(My habit tracker from 2019)

In 2019, I chose the word Excellence for my Word of the Year. That year, I really focused on developing habits and practices to lead a more excellent life (not a perfect life nor a productive life, but a excellence life — which I define more here).

One of the practices I established during that year was tracking habits. I created a simple daily habit checklist on Numbers on my computer with some habits that I wanted to prioritize. I would print one out at the beginning of each week and then track them throughout the week.

Small Actions Add Up to Big Change

Halfway through 2019, I downloaded Atomic Habits and listened to it on the Libby app. Within just the first hour of listening, I was pretty sure it was going to be a 5-start book for me. And it was! In fact, I found it so insightful that I ended up buying a hard copy of the book and reading the hard copy again in 2020! (If you know me well, you know that that speaks volumes to how beneficial I thought the book was!)

One of the basic premises of Atomic Habits is that small actions done consistently add up to big changes over time. These actions can be bad habits or good habits. In the book, the author provides powerful and actionable ideas on how to change course and develop disciplined practices… but it a way that serves you instead of stifling you.

Another principle that Atomic Habits highly encourages is the concept of habit tracking. James Clear shares many examples of how this can be done and how it can make such a difference.

I was excited that I had already developed the habit of habit tracking (though I had to chuckle that I was creating a habit to track habits!) and I can attest to the fact that it makes such a difference in my life.

(My daily habit tracker for 2021 — I just realized that I need to change the year in the header from 2020 to 2021!)

I know that I won’t always hit that goal every day (or any do any habit on my list perfectly!). But my hope is to aim to check 5 boxes in each line of my checklist every week.

Some of you might feel like a checklist seems over-bearing or not grace-filled or something that could cause stress. For my personality, it’s actually motivating. It helps remind me of my pre-determined priorities, it keeps me on track, and it serves as a sort of built-in course corrector.

Plus, if I find that I’m feeling exhausted or stressed or discouraged, a quick glance at the list might provide some clues as to why. For instance, if I feel like I’m not as connected with my kids, maybe it’s because I’m not spending as much one-on-one time with them. Or if I’m feeling depleted, maybe it’s because I haven’t been consistently prioritizing my health.

 

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