I have long obsessed over the idea of a bullet journal.
I’ve Googled the lined versus dotted versus graph versus blank notebook conundrum. (Google says dotted is the bullet journal way to go.) I’ve gazed at #bujo on Instagram. I’ve filled online shopping carts with ridiculously expensive pens and washi tape and how-to calligraphy books, only to somehow exercise the self-control I’ve been searching for my whole life.
Because I know myself. I lack the creativity, consistency, and straight-line-drawing ability necessitated by the bullet journal. So while I contemplated the idea of making my New Year’s resolution bullet journal-related, I also was extremely sick of giving up on my resolutions a month into the year. (Okay, fine, two weeks.)
Enter: the habit tracker.
The habit tracker is a single sheet of paper. If you look up free downloadables, it is already made for you. It requires no more tools than a single writing utensil, no more artistic ability than coloring in squares, plus approximately five minutes of time daily and little to no effort.
It is, in other words, my dream.
A habit tracker is a monthly, well, habit tracker. You write down a certain number of habits – in my template, it’s the nearly unbelievably arbitrary number of 17 – and then you track it every day for a month.
There are a lot of ways you can handle a habit tracker. You can just fill in the bubble if you accomplished the habit that day, or leave it blank if you didn’t. You can give each habit a different color, and then you’ll have a beauuuuuuutiful rainbow. Or you can be like me, and create an elaborate color code that requires a key handily kept on the back. (Generally speaking, light pink is good, hot pink is okay, and that awful brownish red color is VERY BAD INDEED. The weird black lines are school-related tasks I couldn’t start until winter break was over.) See the photo below for visual evidence of my color coding, as well as the fact that I cannot take basic care of myself and need reminders in order to do things like “sleep” and “meals.”
The only way a habit tracker can really become a burden is if you push yourself too far. Give yourself a few habits that will push you, but you’ll be a lot more successful if most of them are already almost habits, or just something you do often but would like to do more. If you have more than a handful of “30 minutes of yoga” and “make your own green juice” type tips and you are NOT Gwyneth Paltrow, this will not be fun at all.
And look! I went easy on myself and kept filling it out all through January. It almost even looks like maybe I improved my habits by the end of the month??
Except my attempts at Duolingo. I forgot that the free language learning site is, in spite of its quirky bird mascot and reward system, the worst website in the world.
A habit tracker is also fun because you’re not locked into anything for more than a month. (Ideal for those with commitment issues.) My February habit tracker looks pretty different from my January one, pictured above, and not just because my pink marker ran out of ink.
So if you feel like setting a mid-to-late February New Year’s Resolution, consider a habit tracker. Time is a human construct anyway.