Habit Tracker 2020, a simple Google Sheet to track your habits with!
You feel like an unhealthy, miserable couch potato. For days in a row, you couldn?t resist buying that bag of potato chips, ripping it open and eating until the bottom before you even got home. When you come home, you sit down on your couch. You turn Netflix on. Or YouTube. Suddenly 2 hours have passed.
My old diet. Photo by Ryan Quintal on Unsplash
Enough is enough, you say to yourself. You close the laptop and put it away.
?When is that appointment again?? You grab your phone to quickly check your calendar. Out of nowhere you are however mindlessly scrolling on Instagram. ?Hmm, that looks like a delicious pie Patricia made..?
But wait, who cares! Suddenly another 2 hours have passed!
You missed the appointment. You also didn?t get anything meaningful work done. Because of all the time you wasted, you even missed sports class!
?There goes my daily doing exercise-plan straight out of the window??, you think?.
What if this is your reality? Then you have some bad habits to get rid of and good ones to create!
On an over-the-top extremely unproductive day, this used to be how mine could look like. But I have gotten a lot better!
What helps, is tracking what I do. To see that I consistently work on myself, and notice how, over time, something that at first was difficult, becomes easier over time.
TL;DR: Here?s the template. Click on ?File? > ?Make a copy?. Rename the copy if you want, and save it somewhere on your own Google Drive. Fill out your habits in the second sheet called ?Write your habits in here? in the designated table. These will be pulled automatically onto ?Habit Tracker 2020? Sheet. Then: track your habits! Copy-paste the emoji?s when you did your habit for the day! ??? ???? How-to gifs are at the bottom of the article!
Help! WHERE DO I START?
Do you want to get your life in order? Of course you do! Otherwise you wouldn?t be reading this?.
In order to do so, create tiny habits. Own one day at a time. Once you own your day, and own it daily, you?ll slay your life! Look at the small parts of your day, the ones which are right in front of you and controllable, and get a grip on these first! (A good read on this ?Own the day, own your life? by Aubrey Marcus.)
Start with determining what is most important to you. It is unrealistic to try and get every single aspect in your life in order at once.
Pick the most important one(s) first.
And work on those. Until they?re automatic to you, and you feel like you miss something when you don?t do them. (It?s also why I limited the amount of habits I?m tracking to 6).
Me for example, I started with: going to dance class. So mine?s very sports-oriented. In my working life there has been a period where I sacrificed my weekly dance class for other things.
What I gained with that? Nothing.
Dance to me is life. It feels like mental cleansing and the best way to release any energy and stress. I missed it when I wasn?t doing it. It was the thing costing me less than 20% of my time, but giving me 80% of life. You could call this a keystone habit, because doing this one thing spills over into all areas of my life. In a positive way!
So after a month-long period of feeling dreadful, I set up a rule: to go to dance class, at least once a week, on a fixed day. This was, and still is the law. To prevent myself from cheating and skipping dance class, I track this one too.
Once this was set up, I noticed how I wanted to adjust other areas in my life to aid in me performing better at dance class.
Drinking water for example, and plenty of it. Not just during class, but every day, so that my body also afterwards can properly recover from the intensive exercise, and keep my muscles intact. Eating healthily (I don?t count calories, but I also don?t grab pizza, Cola, Fanta, chocolate and sweets all the time). Stretching regularly to improve flexibility in my muscles and mobility in my joints.
Let?s take stretching, for example. At the beginning of this year I started doing daily extensive stretching. At first my routine took me about an hour to finish, and it was extremely uncomfortable to do. By now, 8 months in, it feels easier, enjoyable, I can stretch much further than in the beginning, and I notice how some dance moves have become easier to execute. This is a compounding habit. By doing it regularly, with time, it keeps getting better and better.
Seeing and feeling results make me feel good, and motivate me to continue these habits. I don?t stress out if I don?t hit a perfect day where I tick off every single habit. I do as well as I can (sometimes life happens and I end up doing other things), and will always be able to see how well I did by the end of the month.
Once the habits I?m tracking now are firmly established and cost me no effort anymore, I will take them off the list and replace them with, or add new ones I want to ideally get done daily too! (Such as reading one chapter, write 500 words, learn X words in a foreign language).
How I used to track my habits
I started tracking many aspects of my life over the past years. All in different formats. It probably started with lists, endless lists in my notebooks. I tried different apps. Most recently the Habits app, which I wrote about in this article ?Handy iPhone Apps I Use To Guide Me Through The Day?, but since I want to reduce the need for me to check my phone, I stopped using this. For each day you do all your habits, you get a streak. Always getting this streak of perfection was giving me stress and making me feel uncomfortable and obsessed, so I stopped using this app. I used to make a weekly table with habits in my notebooks, but got tired of drawing this entire thing out every week over and over again.
My old, discarded system I am no longer using.
General tips: Getting more mental space
I still love to write on paper. I use a tiny bullet journal I always carry with me. On demand I use it to journal in order to get more in touch with my feelings. I also use it to sketch out chaotic ideas which reside in my brain. At the end of each day I write down whatever accomplishment or milestone I reached. This adds up to a nice list at the end of the week! And I look at this to keep going when I?m feeling down.
When I have a new idea, or something cool I want to come across and get back to later, and I need to get that out of my head, I do put it on a Wunderlist list (just a to-do list app). Examples of lists I have there: Books I want to read, Skills I want to learn, Short video ideas, Groceries. These ideas need to live somewhere, but not inside my head.
Examples of my Wunderlist lists.
So how do I track dem habits then?
I switched to (yet another) simple Google Sheet! Which I open only when I?m on the computer, as I?m aiming to reduce the time spent on my phone.
I love Google Sheets, because you can fully customise it to meet your wishes and requirements. It?s how I got a tight grip on my finances too! (In case you are curious about this sheet, there?s a free template you can make a copy of. I wrote about it in the article ?How to easily track your expenses with Google Sheets?.)
For my habits I thought: why not do the same?
I don?t care too much about streaks and sh%t. I don?t need reminders. I know what I need to do. I do need at an eye?s glance to be able to see how well I?m doing with my habits. Well = consistently. And a monthly total, that?s all! Then I can compare per month how it?s going.
?? Cool, a template! What should I do?
Step 1: Make a copy of the template!
Have a look at the ?Habit Tracker 2020 Template? here. If you like it, click on File > Make a copy. DO NOT request edit access, because you will not get it ?
Step 2: Write our your habits.
In the second sheet called ?Write your habits in here?, there?s a table. Write down the main 6 habits (or less) you want to track in there. These will then be pulled into column I for each month on the main sheet called ?Habits Tracker 2020?. So you?ll only have to fill them out once, and not twelve times?!
Step 1 & 2: How to get your copy of Habit Tracker 2020, and where to write your own habits.
Step 3: Start tracking your habits!
Whenever you did one habit, copy the green tick emoji, and paste it in the field for that day! The total amount of times you did the habit will automatically update in column AO and AP.
Step 3: Track your habits by copy-pasting the emoji!
Step 4: make the template easily accessible:
Copy a shortcut to the template into your bookmarks bar, so that you can open it with just one click.
Step 4: Add your Habit Tracker to your Bookmarks bar, so you can easily access it.
That?s it ?!
What if I want to use this on mobile??
Of course, if you?d want to, you could access the sheet on your phone. How?Download Google Sheets app, find the template in your drive, and press ?make accessible offline?. Then you?d be able to tick off habits while you?re on the go.