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Infallible Framework for Habit Development: Habits Tracking

Infallible Framework for Habit Development | Part 3: Habits Tracking

I developed dozens of daily habits without a fail using this framework.

This is part 3 of 4 about a habit development tool widely known and highly undervalued.

III. Habits Tracking.

I don’t agree with those who claim that tracking is limiting and cripples your chances to develop new habit. The argument against it is that tracking constricts a person, making them feel like a prisoner or a laboratory rat under scrutiny.

In my experience tracking is pure gold in habit creation and is a factor that can make or break your habit. Without tracking, the chances for habit development reduce drastically.

If you keep everything in your head, your subconscious can trick you into believing you are achieving your goals, or even that you don’t need the habit you are trying to form. It can twist everything and sell you a bunch of distortions mixed with a little truth to make them believable. And you will buy these packages each and every time.

So, what is habit tracking?

In its simplest form, you are just recording whether you have done your habit or not. The means you use to record this is absolutely up to you. You may use pen and paper, an Excel sheet, a text file, an application, a wall calendar — anything.

Habits tracking in the form of a journal is widely known and recommended by many researchers and coaches. Journals are used in many areas: a writing log, food journal, exercise log and so on. They are recommended, because they work.

Habits tracking works like magic

In 2012 I lost about 15 pounds. It took me several months and I used various methods, from ditching sweets, intermittent fasting and introducing more vegetables into my diet, to intensifying my exercise program. But my progress stalled in December. At the beginning of January 2013, I started a food journal. I registered everything I consumed, every gulp of soda and crumb of bread. I didn’t change my exercise program. I didn’t change my diet. I just noted down my consumption.

My awareness with regard to the amount and quality of food I ate increased almost magically. And I lost those last six stubborn pounds.

My story is not some aberration. Journaling, and tracking in general, works because it immensely increases your awareness. It instills filters in your brain. We get about 100 million sensual impulses every second — this is gigabytes of data. Your conscious mind perceives only a small fraction of that info ocean.