Habit Tracking and Checklists
#1
One of the things I love about our community is the focus on self-improvement. There is tons of value across so many different areas that often the only problem is integrating this into your daily/weekly life. 

This is a thread for the refinement of habits and goals, as well as discussion around tracking, reviewing, integrating, etc. 

My first suggestion is to have an easy way to track your desired habits, as this serves multiple purposes. You want a checklist to keep you on track, a history to see your progress, and a reminder to encourage you to not "break the chain" of momentum and success.

I've tried searching for various Excel sheets for tracking but I've never found one that I was satisified with. I also believe that it's easier when you can mark off habits quickly rather than waiting till you're at a computer, or carrying around pen and paper. The best solution I've been using so far is a Repeat Habit Tracker app that is free on Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/detai...y&hl=en_CA

[Image: 10-habit-apps-Repeat-screenshots.jpg]

(Note: I have no affliation and make no money from this, and I am open to other suggestions)

I realized through this app that one of the areas that was previously missing is the flexibility to track habits on non-standard schedules. For example, there are certain things you may want to do 2x every week, where it doesn't actually matter which 2 days you choose for completion. 

I also recommend writing down what I call "Anti-Habits". These are habits you check off for completion when you successfully refrain from them (i.e. no irrelevant Youtube/Social Media/News browsing)

It seems to be a common refrain that you can only change a few habits at a time. I personally do not believe this. With the right productivity systems, schedules, resources, etc. we can be vastly more efficient than we realize. 
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#2
I think this is a good idea for a thread but I'm going to play Devil's Advocate on using technology.

For me personally I'd feel like I would find it to be robotic to use a cell phone app. I personally keep a journal to keep myself accountable and I find by writing in it I find insight on my day. Especially with reading... I can read a book a thousand times and get nothing from it. However if I write what I learn in my own words it seems to have a far better chance of sticking and going from consciously skilled to unconsciously skilled.
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#3
This is a very interesting subject. I also try to track habits and not break the chain, but admittedly it is hard sometimes. I use excel and just a written to do list weekly and I agree it is not ideal. I'll def check out that app you recommend. It's also very good to announce your challenges or intentions with certain goals and even better if you have some accountability as in reporting on it with friends or making some kind of competition out of it.

What helped me a good amount in terms of getting the right mindstate was the book called: "Breaking out of Homeostasis" by Ludvig Sunstrom. Really nails it in terms of why you need to make good habits, what factors are limiting your potential and how to overcome barriers to become a better person.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Breaking-out-Ho...B077ZZ1DK2
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#4
(05-01-2020, 08:15 PM)RIslander Wrote: I think this is a good idea for a thread but I'm going to play Devil's Advocate on using technology.

For me personally I'd feel like I would find it to be robotic to use a cell phone app. I personally keep a journal to keep myself accountable and I find by writing in it I find insight on my day. Especially with reading... I can read a book a thousand times and get nothing from it. However if I write what I learn in my own words it seems to have a far better chance of sticking and going from consciously skilled to unconsciously skilled.

This is an interesting question to ask. How do we improve knowledge retention? Writing things down can be useful but it depends on each person. You need to find some way to create a knowledge base that can supplement your own brain which is fallible. A hard thing to do and something we never really learn in school. I'm sure technology will one day step in and provide better ways to do so. For now you can opt for an old school library where you take notes and stuff, you can use things like OneNote, I'm sure there are other ways that could work.
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#5
I'd like to contribute my to-do list setup to this thread as I find it works very well for someone like me that struggles with ADHD and getting things done. I absolutely hating trying to track or manage todo lists on my phone, it may just be a mental thing. I also can never find myself to keep to writing in journal or something like about my day.

What works for me is I buy these little notebooks. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07WHW...UTF8&psc=1

Whenever I start a new book I go through and title every single page on the header the date (5-3) in the middle and on the upper right the day (sun). A pain to do upfront but it pays off as it allows you to write tasks for future days if you need to or appointments. That gives me 20 lines to write shit I need to get done on paper so its not just wasting its time in my ADHD riddled head, never to see the light of day.

The system is simple and easy to use. 20 lines a page, one task per line. When you finish a task you cross it out. the book has a strap to hold a pen on its side.  At the end of the day you rip the front page out and transfer all tasks you haven't finished to the next fresh page for tomorrow. I'm not keeping a diary here, I'm keeping a to-do list, what we did yesterday doesn't matter because its done, what matters is what we have to do tomorrow.

Granted like with all things in life, I get in lulls where I'll stop using the book and I don't really get much accomplished, then I find it and remember the brilliance it brings to my life and get back into it and it is a night and day difference being able to have a list I write down of tasks I need to accomplish and being able to cross them off and then toss that page out to tackle the next day. Its worth giving a shot if you haven't tried it before.


As far as habit trackers go, I have used paper ones before and they do help me when again I actually devote the time to using them. My sister makes them and sells them so I have one here for christmas but I haven't used it this year and I've been sick with mono for over a month now so nothing has been getting done, but I do plan to bust it out soon and start filling it out so I can get back on track as I start to recover hopefully here soon.
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#6
Wanted to add an example of what I meant. Since I've just moved and have been sick with mono for over a month, most of my stuff is still moving related on my list, otherwise it'll focus on more work/random stuff. At the end of the day the page is torn out so tomorrows is right there when you open the book, with anything not crossed out transferred to the next day. The goal always being to one day have an empty page, never seems to happen though since you're always adding things. 

Its not the most amazing system or anything but its extremely simple and it works. 

   
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#7
I keep a simple Excel spreadsheet to track my habits. The desired habits in the first column, days of the month in the other columns. Then I color each cell green or red, depending on whether I stuck to the habit on that day or not. At the end of the month I have a good overview of how well I executed new habits and which habits I need to work more on.

I usually color the cells and track my activity at the end of the day or in the morning when I stack multiple habits. Example: as soon as I wake up, I get a cup of coffee. That coffee is the trigger for my first habit (reading 30mins). Finishing my reading triggers the next habit (reading my goals for the month) and so on.  That way, I can tick off multiple habits in the morning (usually I move the most important habits I'd like to establish to the morning) and tracking everything in my Excel sheet tells me exactly what habits are left to do.
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#8
Once you build up consistency, habits become really easy to maintain & give you a ton of benefits. The time is gonna pass anyway, but the difference is that in like 1-2 years you could be really good at something new, way stronger, have a side business, etc.

As for tracking apps, I'm a simple guy so I keep it really bare bones & just use a Google Keep Notes checklist that gets ticked through the day & un-ticked at night.

Some tips:
- I find it really helpful to know exactly how long a habit will take. Starting is usually the hardest part, but if you know it'll be over in a few minutes it's way easier to do it. E.g. I do some kettlebell swings everyday. Sometimes I don't want to, but I know it'll only take 3 minutes tops.
- Don't break the chain. If you keep missing days, you should make the habit much easier or see if it even fits in your life.
- Start with mini-habits, especially for shit you hate. You'll naturally do more if you see how it benefits you.
- That said, avoid adding habits for the sake of habits. If it doesn't align with some overarching goal, then forget it. You should know exactly why you've picked up a habit & what you can expect a year from now.

I keep my habit list grouped up. I have: 1. Morning routine stuff like some light exercise & meditation, 2. Exercise stuff like sets & reps. 3. Work stuff. Best practices & things I want to focus on improving.

Not for everybody, but I journal work stuff & over time it helps me notice opportunities, catch mistakes, and press areas where I have a big advantage. This is an amazing habit & borderline required for some careers. The more autonomy & the more leverage can be applied to your decisions, the more you should journal about work. E.g. Sales, coding, business, anything finance, anything art, you want to be journaling & thinking about it as much as possible because you'll spot improvements left & right.

Lastly, throw in some fun habits as well. We usually think of habits in terms of work or delayed gratification, but there's no reason you can't make a habit of catching up with friends/family or things like that. On my end, I take a Sunday every month to do something new. This month has a G Manifesto theme so I'll swim in the ocean, try some cigars, and find a new whiskey + catch up with friends & whatever else I can do with this corona going around. It's an extra thing to look forward to.
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#9
Another step for integrating habits is ensuring they do not conflict with your other daily routines. Based on research, here are some ideal ways to plan out your workouts, eating, and sleeping:

1+ hour wait after snack/small meal before workout

2+ hour wait after large meal before workout

1+ hour wait after eating before nap
2+ hour wait after eating before sleeping for the evening

6-8 hours between training sessions when working out 2x a day

12+ hours between dinner and breakfast (people doing Intermittent Fasting would obviously push this further)

No screens (smartphone, computer, etc.) 1-3 hours before sleeping.


Note: I find the "no screens" timing to generally be the most difficult. However this can be crucial for proper deep sleep, focus, stress, etc.
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#10
^ A good habit in that same vein for me has been "1+ hour wait in the morning before eating a real meal"

Often when you wake up you think that you're starving and tired, though in reality you're just dehydrated. I've gotten into the habit of drinking a big glass of cold water right after waking up. It not only makes me feel more energized, but also helps avoid eating right away. Nowadays I usually wait until a few hours after waking up before eating a real meal, which becomes like built-in intermittent fasting.
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#11
(05-21-2020, 04:51 AM)Dali Wrote: Often when you wake up you think that you're starving and tired, though in reality you're just dehydrated. I've gotten into the habit of drinking a big glass of cold water right after waking up. 

Agreed, I have a similar approach. In fact, I've found you can improve upon this with a few small additions from this article by the late Charles Poliquin:

"...drinking a glass of water with lime and salt upon waking up.

It is a very effective trick that improves 3 major body systems in one sweeping gesture. In fact, it will positively impact digestion, as well as adrenal function and detoxification pathways."

This is the recipe:

– ¼ Tsp. Colored Salt
– A shot of lemon or lime juice
– A glass of water — ideally filtered


https://medium.com/@StrengthSensei/drink...e5b2766cdf
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#12
(05-21-2020, 04:49 PM)LeBeau Wrote:
(05-21-2020, 04:51 AM)Dali Wrote: Often when you wake up you think that you're starving and tired, though in reality you're just dehydrated. I've gotten into the habit of drinking a big glass of cold water right after waking up. 

Agreed, I have a similar approach. In fact, I've found you can improve upon this with a few small additions from this article by the late Charles Poliquin:

"...drinking a glass of water with lime and salt upon waking up.

It is a very effective trick that improves 3 major body systems in one sweeping gesture. In fact, it will positively impact digestion, as well as adrenal function and detoxification pathways."

This is the recipe:

– ¼ Tsp. Colored Salt
– A shot of lemon or lime juice
– A glass of water — ideally filtered


https://medium.com/@StrengthSensei/drink...e5b2766cdf

Some "experts" would recommend adding apple cider vinegar to the mix above for further health benefits:

https://youtu.be/qTzxfoL82n8
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