,At Accountability Works we put a strong focus on creating and tracking habits. Each of our clients has a section of their goals devoted to personal foundation – the habits or actions that help them stay energized, able to handle stress, while remaining connected and present. Everyone’s personal foundations are different. Just like some of us have morning rituals and others are creative night owls. The point is not what we choose to do to support ourselves, it’s that we do it consistently. I’m working on running consistently as I train for a half marathon, drinking plenty of water and my meditation practice. If these are areas that you are interested in as well I’ve found my favorite tools for helping me remember and track these habits.
3 Tools for Tracking Habits:
MayMyRun is a great tool for tracking your runs. I upgraded to the $5.99/month plan to create a half marathon training plan. I love that it tells me what days I need to run and for how long. There are also track days when it checks your running pace and based on how fast you can comfortably run it re-calculates your training time. That means the app is really customizing your plan to you and how you are running. Since I’ve been using this app for years I have a lot of running data in there. I can see that since I’ve started running I’ve shaved almost two-minutes per mile off my average running speed. I honestly would not have known that and have always thought of myself as a slow runner, which I still am. But going from running 11 to 12-minute miles to 9 to 10-minute miles is a huge motivator to keep training because you can see your effort creating results.
Drinking more water:
Plant Nanny is a great app if you want to drink more water but are terrible at it like me. I have had clients, who were on serious workout plans, commit to drinking as much as a gallon of water per day and I have no idea how they do it. This app reminds me to drink water by giving me a virtual plant to water. Every time I drink water, it gets watered. The plant grows and eventually you get to “plant” it in your garden. Since its silly and playful it feels like a game and my kids love it. They always want to feed my baby plant and so they encourage me to drink water too. Because I’m drinking more water, everyone else is drinking more water as well which is a nice ripple out effect.
InsightTimer is my current favorite for meditation. I like it because you can use it as a simple timer and tracker. I also like the sounds it plays to start and end your meditation practice. It has all kinds of guided meditations as well, even one’s that you can do with kids. It’s an easy way to start meditating, come back to meditating, or keep up with your practice. I find that even taking a couple minutes out of my day to meditate is always worth it. It relieves stress, improves my mental clarity, and I’m more likely to focus on my breath at other times in the day when I feel my stress level rising.
The point of sharing this is with you is to get your wheels turning about tracking habits that you want to support and how best to do it. I use the Accountability Works app to track goals, weekly commitments and habits. For more detail I keep a work diary where I track my time and write down my tasks and to-dos. I don’t feel like there is a one size fits all solution for everything nor does there need to be. It’s simply about finding smart ways to support your habits. I know that we all want to create good habits and then forgot about them because we can finally do all these great things for ourselves on autopilot. That is why I really appreciated the answer James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, gave when asked, “how long doe it take to build a habit?”
“Forever, because once you stop doing it, it’s no longer a habit.”
And that has been my experience. I have been meditating forever. But as soon as I stop, I find myself having to recommit to my practice. This has happened over and over again for the last 20 years. I’ve stopped feeling bad about that and instead looked for ways to make it easier to keep going.
We’d love to hear what habits you are working and how you make it easier for yourself to sustain them?