Habit/Cycle Tracking

A couple of years ago I started habit tracking. It isn’t something I stick to every month, but I still find it really useful to come back to when I get out of routine and find my good habits slipping.

Habit Tracker by Clementine Creative

I’ve streamlined my habits a bit and I now just track the few things which I feel make the biggest difference:

  • My sleep routine.
  • Switching off my phone in the evening.
  • Eating at least five portions of fruit & veg per day.
  • Exercise (going for a walk or doing some pilates).

Last year I started thinking about also tracking my mood, energy levels and sleep quality alongside these habits to see what effect the habits were having. I was interested to see whether sticking to the habits or letting them slip had an immediate impact on my mood, energy and sleep.

This also led me to thinking about how hormones affect our mood, energy levels and sleep quality and the fact that these things vary throughout the month as part of a natural cycle – regardless of habits. So I started tracking all these things alongside my menstrual cycle to see what patterns emerged!

It hasn’t been a particularly scientific experiment, but after tracking five cycles, I found that my habits don’t have a huge impact on a day to day basis, but that maintaining good habits (such as eating healthily and getting plenty of sleep) help to keep me happier overall.

Unsurprisingly – I found numerous patterns between my menstrual cycle and mood, energy and sleep quality. Most notably – at the beginning of each cycle my energy is really low despite sleeping really well and towards the end of each cycle I’m buzzing with energy despite sleeping poorly.

A magazine article I read about menstrual cycles, moon cycles and yoga (sorry – I can’t remember what magazine it was!) broke down suggested actions for each week/phase of a cycle. I cut out part of the article and have looked back at it regularly to see how my cycle fits in with it.

Below I’ve outlined what the article suggested for each phase and I’m planning to make my own list of actions/intentions incorporating what I’ve discovered whilst tracking.

Phase One (approx first week of cycle)

  • Set intentions.
  • Rest.
  • Restore.

Phase Two (approx second week of cycle)

  • Develop new possibilities.
  • Make decisions.
  • Overcome challenges.

Phase Three (approx third week of cycle)

  • Celebrate you.
  • Have fun.
  • Express yourself.

Phase Four (approx fourth week of cycle)

  • Share.
  • Reflect.
  • Release.

The information I found whilst tracking has given me a better understanding of the impact hormone fluctuations have and how I can work in sync with what my body needs. I’m much better at knowing when to push myself and when to go easy on myself.

For example – I no longer give myself a hard time for being ‘lazy’ at the beginning of my cycle. My body clearly needs lots of rest and that’s okay. I’ve been saving all my monotonous jobs that involve lots of sitting for this phase of my cycle and it’s actually turned into a super productive time!

Tracking my cycles also made me aware that I tend to have mini-meltdowns around the same time each cycle! This is when I’m feeling really creative and have lots of ideas pinging around my mind. It’s a perfect time to be designing and planning but I need to be mindful of not overwhelming my already busy brain!

Do you fancy tracking your cycle and working out your own personal actions/intentions for each phase? Drop me an email if you’d like a copy of my habit/cycle tracker!

Habit Tracking

I’m loving taking part in March Meet the Maker over on Instagram!

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.

Sleep habits

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!

What would you put on your habit tracker?


After making the decision to not set myself unrealistic goals and targets for 2018, I’ve been feeling like a bit of a spectator of everyone else’s goal setting!

January can be tough. Beardie and I started a tradition a few years back of having a break mid-January to celebrate the anniversary of when we met and to have a rest and something to look forward to in this long grey month. So last weekend we spent a few days in Grasmere enjoying beautiful views and lots of warm hearty food.

At the beginning of January my Instagram feed seemed to be fairly evenly split between those who were jumping head first into the new year – exercising, dieting, setting work and life goals and those who were crawling into the new year feeling overwhelmed, unmotivated and unwell.

For me the first couple of weeks were definitely a crawl. I came down with Pityriasis just before Christmas, which meant I had a few weeks of very little sleep and generally feeling a bit crappy.

Now that we’ve had a lovely relaxing break and I have (mostly) recovered from Pityriasis, I’m feeling ready for 2018!

Although I’m trying to plan less this year, I’m really missing having goals to motivate myself – so rather than goals I am working on ‘habits’. I find it difficult to get started with a habit, but once I’m in the habit of doing something and can feel the benefits than it’s much easier to keep up.

So I’ve made myself a habit tracker (it’s not pretty so I won’t show you…but eventually I’ll do something pretty like this) and I’m working on getting into a routine with things I think will make me healthier and happier.

They’re all things which I’ve been doing sporadically for a while, but I want to become part of my everyday routine – such as ten minutes of meditation, arm and wrist exercises to ease my RSI and switching on flight mode at 10pm. Hopefully when I get into the habit of doing these things everyday (or at least every week-day) then they will just become part of my normal routine and won’t feel like a chore.

I hope you’re surviving January! x