Among the tools built in to our high-performance planner is the habit tracker. We didn't invent the habit tracker. We just implemented it in a way that makes it more usable. If the habit tracker concept is new to you, it is worth looking in to.
Habit trackers represent just one tool a person might use to improve daily performance. Since daily performance is individually defined, people use habit trackers in different ways. Use one and you just might find it to be the most important component of your daily planner.
What It Is, What It Does
A habit tracker is a tool for recording and tracking your habits. Let's say you have a list of daily habits you feel are important. Yet you lack consistency with some of them. Writing them down in your habit tracker gives you the opportunity to check each one off, on a daily basis, as completed.
What does this do for you? It gives you a way to hold yourself accountable. You are creating a permanent record of your habits and the consistency you show in practicing them. Over time, tracking hopefully leads to greater consistency.
Use It to Stop Bad Habits
More often than not, habit trackers are designed to help a person be more consistent about maintaining good habits. But it can be used in the other direction too. In other words, a habit tracker can be used to break bad habits.
Let's say one of your bad habits is oversleeping. Record that habit in your daily planner for every day. On days when you oversleep, circle it in red. Cross it out on those days when you don't oversleep. Now you have both a record and accountability.
How Habit Tracking Can Help
At this point, especially if you been looking for a planner that actually works, you might be wondering how daily habit tracking helps. After all, you already know you are inconsistent with good habits and consistent with the bad ones. Well, stick with us for a few more minutes.
Establishing good habits is generally a matter of two things: accountability and consistency. Accountability in anything is all about consequences. Checking off those good habits you completed offers a sense of self-satisfaction and accomplishment. Feeling good about yourself is just one of the positive consequences.
Succumbing to bad habits has the opposite effect. If the bad habit you are trying to conquer is oversleeping, there may be other consequences as well – like being late for work.
Good and bad consequences hold you accountable. They also serve as motivation to be consistent with the good habits while working to bringing an end to the bad ones.
Practice Makes Perfect
As for consistency, another way to look at it is the old adage that says practice makes perfect. Let's say one of the good habits you want to establish with more consistency is doing a daily brain dump. During the first few weeks, the satisfaction of being able to check it off your list provides sufficient motivation to actually do it.
After several weeks, you get into the practice of brain dumping without even having to think about it. It just becomes part of your daily routine. Adding it to your habit tracker gave you a reason to practice it every day. Now you just do it by default.
Some people find habit trackers particularly useful. Others, not so much. If you are having trouble maintaining consistency in your daily habits, give it a try. The worst that could happen is that it doesn't work for you.