Should you track your habits?

Understand yourself better than your conscious self allows

Over time, I saw a gradual divide between those women who were more clear and intentional about their life with habits and systems in place as opposed to those who were good at being in the present moment but did not have a strong set of patterns and practices to fall back on. This difference is very pronounced when you hit up against the intense pressure of motherhood.

Habit tracking, believe it or not, is very controversial. Nerds get into arguments about whether it makes sense to do it at all.

I thoroughly enjoy habit tracking for the primary purpose of knowing myself.

I keep a range of habit trackers, with my current one here. I like to start them and see which behaviors are literally ingrained into my personality. Which ones require a lot more willpower. I start to gain a sense of self by directly observing and quantifying my actions.

Eventually my trackers change. I have incorporated some of the habits automatically where I no longer need to remind myself that I've done it, because I likely have. And also because my desires get re-assessed and updated.

In The 12 Week Year, authors argue that a rough benchmark of hitting 85% of your tasks in one week will allow you to hit your 12-week goal. I apply the same benchmark into habit tracking. Specifically I take a look at if I am achieving the habit at least 85% of the time I personally allocated for it.

If a habit is occurring less than 85% of the time that you originally allocated for it then it probably is not going to get you to your ill-defined long term goals

The other obvious fact in modern motherhood is that things will come up. It could be small stones in your shoe or it could be the health of your children or yourself that poses the inconvenience.

Anybody that has zero tolerance for missing a day on their habit formation clearly is not in a life situation that is complex enough - like when you have children! I don't subscribe to needing to hit habits daily. The point of tracking is to see where the gaps are occurring and to gently nudge yourself back in the direction you intended before life hit you.

The point is that you keep coming back to it in a way that can make sense for your schedule. A binding worship amongst habit lovers is consistent execution. The showing up to do the task is more powerful than the sum of its parts.

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