I’m working on building (or rebuilding) a habit. 

In my quarterly planning workshop, I encourage everyone to pick one habit to build during the quarter.  One that will help them achieve their goals.  

I like to put into practice what I teach, so I’m building a habit, or at least rebuilding it. 

I know when and where my habit will happen.  I’ve set up my environment to make it easy.  I’ve also created a habit tracker and a reward for my habit. 

I’ve even told people about my habit to help create accountability.  

Will it all work?  No idea, but I want it to.  Ask me in 90 days, and I’ll let you know.  

In the meantime, let’s chat about that habit tracker I created for myself.  

I’ve had habit trackers in my bullet journal.  In fact, look up bullet journal pages, and likely, you will find some version of a tracker.  Even though I put in a tracker every month, they don’t work for me. 

As I built the habit and tried to build in what I needed to succeed, I asked myself why my bullet journal habit trackers didn’t work.  My reflection of the failed process is that they fail because it is tucked away at the beginning of the month.  So once the first week of the month is over, I don’t “see” it enough for it to be effective. 

Armed with this reflection, I determined two things: 

  1. I should stop creating habit trackers in my bullet journal. 
  2. I need to keep the habit tracker front and center.  Somewhere I will see it every day. 

With this in mind, I printed off a pretty one-month calendar to put the habit tracker front and center for this habit.  On the calendar, I wrote out the habit I wanted to achieve.  I added in the reward, how I would earn the reward, and what I was saving for.   Then in, each day, I drew in a quick little square.  One that I would “check” off if I made the habit that day. 

I then posted that calendar on my desk.  It has prime real estate. 

I love looking at my first week and seeing the vibrant pink checkmarks.  I love that I was able to indicate that I achieved my weekly goal and then transferred the reward into my savings account.

I can’t wait to complete my habit tomorrow so I can put another checkmark on the calendar.

Do habit trackers work? 

My answer:  I think it depends.   

The ones I would build in my bullet journal were not working.  Was it because I didn’t see it every day?  Was it because I tried to track and develop too many habits at once?  Was it because there was no reward attached to accomplishing the habits?  I’m not sure.  It could be one of these reasons or a combination of them.  

What I do know is that using a habit tracker is like building a second habit (the habit and tracking the habit).  It might be one too many habits to make.  Therefore, it might not be the best idea for someone who struggles to create a habit. 

I also know that I love checking things off.  This alone might make the habit tracker work for me. 

However, I am concerned that if I start to fail at the habit, the tracker might be an ugly reminder of my failure. 

At this very moment, the habit tracker is working … for me. 

It might not work for you.  

This is where reflection and review come in handy.  I recommend trying it and then checking in and asking yourself what is working, not working, and why.   This might lead you to ditch your habit tracker, tweak your habit tracker or embrace it because it works for you. 

Let me know what your experience with a habit tracker is?

Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.