desk_calendarHave you wanted to change your behaviour, or build up a new habit so it becomes natural, or implement a new ritual, only to lose the motivation after a few days? You might be missing the tracking ingredient. This post will show you how tracking each time you’ve followed your plan in a visual way can help motivate you on your path to building a new habit or ritual.

Tracking with a simple physical desk calendar

Let’s get right into the steps to make tracking one of your productivity systems:

  1. Buy two desk calendars that show a full month and get a marker pen
  2. Leave one calendar on your desk at work (or wherever you finish your morning routine) and leave the other at home
  3. Each day after you complete your morning routine, place a dot on that day on your work calendar
  4. Do the same with your other calendar as you complete your evening routine
  5. Review how you are going as you place each dot and aim to have a full month with a dot on every day at work and home

The power of tracking on a simple desk calendar

This system achieves a number of things:

  • The calendars provide a highly visible tool so you’ll be thinking of your routines every day
  • Placing the dots on the calendar motivates you to keep building up a pattern of successes
  • Seeing many dots in a row reminds you that you’re making good use of your time and achieving your goals which adds further motivation
  • You can see when you’ve achieved consistency which is what you’re aiming for with routines; as routines only give you positive change when you achieve consistency

You may be asking yourself: Why do I need this extra reminder when my will power is so strong? Well as you’ll find out, implementing a new routine is no easy thing to do.

Implementing a new routine is not easy

Making some of the more mundane things in your life into routines and then making those routines as efficient and automated as possible so that they become rituals has many benefits to your productivity. E.g. an evening and morning routine that you execute every day will help stop you wasting time on things that aren’t important, preserve your decision making willpower and get you energetic and focussed on your most important tasks. This means you set yourself up for a productive day every day, and set yourself up to meet your longer term goals.

There are so many benefits you think it would be easy to implement because the benefits are motivation enough; however when you get a tough day and skip one step here and another there, your routine, and your goals that would benefit from that routine, falls through the cracks. It’s difficult to maintain your commitment every day for your routine to become second nature.

How do you make your routine sticky?

Relying on willpower alone is not very effective at all and will definitely not get you far in your quest to build a new routine and make it second nature. To make a routine sticky you need to write it down, have some regular trigger that reminds you it’s time to start and actively set up your environment to remove obstacles and to encourage the steps in your routine. I had acted on all these factors but still couldn’t get myself to fully execute my evening and morning routines consistently. Once I introduced the tracking element, it became much easier to see progress and this gave me the extra motivation I needed.

Tracking on your desk calendar ads that extra motivation

Seeing your progress every day and knowing that each consistent dot on the calendar one day after the other is adding up. Adding up to a huge amount of time saved over a year, a huge amount of extra creative energy harnessed over a year, a large number of extra books read over a year. Just imagine where you will be one year from now, and 5 years from now, if you implement those evening and morning routines that save you that bit of time and give you that extra focus every day. Tracking could be the missing ingredient that helps you.

What’s helped you make a new routine stick? Let us know in the comments