by Ryan Hart
Updated on September 7, 2018
Wish you could stick to a new habit longer than just a few days?
Research has shown that tracking your goals and habits is one of the most effective ways to develop habits that last.
Keeping track your progress will help motivate you to stick with your habits even when you feel like giving up. After you string together several days of completing your habit, you won’t want to “break the chain” or end your “streak” - which will motivate you to take more action.
My habit tracker can be printed out and pasted into your weekly planner to keep track of your habits. Each time you open up your planner you’ll be reminded of the new habits you promised yourself you would complete.
Plus you’ll be able to easily keep track of your progress and reward yourself when you hit your goals.
Here are 29 goals you can track in your habit tracker to help you live healthier and reach your potential each week:
Drinking 8 glasses of water is a daily habit that I have been practicing for over a decade. Not only is drinking water good for your health, I also find that it helps keep my energy levels up and reduce my cravings for snacks or sweets throughout the day. If 8 glasses sounds like a lot, start with 3 or 4 per day and work your way up.
Research has shown that the real key to happiness is gratitude. If you want to improve your mood and have more energy each day, one of the best ways to do that is through practicing gratitude. All you need to do is think, say or write about something you are grateful each day.
We all know we need to exercise more but it can be hard to stick to a work out schedule. Use your habit tracker to keep a log of how often you workout each week. Start with just one day per week, then slowly work up from there. If you don’t work out very often, avoid setting a goal of working out 5 days per week at the very beginning. You will only disappoint yourself if you don’t hit that goal and you may abandon your workout aspirations completely.
According to many studies, saving money is one of the top New Year’s Resolutions just below losing weight. What better way to stick to your goal of saving money by keeping track of your savings progress in your habit tracker! This reminds me of what my grandpa would always tell me: “a penny saved is a penny earned!”
Some people are great at saving money but still find themselves spending more than they earn. One way to make sure you live below your means, rather than beyond, is to keep track of how many days you can go without spending money. This could be no money spent in general or no money spent that wasn’t in your budget. You decide.
My wife loves hot yoga. Each time I’ve gone with her, I’ve almost passed out from the heat. If this type of torture makes you feel healthy and renewed, then I applaud you. Don’t forget to keep track of your yoga sessions in your habit tracker and even make note of your progress in your journal.
Meditation looks so easy from the outside, but after I tried it for the first time I quickly learned that it is a skill that requires much practice. As a suffering overthinker, mediation has helped me reduce anxiety and be mindful of the thoughts that are running through my head. One of my favorite quotes about mediation is this:
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” -Zen proverb
Getting 8 hours of sleep (or at least 7) has been a habit that I work very hard to stick to. While I was in architecture school I pulled many all-nighters and spent half of my college days walking around like a half-asleep zombie. During those sleep deprived years I probably did my body more harm than good, so I’m trying to make up for it by getting plenty of sleep each night.
I will admit that I have not always been a religious person. But after I read The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, I had a completely new perspective on the importance of prayer. Whether you already pray on a regular basis, or are looking to start a new habit, I highly recommend picking up a copy of the book.
I recently read an article that said CEOs of large companies read an average of 60 books per year but the rest of America averages just 4 books per year! I have no idea whether these statistics are completely accurate, but I think they paint a very clear picture of what top performers do that others don’t: they are voracious readers. You obviously don’t need to read 5 books per month, but creating a daily reading habit will help you make progress on your reading list.
My wife and I have developed a great habit of taking our vitamins each day. I don’t need to track this in my habit tracker because we take them practically on autopilot. And in the event one of us forgets, the other one usually remembers. In fact, my wife once told me that married couples live longer than single people because they have someone to remind them to take their vitamins and medication daily. So I guess all that nagging is actually good for my health. :)
I was never much of a soda (or “pop” as we say in the Northwest) person. But I have friends that have struggled to quit their daily Diet Coke habit. Using your daily habit tracker is a great way to go cold turkey and finally kick your soda addiction. If it is too difficult to stop drinking it entirely, try replacing your daily soda with carbonated water or LaCroix.
I have no idea why anyone would want to quit drinking coffee, but I have seen the “No Coffee” goal on a few habit trackers. If you are one of those people that are trying to eliminate coffee from your morning routine, I wish you luck. The key to creating a habit that sticks is by using habit replacement. Instead of giving up coffee cold turkey, try switching out your morning coffee for another beverage like tea or milk.
My method of avoiding junk food is to keep it out of my house. However, at my office there always seems to be candy, cookies and pizza just waiting to tempt me. I’ve found that the best way to resist is to bring my own healthy snacks like an apple or granola bar. When I’m feeling hungry and am tempted to eat some junk food, I eat my healthy snacks instead.
For a long time I avoided journaling because I thought it meant keeping a “diary” which was something I was not interested in. But last year I heard about Morning Pages which is a journaling concept that was popularized by Julia Cameron in her book “The Artist’s Way.” The idea is to get all of the thoughts out of your head and into your journal each morning. Your journal is not meant to be read - it is just a place to leave your thoughts so you can clear your mind. Once I started this practice it became very easy for me to journal daily, and I found that I started the day with a clear mind and fewer distractions.
The thrill of getting to Inbox Zero has become more of an addiction for me than just a habit. In case you’re not familiar, Inbox Zero is the practice of deleting, archiving or responding to all of the emails in your inbox each day. Once you have processed all of your emails at the end of the day, you can go home feeling like there are no lingering tasks in your email inbox that were left unfinished. Of course, you will need to start the process all over again the next day since most of people receive around 100 emails everyday!
If there are people in your life that you love, make sure you tell them daily! Sometimes it can be easy to get into the habit of not saying “I love you” because you think your spouse already knows that you do. But saying it is a great way to remind yourself that you need to show your love both through words and thoughtful actions.
There is nothing I loathe more that waking up to a sink full of dishes. I make it a habit to do the dishes or load the dishwasher immediately after dinner. Otherwise, dirty dishes seem to attract each other like magnets: one dirty plate in the sink, turns into two, then three, then before you know it the sink is full.
One year my wife and I decided to making flossing daily our New Year’s resolution. So far we have been flossing everyday for the past 4 years and this is the longest New Year’s resolution I’ve ever kept. The key to starting the habit was to incorporate it into our nighttime routine: floss first, then brush, wash face, etc.
When I was growing up my mom would call my grandma almost every single day. I don’t know how they had that much to talk about, we lived just down the road from them, but my mom really cherished the relationship she had with her mom. I’m not much of a phone person but I make it a habit to call my parents once per week.
Learning a new language has been a difficult habit for me to develop. Thankfully, there are many great (and free!) apps out there that make it fun and easy. I really enjoy using Duolingo. The app is designed to be addictive so you get into the habit of using it everyday. Plus, it is fun to use and requires no boring textbook.
Have dreams of starting a blog, launching a business or changing the world but have no time? Then making a habit of not watching TV or Netflix could give you a few hours back each day. Did you know the average American watches 5 hours of TV every single day? Imagine what you could accomplish with an extra 35 hours per week!
I recently heard an interview with a physical therapist that said if his patients did one simple stretch everyday he would lose 99% of his business. Stretching can help reduce muscle injuries and eliminate joint pain. Not only does stretching help you improve movement in your joints but it will also improve your circulation and give you increased energy. What are you waiting for? Start stretching!
The older I get, the more appreciative I am for the great friendships I have. And of course, as I get older, the harder it becomes to keep in touch with my friends. Once my friends starting having kids and buying houses their schedules were full and it became harder to meet up for happy hour or play a round of golf. Instead, I try to make it a habit to call regularly and stay in touch.
Have you ever heard the phrase: “your network is your net worth?” Your network, or community of friends, family and classmates can be a valuable resource when you need help. The only problem is that a network of contacts is usually only valuable when it is large. So start connecting with someone new each day and watch your network expand exponentially.
I can’t start my day without making my bed. Over the years it has become a habit that I don’t miss. For me I really enjoy coming home to a clean bedroom and seeing the bed made. If you like crossing things off your to do list like I do, then making your bed is a great way to build up some momentum on your to do list first thing in the morning. There is also a great commencement speech about the power of making your bed each morning that I suggest you watch.
If you turn on the news or read the headlines each morning you would think the sky is falling. Well, you have the opportunity to change that! Try making it a habit to complete one random act of kindness each day. It doesn’t have to involve spending or donating money, it just has to be kind and thoughtful. Give a compliment, lend a hand or send a text.
If you sit at your desk all day like I do, you won’t believe how much more energy you’ll have by just going for a short walk. In the afternoon when I’m feeling sluggish, I go for a short walk and come back feeling energized and ready to finish my to do list. Tracking this in your habit tracker is a great way to remind yourself to stand up and move a little bit everyday.
Were you one of those students that always doodled in class instead of taking notes? Well the good news is that doodling can help you increase your creativity and reduce stress. If journaling is too intimidating, why not doodle in your journal instead. Keep track of how often you doodle in your habit tracker and watch your progress. You’ll be amazed with your creations when you reflect at the end of the month.
I rounded up 29 of the most popular goals to track in your habit tracker. While you might be tempted to add 10 or more of these habits to your daily routine, I would focus on just 2 or 3.
I know from experience that it can become overwhelming trying to tackle multiple goals and habits all at once. Not to mention, trying to complete your normal to do list and day to day responsibilities. When my to do list gets too long, my motivation seems to dwindle.
I suggest focusing on only a few new habits to track each month. If you successfully master those habits you can move onto tracking a few more. Building momentum is the key to making sustainable progress towards your goals.