I’ve Tracked My Habits for Three Years

This is what I’ve learned

Kolina Cicero


Photo by Lena Mytchyk on Unsplash

In the fall of 2019, I was gifted a beautiful journal. Beyond the allure of a cloth-bound notebook and a fancy pen to use with it, I was sucked into the journal the way I get sucked into a good story: passionately, obsessively. It was a habit-tracking journal, and every single day since I opened the notebook up, nearly three years ago, I have tracked my habits.

Why? Well, first, why not? And second, because we’re only given so much time to make a difference, achieve our goals, and spend time doing the things we love — and I want to make sure I’m actively working toward those aspirations. It took tracking my habits to understand that I wasn’t working as hard toward my goals as I’d thought. It made me realize the discrepancy between what I thought I spent my time doing and what I actually spent it doing. This was a slap in the face, I’ll be honest. But a good kind; more like a loving nudge from a wise elder.

If habit tracking is a new concept for you, here’s a brief overview of how it works:

(For a more comprehensive explanation, click here for my original article explaining how it’s changed my life.)


On one axis, write out the habits you’d like to track. When you’re just starting out, it’s all about becoming aware of what your current habits are so that you can adjust as you wish. List every habit you can think of, including both positive and negative habits. Here’s a general idea of habits you could track:

  • Exercising
  • No phone an hour after waking up
  • No phone an hour before bed
  • Reading
  • No social media
  • Walking
  • Studying (insert language or skill you want to learn)
  • Meditating
  • Spending time outside
  • Watching TV
  • Device-free time with family

A note on wording: If you have a habit you’d like to quit, like nail biting, for example, you could list your habit as No Nail Biting or Nail Biting-Free. I’ll get to how to…