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How Many Habits Should You Track? Will You Be Surprised?

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Picture of sticky notes - each with a different habit. How many habits should you track?

It’s a debatable question – How many habits should you track? The answer depends on if these are new habits that you want to change, or if you are tracking things like brushing your teeth, because you like ticking boxes. Let’s dive into the subject..

How many habits should you track – introduction

Have you seen a beautiful bullet journal habit tracker, and thought – ‘I should be tracking more habits’? Well that’s what this article is going to explore..

READ: How Often Should I Bullet Journal?

Is there such a thing as tracking too many habits?

Or should we forget tracking habits at all?

Does it make any difference?

The pros and cons of habit tracking

Picture in background of woman eating a salad. The title reads - how many habits should you track? Will you be surprised? Then there is the logo for Build Your Planner.

Pros

Some find that tracking habits really makes a difference. 

One thing I personally notice is that when I create a bullet journal habit tracker and actually fill it out, it definitely gives me awareness.

Sometimes we can go along in life and not realize that we are doing or not doing something. For example, we are recommended to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg per day. But if you tracked that – you might be surprised at the actual number of days we follow through on that recommendation.

Sometimes the very fact of opening our bullet journal and seeing something there that we want to do, can be an incentive to actually do it. As they say – ‘Out of sight, out of mind’. So a habit tracker can be helpful to bring something to focus for us.

Cons

For many the bullet journal habit tracker can be detrimental. 

Let’s say you see a page with 12 different things that you want to be doing and at the end of the day, you didn’t do one of them. 

How do you feel?

Not good – right?

If it happens again, and again, that can erode away at our self-trust and self-belief, which is not a good place when trying to build habits.

Decide the purpose of your habits first

Before getting into randomly picking a number of habits to track, think about the purpose.

What do I mean?

What are you trying to achieve? Like I mentioned at the start, some habits might be new, a lifestyle change or a new routine we want to adopt. 

Or are you tracking something because you do it often but you want to get more consistent with it, and try and do it every day.

Or are you tracking something you do most if not every day, like brushing your teeth and ultimately you don’t mind, you just want your bullet journal or planner to look pretty.

Picture of a mom and child brushing their teeth in front of a mirror. How many habits should you track?

These questions make a difference to the question we are asking in this article.

So – How many habits should you track?

Well let’s go through each category that we mentioned above..

New or changing habits

For this category – I recommend only 1 habit at a time. 

I also recommend doing a more extensive tracking system that allows for notes and reflections. 

I found a really good system explained by Thomas Frank in this video for if you want to track a habit that is going to be new or changing something in your life.

The reason I suggest 1 habit at a time here is because if it is new or life changing, it is going to require as much of your focus and effort as possible. 

When you have conquered one thing by all means move on to another new habit. 

More consistent habits

For this, I recommend, keep to the important ones, and track only about 3-6

This category is for those habits like exercising, eating 5 portions of fruit and veg, maybe a spending limit, or things like that.

They are things that we do sometimes anyway but we want to do them more and become more consistent. 

It’s important to stick to the important ones and make sure it doesn’t get overwhelming.

Everyday habits

For these everyday habits, that you do usually anyway, you can go up to 12-16.

If you are not too bothered about whether you do the habits and really you like the action of tracking and won’t be upset about the actual habit then you can include quite a lot in this category. 

But remember, if the habits are ones you actually want to change, don’t track this many at once, it will become very overwhelming.

Conclusion

Have I answered the question – how many habits should you track?

As you can see the purpose of tracking is a really important step in deciding the answer. And ultimately it’s important that you do what works for YOU.

Thanks for joining me here today, by all means leave your opinion in the comments below.

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