Advice, Life Planning, Lifestyle, Mental Health & Wellness, Uncategorized
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Under Pressure: Forming Good Habits Healthfully

Now that we’re over a month into 2018, I wanted to talk about how the goals that we set for this year can be translated into our daily habits in a healthy and positive way.

As you know, I like to track my daily “goal” or “good” habits in my bullet journal for the entire month. I’ve found that this practice has been really helpful for keeping me on track to form those good habits that I believe will improve my personal life. But I’ve also noticed a downside to this practice as well; by tracking these habits, when I fall off the wagon even for one day I feel incredibly guilty. I’ve found that I’ve begun to pressure myself to a more negative degree on whether or not I’m making enough “improvement” through my daily habit tracker.

While I understand that one of the points of habit tracking is to keep you on track (duhh, Lauren) in making those goals into a reality, I’m not sure that it is entirely healthy. Maybe for some people they have no problem whatsoever with this tactic, but being the person that I am, I’ve found that I do. Whenever I don’t check off a day I feel like a failure. Even if I did every other thing on my tracker, if I didn’t complete just one, then I feel like I didn’t accomplish everything that I wanted to for that day.

This to me is the exact opposite of how a habit tracker is supposed to make you feel. I know that I get this reaction because I am a hardcore perfectionist, and often times that leads me to be much harder on myself about little things than I should be. My perfectionism is something that I work on all the time, and over the last two years, there has been some major improvement. But when it comes to tracking anything, whether its exercise, these habits, or whatever else, my unhealthy desire to be perfect keeps me from really reaping any benefits from the activity. I keep repeating the cycle though, tracking different things, because I like knowing how far I’ve come in that specific area; but I’ve realized now that this practice just isn’t the best for me.

So I started to think: “Is there a way for me to know how much progress I’ve made on something without it impacting me negatively?”. I’ll be honest, I’m still not entirely sure how I’m going to go about creating a system that is healthy and beneficial to me, so I still have the habit tracker for a moment. But I do have an idea or two that I’ve been thinking about to share with you in case you’ve had (or will have) the same issue as me.

The first is that I started adding a “Weekly Review” portion to my weekly bullet journal spreads (I linked it in the last post too, but if you haven’t seen my spread for February 2018 you can find it here). Here I write how I felt about the week every Sunday evening when I set up the layout for the next week’s spread; I write how I think the last week went, and whether or not I’m taking the steps needed to reach my goals.

(A little side note here: my last two weeks have not been the best for me when it comes to reaching those goals. It’s been crazy hectic with me trying to balance everything that I have to do while also maintaining a good sleep schedule, exercise, etc., which I once again stopped having. College can sometimes really kick my butt y’all.)

The second idea that I’m going to start implementing is that instead of having the monthly calendar under every habit where I tick the days off upon completion for that habit, I’m going to leave an empty space underneath each habit where I’ll chronicle my progress at the end of each week. I think that this will give me the ability to start looking at my habits and goals not as requirements that I can fail at, but more like guidelines for my daily lifestyle.

I believe that it is healthier to look at something like individual habits and day-to-day goals as more of an umbrella idea for the week rather than a specific daily task that has to be completed in order for a person to feel like they’re making improvements. By getting rid of the dates that I have to tick off and replacing them with a weekly discussion (with myself, but hey, sometimes you need to have them) will keep me on track without it being a negative practice.

I also think that having one habit for each day of the week to focus on primarily would allow me to keep my goals in focus without stressing out too much about all of them each and every day. By focusing on a goal a day for the month, by the end of it I think that each habit will be easier to do all together on a daily basis. In my bullet journal at the top of every day (where I put all my events, work assignments, and homework) I’m going to write which habit I want to make sure I focus on so that I remind myself of it without pressuring myself to do it if I can’t for any reason.

Those are all the recommendations that I have, both written for myself and for all y’all, so that I can keep up with all the goals I have without making it into a negative practice. Let me know down below in the comments what y’all do to keep track of your goal progress and if you have any other ideas about how to stay on top of self-improvement while maintaining it as a positive activity.

Over and Out,

Lauren

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