We’ve all been there: It’s the beginning of a new month and you’re full of lofty self-improvement goals. This will be the month that you finally eat healthy, do some exercise, reduce your phone screen time — it all sounds great, but fast-forward just a few days later and like clockwork, those well-intentioned habits are forgotten about without a second thought. Life happens, our motivation dwindles, and what seemed like an attainable goal just a few days before now seems either unrealistic or just downright uninteresting.
Fortunately, there’s a simple trick that can help you reach all of your goals and actually make those new habits stick: Printable habit trackers!
What’s a Habit Tracker?
A habit tracker is a simple tool that helps you visualize and monitor your daily progress as you work towards a new goal — here at Tidy Plans, we of course prefer the printable kind. By placing a tangible, physical chart on your desk, fridge or nightstand, you’ll be a million times more likely to be reminded of and thus, stick to your new habits.
Plus, each day that you tick off will give you a mini burst of motivation that’s bound to snowball into something bigger throughout the month. You’ll be able to track your progress, keep notes of how you’re feeling and maintain a consistent routine until the habit becomes second nature without thinking twice.
The Magic of 21
If you’ve ever completed a month-long challenge like Dry January or Whole 30, you might already know that by week 4, things feel pretty much on autopilot. That’s because according to research (or maybe it's urban legend?), it takes 21 days for a new habit to stick. That first week with no sugar or wine? It’s probably wise to warn your significant other to approach with caution — but by day 21, you’re already feeling the positive impact and have enough momentum to want to keep it going effortlessly.
Though it’s true that some notoriously difficult habits (like hitting the gym at 6am) may take a bit longer to stick, but you’re still bound to turn a corner towards major progress at the 21-day mark. For that reason, many of Tidy Plan’s printable habit trackers feature both 21 and 30 day trackers — we’re here to help you get over that initial difficult hump, and make it easy for that habit to stick.
Make it Un-Ignorable
Sometimes we lack the motivation, but sometimes we just plain forget about our goals. Printing out your habit tracker and leave it front and center where you are bound to see it multiple times a day — on your desk, your fridge or your nightstand — and you’ll be that much more likely to stick to the plan. Better yet, many of Tidy Plan’s printable habit trackers are full of eye-catching colors and bright floral patterns, so you can’t overlook them!
You can even jazz things up with stickers, neon highlighters, washi tape, even milky pens (remember those?!) to make your daily ritual of checking in with your habit tracker a bit more fun. The more you look forward to that feeling of accomplishment as you check the box for the day, the more likely you are to show up again tomorrow.
Try, Try, Try Again
That brings us to another great point — if you find that your well-intentioned attempt has fallen by the wayside, don’t fret. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get into a groove with a new ritual, especially those that have a big impact on our day-to-day lives like exercise or nutrition. The beauty of printable habit trackers is that they are a visual tool that allows you to see where you’re struggling and adjust your approach accordingly. If you notice that you’re consistently skipping your new habit on the weekends, try tweaking your goal, or even giving yourself those days off, guilt-free.
And it’s not always just a lack of willpower — there are plenty of other factors that come into play when forming a new habit: Are you trying to do too much too soon? Are you too busy schedule to make sufficient time for whatever you are trying to achieve? By leaving little notes and explanations on the days that you did not complete your habit, you’ll likely be able to identify the issue and then create a plan to overcome it.
Achieve All Kinds of Goals
You can use a habit tracker for anything — fitness goals, eating healthy, drinking enough water, not swearing — whatever you want to achieve, tracking your progress each day will eventually get you there! Some of our habit tracker templates even have enough slots for tracking 3, 4 or 5 habits at once. This technique is especially helpful towards maintaining momentum, because, let’s be real for a moment, there will be days where you simply can’t (or don’t want to) check off all of your goals. But by grouping a few new habits together, you’ll be much more likely to at least achieve some of them each day. And momentum gained from one is sure to apply to the rest.
This is a phenomenon called habit stacking, and it’s another fantastic technique that we recommend that you try! Is your goal to do 25 push-ups a day? That seems manageable at first, but we all know what happens around Day 5 or 6. Instead, try attaching a timeframe to your habit: “I will do 25 push-ups every morning immediately after I brush my teeth). Chances are you won’t forget to brush your teeth in the morning, so it’ll be that much more likely that you complete your push-up goal by stacking it immediately after — even if you do your push-ups right there in the bathroom! It might sound crazy, but it’s definitely worth a shot, especially for those super stubborn habits that you just can’t seem to get to stick.
Printable habit trackers are like your personal cheerleader, keeping you motivated and accountable as you make positive changes in your life. From getting more steps in to practicing gratitude, having this little sidekick printed out and sitting on your desk every day might just be what you need to finally get those habits to stick, once and for all. So get ready to crush those goals — picking out your favorite habit tracker is already the first step in the right direction!
Pssst: Need some motivation to start a fantastic new habit? We definitely recommend morning journaling! If you're looking for a way to do some soul-searching and self-discovery, you just might want to give it a try.
Thanks for checking out The Deep Clean, Tidy Plan's blog full of tips and advice to help you declutter your mind and build good habits. We're all about self-care, productivity, organization, and are here to assist you on your personal growth journey to become your best self!