Habit Tracking to Build a Healthy Routine

January 16, 2024 Michaela Jarvis

I fell into habit tracking because in a world that is constantly changing, having clearly defined action steps is comforting. I’m able to trick my mind into creating a productive routine that feels more like a game than a chore. Sticking to healthy routines has a tremendously positive impact on my mental health, and it’s never been easier to do because I found a way that I enjoy. (Who doesn’t like the feeling of being able to check off boxes?)

What Is Habit Tracking and What Do I Track?

Habit tracking is exactly what it sounds like. Select a few tasks to do daily, and then track each day that they are accomplished by creating a grid or chart that labels each day of the week and the tasks selected. Progress and trends can be tracked over days, weeks, and, in my case, even years.

It’s overwhelming to decide what to track, and there are so many small habits that can improve your mental health. There are physical and nutritional goals, self-care acts, social needs, and more.

I start simple and choose tasks that will improve my headspace. I know when I don’t get enough sleep, my anxiety and depression symptoms are heightened, so I try to get at least seven hours of sleep. I know meditating helps me relax, so I track what days I meditate.

How to Habit Track

There are several ways to habit track. It can be done online, in a journal, in a spreadsheet, or whatever seems to work.

Mine is tracked online, and here’s how I have set that up:

Using Habit Tracking to Create Goals

After tracking for weeks and months, trends start to appear. As an example, let’s say I want to meditate four times a week, but I haven’t hit that goal in a month. No problem -- I will lower that goal to three times a week.

The point is to make weekly and monthly goals feel doable, not intimidating. If I start to see that I’ve hit the goal repeatedly and don’t have to put much thought into it, I’ve successfully made it part of my routine and can stop tracking. For example, I stopped tracking taking my medication when I started doing it automatically.

Things to Keep in Mind While Habit Tracking

Habit tracking should be helpful, not hurtful. It’s easy to try to take on too much, so it’s important to stick to doable tasks and focus on only a few at a time that are going to be helpful for mental illness recovery.

I miss tracking days all the time; It’s not a big deal. Sometimes, I’ll even miss weeks of tracking, and that is okay. I remind myself that this tool should be helping me recover, not making it harder, and it’s okay to take a break.

Habit tracking is a great way to feel accomplishment and pave the way to recovery, but it needs to be done in a way that is mindful and comfortable. When done successfully, it can help create a routine that makes recovery easier and more entertaining.

APA Reference
Jarvis, M. (2024, January 16). Habit Tracking to Build a Healthy Routine, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 18 from

Author: Michaela Jarvis

Michaela Jarvis is continuously on her road to self-improvement while managing bipolar disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and the life challenges that come with being in your 20s. Find Michaela on Instagram, LinkedIn, and her website.

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