knowing that they’re going to happen and forgiving yourself ahead of time is key.
Say an affirmation when it does happen. Because you know that it’s coming, you’ll have an affirmation to say to yourself when you do get off track. Here are a couple that you may want to use:
- Just because I didn’t complete (XYZ) today, doesn’t mean I won’t do it tomorrow.
- Today was a day of rest. I can start again tomorrow.
- My worth is not in my habits. I can always begin again.
Start fresh the next day (or the next habit). You’ve forgiven yourself. You’ve said your affirmation. Now you’re ready to begin again. To do this, set yourself up for success.
Depending on the habit, make sure you have all of your “stuff” ready to go.
- For example, if your habit is to drink more water, fill up your water bottles the night before.
- If you want to exercise in the morning, try sleeping in your workout clothes. (I know people who do this.)
- If you forgot something that needed to happen, try posting your habit tracker somewhere more noticeable so you won’t forget next time.
And there you have it – a complete guide to what habits to track and how habit trackers can help you meet your goals!
What habits do you like to track in your habit tracker?
Natasha Núñez is a former classroom teacher with a Masters of the Arts in Teaching. She also is a registered yoga teacher & holds a certificate in natural skincare formulation from the School of Natural Skincare. She shares her passion for education, positive parenting, free printables, and recipes for DIY bath & home products. Learn more about Natasha and where she’s been featured.