Saturday, December 29, 2018

New Year's...habit tracking?

In my eternal quest to be a better grownup, I started habit tracking at the beginning of this year, and to my great astonishment it's one of the things I've kept up all year long. I've made a habit of habit tracking, I guess?

(The other thing I've kept up all year is my meal planning Evernote containing notes on nearly every dinner we've cooked since 2015, a la Dinner: A Love Story. I can tell you what we had the week Thing 1 was born - eggplant parm; pasta with shrimp and broccoli, etc. I *am* Jenny Rosenstrach, only less organised, less creative, and I don't get paid to write about food - alas.)

Anyway, you'll see below how my habit trackers evolved this year. None of this is particularly Pinterest-worthy, but that's just my personality. If it's just for me, making it more aesthetically pleasing is not a significant motivating factor, but crossing off each day is very satisfying. I take the bits and bobs of a system that work for me and leave the rest! This is how I work with training plans, too. Word of warning to any future coaches...

January 2018, like 10 weeks pregnant, sick to my stomach.  

January 2018 (see above). Those prenatal vitamins did not help with the puking, but I took them anyway. That 'run/ yoga/ strength' was more for my sanity than anything else.

December 2018 (i.e this week - haven't finished Friday and haven't got to the weekend yet). 
December 2018 (see above).
- Still taking my vitamins! Gummy vites for the win! I don't usually think that vitamins are a necessity with a nice balanced diet, but I have certain nutritional needs (because breastfeeding) that are helped along with vitamins.
- Somewhere along the line I decided to track daily flossing. This was probably prompted by having to schedule one of my biannual dental appointments. As it turns out, what gets measured gets managed better. Before tracking I flossed...maybe...a couple of times a week? Now it's more often than not, and when I forget it's because I've fallen asleep putting a child to bed. Why didn't I floss more before? It's so easy. The floss literally lives in the bathroom cabinet next to my toothbrush, where it has always lived. 
- 'Baby D' is vitamin D drops for the baby.
- 'Activity' is another case of what-you-can-when-you-can. Sometimes that's running 4 miles. Or my PT exercises, or MYRTLs. Other times that's walking a mile with the stroller, or walk-commuting to and from the coworking space or subway station. It all counts, right?

Note that as the number of behaviours tracked increased, the prettiness of the trackers diminished - they started out being coloured in with sparkly scented gel pen, and devolved into being crossed off. /shrug

This year, I also sort of tracked the books I read (in another Evernote note). For next year, I have a list of books to read written down in the back of my 2019 planner, let's see how that works.

It strikes me that habit-tracking is very much a process goal rather than an outcome goal. An outcome goal (ok, some people call these New Year's resolutions!) is something like 'lose 10 pounds'. A process goal is 'eat vegetables or fruit at every meal'. An outcome goal is 'Run a 1:50 half marathon'. A process goal is 'stick to 90% or more of a training plan'. I definitely prefer process goals, and paradoxically, they're easier to stick to because they're not all-or-nothing. If you don't meet your process goals in one instance - let's say I forgot to floss on Wednesday night - tomorrow is another day.

What are you tracking now or next year, and how? What else should I track in 2019? 


  1. I'm way more into process goals. The process takes you to the outcome, anyway, right?

  2. I like your method because it's much less intimidating (and time-consuming) compared to the pinterest-y things I've seen. On my list of things I should track: workouts, cooking, calling my mom.