The photo I shared of my habit tracker sparked a lot of interest so I thought I would talk about it a bit more on here…
There are so many lovely inspirational layout ideas for habit trackers on Pinterest and Instagram and I initially planned to create my own layout. But then I found this one from Clementine Creative and it was perfect…so that saved me a job!
It’s available in different sizes and is free to download as a pdf here – or you can pay to get an editable version if you want to type in your list and days rather than adding them by hand.
Why Habit Track?
At the beginning of this year, I knew that I didn’t want to set myself any big goals or resolutions. After a very busy year last year I was looking forward to being less busy and giving myself a better work/life balance. But that doesn’t just happen on it’s own!
I knew I needed a plan to make sure I was getting work done but not doing too much (an easy habit to slip into when you don’t have specific office hours). I also wanted to get into a routine with some things I’ve been doing sporadically for a while (for example – meditation) and create new habits that I knew would benefit my health.
Is it working?
In my experience, habits take a long time to build and not long to fall down! I put flossing on here because I have a tendency to floss every day for months and then miss a few days… and then just stop until I see the dentist and get told off… and then it starts over again. I’m getting better at not stopping things if I miss a few days because colouring in my pretty chart motivates me!
The thing that has surprised me most is that I don’t eat five portions of fruit and veg every day! I was planning to put seven per day as the target on my tracker because that’s the new recommendation and I thought I was easily having five. Turns out I have a tendency to eat lots of portions of the same thing each day – I’ll happily eat a few portions of carrots – but then that would only count as one portion. And however many different fruit and veggies I put in a smoothie… it counts as a maximum of two portions. And the portion size guidelines have doubled since I last checked! I’m really glad I put that on the tracker as it’s making me count each day.
The most beneficial things on the tracker for me are those related to my sleep habits and working hours. I’m pretty sure I’m a nocturnal animal and as I’m self employed I could in theory sleep when I want and work when I want. But over the years I’ve discovered a lot of down-sides to being a night owl…
- Getting up late makes me feel lazy! Even if I’ve worked until 2am the night before… It feels inappropriate and somewhat defensive to explain that to the UPS man when I answer the door in my pyjamas at 11am.
- When everyone else is finished for the day I’m still working and miss all the fun things!
- It’s difficult to develop a consistent sleep routine because I’m out of sync with everyone else… and insomnia kicks in when I don’t have a routine.
Small changes such as putting my phone into flight mode by 10pm (so that I’m not browsing Pinterest until midnight!) have really helped improve my sleep. Giving myself an earlier bedtime means I’m now averaging about 7.5 hours sleep compared to less than 7 hours previously – and I feel better for it.
On top of extra sleep most nights, I’m also enjoying a new slow start to my weekdays. I’m setting my alarm early to give myself some Pinterest/Instagram browsing time, followed by arm exercises and a passive chest stretch to help my knitting pains (shoulder, elbows and wrists) and ten minutes meditation. Doing all of that before I start work feels good!