Being aware that you have bad habits or need to adopt some good ones is not as easy as I thought it would be. So I made a visual reminder for myself that I’m sharing with you.
I purposely left the columns and rows totally blank so you could write in your own measurements of time.
For example: I’m going to track how often I exercise on a weekly basis, so the first column of my Habit Tracker for Exercise will have the beginning date of each week. If (or when) I exercise, I’ll write in the date and the number of minutes of activity. In the last column, I’ll total up how many minutes of exercise I’ve done during the week.
Another Habit Tracker will be for snacking and adult beverages. I’ll track this on a weekly basis to see how many nights a week I mindlessly eat or drink while watching TV.
I’m also going to post a Habit Tracker for Take-Out Food on the front of my refrigerator to see how often we REALLY go out to eat or get take-out food each month, so the first column of that one will be the name of each month. When we spend money on going out or getting food to bring back home, I’m going to write the date and how much we spent in a block for that month. I’m also going to total up how much we’ve spent each month in the last column as a visual reminder that we’re wasting a lot of money on this not so great habit.
Tips for changing your habits …
- Anchor your new habit to something you already do. Each evening when I get home from work I change out of my business clothes and into leggings and a t-shirt. By putting my walking clothes on the bed as a visual reminder that’s anchored to something I do anyway, it will reinforce the new habit of going walking each day after work.
You can also “anchor” a new habit to something you already do, like brushing your teeth every morning. If you’re trying to remember to take your vitamins every day then you move your vitamin bottle next to your toothpaste and do both things one right after the other. The habit of taking your vitamins is then anchored to something you already do, brushing your teeth.
- Be aware of your Association Habits. I associate watching TV to eating and having an “adult beverage”. Most of the time I’m not even hungry. It’s just something I do automatically. I’m going to work on accepting the uncomfortable feeling of not eating a snack or having a drink during my favorite shows. It’s not going to be easy, but I’ll be tracking it so I’m hoping the accountability trick will help me realize that it’s just a bad habit and I can overcome it for the sake of my health.
- Know your Habit Triggers. In the late afternoons, especially after a stressful day at work, I start to wonder what we’re going to have for dinner and even though we usually have quick meals in the house, I still crave getting take-out food or going out to eat. Most of the time the food at home is just as good as what we can get somewhere else, but it’s just a habit that we seem to have trouble breaking. Plus I almost always regret spending the money and eating the less than healthy restaurant options.
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