We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle
It sucks, doesn’t it?
You’re all hyped up to become a better you. You know exactly what you need to do to achieve your goals.
And you do it!
For a while at least…
Before you know it, you’ve forgotten to exercise for 3 weeks, haven’t worked on your startup for who knows how long, and are in pretty much the same place you started.
You’re left feeling worse about yourself than before you had set all these goals.
But you know what?
Habit trackers are an easy fix to your problem.
How can something so simple conquer the procrastination and lack of motivation that you’ve been stuck in for years?
Small rewards, positive-feedback loops, and progress tracking are the answers.
Moreover, habit trackers remind you how long it’s been since you’ve last exercised (Nope, it wasn’t just yesterday), and they keep you on track.
How long does it really take to form a habit?
Let’s face it:
As awesome as it would be if all it took was a week of persistence to build a habit, that’s not the case.
I’m sure you’ve heard that it only takes 21 days to build a habit. Unfortunately, even that’s not entirely true.
This study from the University of London says the time it takes to build a habit varies from person to person. It can take as few as 18 days to as many as 264.
You know how easy it is for life to come in between you and your goals. So, wouldn’t it be nice if you had something reminding you to do what you need to in order to achieve?
Why Should You Track Your Habits?
Did you have a piggy bank as a kid?
I bet you did. I did too.
I had this tall Coca-Cola bottle piggy bank. It was transparent, so you could see how many coins were inside. It was really fun to put coins in and watch the pile grow taller and taller. Soon enough, the whole bottle was filled, and that was the most rewarding thing six-year-old me had ever accomplished.
Other piggy banks weren’t as fun, though. I’d put the money in, and it was gone. I couldn’t see my money pile growing inside.
The same applies to hard work.
It’s hard to stick to something when you don’t see your progress, even if you are making an advancement.
You put your hard work in the piggy bank but aren’t seeing the payoff.
Imagine you started a business, and after two months of constant work, you still hadn’t made a single sale. Would you still wake up motivated to get work?
But for many habits, that’s what it’s like. It may take over a month of work to see the fruits of your hard work.
And that’s where habit trackers come in handy. Habit tracking apps create a positive feedback loop where your previous progress encourages you to make more progress.
Take this screenshot of the Colored Habit Tracker 2.0 as an example.
All those green cells show you all the work you’ve put in. Just by taking a glance at the tracking app, you can see how well you’ve been doing!
The charts show you how well you’ve been doing compared to your other habits as well.
Seeing the progress you’ve made so far drives you to make even more.
It’s as James Clear, the creator of Habits Academy, says:
The things we measure are the things we improve. It is only through numbers and clear tracking that we have any idea if we are getting better or worse.
Choosing a Habit Tracker App that Works for You
By now, you get the point.
Habit trackers are the most important productivity tools to achieve your long-term goals.
Not all habit trackers are created equal.
You could draw a grid on a paper and call it a habit tracker, but will it drive you to succeed?
Some habit trackers are better than others. The best of all have these 3 traits that keep you going.
1. Allows You To Easily See Your Progress
Remember what I said about positive-feedback loops?
Well, they are one of the most important features a habit tracker can have. It takes a lot more willpower to keep at something when you can’t see how far your hard work has taken you.
The best habit trackers allow you to see how well you’ve been doing with a quick glance.
Like the image above, just a glimpse tells you that you’ve worked on your habit every day (even if you didn’t reach the quota a few times). Instantly, you’ll be more motivated to keep going.
Don’t break the streak!
2. Keeps You Motivated
Do you ever feel like giving up?
Sure, you’ve been making progress, but you’re tired. You start to wonder what the point of all this hard work is.
Later, you’ll be scrolling through your Instagram feed and see a quote like this:
You immediately remember what you’re working for. It’s like someone jumpstarted your enthusiasm and your energy has been renewed.
The best habit trackers do just that. They jumpstart your motivation and willpower when you crash halfway to the finish line.
Sometimes, all it takes is a really good quote that resonates with you.
A good habit tracker app keeps you motivated, be it via motivational quotes, rewards, or helpful reminders.
3. Lets You Compete with Yourself
“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” ― William Faulkner
Habit trackers not only drive you forward, they also help you reflect.
Take a look at my habit tracker:
At the beginning of the month, I wasn’t waking up as early as I wanted to. However, after over a week of sleeping in, I decided to compete with my older self, and I won! By the end of the month, I started waking up early every day!
The Colored Habit Tracker 2.0 has a summary chart where you can compare your progress for a certain habit in each month. That way, you can easily see if you are beating your older self or falling behind.
When you beat your old self, be sure to give yourself a reward. Take yourself out to dinner or go out to a movie.
Habit trackers are my favorite productivity tool because of the immense influence they have on my daily achievements and motivation. Want to start using habit trackers today?