Use this effective tool to monitor your progress
Written by James Clear, author of Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones
"Elite performers will often measure, quantify, and track their progress in various ways. Each little measurement provides feedback. It offers a signal of whether they are making progress or need to change course.
Habit tracking is powerful for three reasons:
It creates a visual cue that can remind you to act.
It is motivating to see the progress you are making. You don't want to break your streak.
It feels satisfying to record your success in the moment.
Benefit #1: A habit tracker reminds you to act.
Habit tracking naturally builds a series of visual cues. When you look at the calendar and see your streak, you’ll be reminded to act again.
Research has shown that people who track their progress on goals like losing weight, quitting smoking, and lowering blood pressure are all more likely to improve than those who don’t. One study of more than sixteen hundred people found that those who kept a daily food log lost twice as much weight as those who did not.
A habit tracker is a simple way to log your behavior, and the mere act of tracking a behavior can spark the urge to change it.
Habit tracking also keeps you honest. Most of us think we act better than we do. Measurement offers one way to overcome our blindness to our own behavior and notice what’s really going on each day. When the evidence is right in front of you, you’re less likely to lie to yourself.
Benefit #2: A habit tracker motivates you to continue.
The most effective form of motivation is progress. When we get a signal that we are moving forward, we become more motivated to continue down that path. In this way, habit tracking can have an addictive effect on motivation. Each small win feeds your desire.
This can be particularly powerful on a bad day. When you’re feeling down, it’s easy to forget about all the progress you have already made. Habit tracking provides visual proof of your hard work—a subtle reminder of how far you've come.
Plus, the empty square you see each morning can motivate you to get started because you don't want to lose your progress by breaking your streak.
Benefit #3: A habit tracker provides immediate satisfaction.
Finally, tracking feels rewarding. It is satisfying to cross an item off your to-do list, to complete an entry in your workout log, or to mark an X on the calendar. It feels good to watch your results grow and if it feels good, then you’re more likely to endure.
Habit tracking also helps keep your eye on the ball: you’re focused on the process rather than the result.
You’re not fixated on getting six-pack abs, you’re just trying to keep the streak alive and become the type of person who doesn’t miss workouts."
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