How to track your habits! App, Notebook or Filofax?

How do you force yourself to stick to your daily routine, or develop a habit? As a general rule of thumb if you keep doing something often enough it will become second nature. But how do you remind yourself and track your progress?

A couple of years ago I started out using one of my Cath Kidston notebooks as a habit and goals journal. I carried it in my bag during my daily commute. However the problem was – checking off the habit diary needed to be built into part of my morning routine as well and it wasn’t yet – so quite frequently I forgot.

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While the notebook was perfect for this use, I kept forgetting about the notebook – so it didn’t really help me develop the habits. The only habit I successfully managed during this period was giving up my Starbucks in the morning. And that had nothing to do with the notebook.

Next was the filofax:

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This time I used it for my blogging habits, tucked securely into the “blogging” section of my Filofax. Again I had to remember to look at it, but since looking at my Filofax was already part of the morning routine it was one step closer. I also took the opportunity to sketch out a nice little chart for recording my habits. The downside, I don’t always check my Filofax first thing on a weekend if at all, so on the weekend, things just weren’t getting done.

Last week I decided to try the habit streak app (free version) on my phone – so far it is working well:

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It is really simple to use: you type in habits you want to achieve (a really simple initial set up and set a reminder for it to ask you whether this has been done). I have set my reminder for 8am (the is about the time I will have arrived in the office and just made my first cuppa). So each morning I get a simple notification on my phone asking me if I did the items the previous day and I just tick them off.

The app is advertised as recording you streaks (how long you kept it up for) rather than reminding you to do the daily task. But I find that it is a reminder, a reminder to keep yourself in check and record whether you are completing the task (and the streak count allows you to see how well you are doing it).

Downside: I hate cluttering up my phone with apps, I much prefer that my clutter is filed and organised within the cover of my Filofax, however, until the habits form, I might just have to settle for the electronic solution.

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