Goal Tracking & Habit Creating

Goal Tracking & Habit Creating


Goal Tracking Spreadsheet

Last month I wrote about creating goals based on values and tracking goals weekly to form habits. I am putting that into practice. I have already created several habits after starting this process in July. Get your own Goal Tracking Spreadsheet for Google Docs.

forming a habit based on values and goal tracking
When tracking goals, this is a good sign you’ve formed a habit.

Successfully Created Habits

After a mere two months of weekly goal tracking, I already have successfully formed some habits.

Don’t Leave Dishes in the Sink Overnight
This was a great way for me to re-frame “clean the kitchen” or “wash the dishes every day”. My intention always was to wash the dishes every day. But then I would get tired and say “I’ll do them in the morning.” In the morning I wouldn’t have time and would say “I’ll do them after work.” Then, “I’ll do them after dinner.” Until it got to a point that just the thought of “doing the dishes” became a huge looming chore that I would actually dread. Making it even harder to motivate myself to wash them. And of course the longer they sit in the sink, the more difficult (and gross) the chore becomes. Simply giving myself a daily dead-line to do dishes has worked wonders. After two months of this, the thought of leaving dishes in the sink makes me anxious, in a good way. I am no longer tracking this. Hopefully, without tracking it, I can keep up the habit.

Floss Nightly
Okay, flossing was something I consistently did every day for a very long time. Then one time I went to the dentist and told him that I got my then-boyfriend into the habit of flossing. I thought that a dentist would be happy about that. But he replied, “Oh, do you floss each other?” And it was such an awkward response. And a gross thing to think about. And then I wondered if there were some flossing fetishists out there. And then I just stopped flossing altogether. Thanks a lot Mr. Dentist! But, I’m powering through that weird imagery and am now back to flossing every night before bed. I’ve stopped tracking and am still doing well. Now it actually feels weird if I go to bed without flossing.

Eat 1 Fruit or Vegetable A Day
This was a way for me to stay aware of what I’m eating throughout the day. To make sure I’m eating “healthy”. I generally do eat a fruit or vegetable a day, anyway. But making sure I did is pretty helpful. I took this off at the beginning of the month and it’s going well.

Hoping to form new habits based on weekly goal tracking.
Hoping to form new habits based on weekly goal tracking.

Works in Progress

Running 4 Times a Week
Ideally, I want to consistently run 4 times a week. I’ve made my reachable goal, for now, at 3 times. But I haven’t been able to nail this every week. I hadn’t realized just how inconsistent I am. I really don’t know what else to do. I even created a schedule so I would know what I’m doing for each work out. But sometimes I just don’t have the motivation. Or I come up with an excuse. I don’t want to give myself the goal of 4 times a week until I can consistently do 3. I’m keeping this for another month. But on the plus-side, even when I’m not running, I have been using the 10lb dumbbells I bought. It’s not much but at least it’s something.

Buy Groceries More
I have several related goals under the value of both saving money and eating better. I want to cook more homemade meals. And I want to try new recipes. But at the core of all of that, is grocery shopping. When I think about why I eat out, it’s because I don’t have groceries in the house. And I don’t want to buy groceries. Or I’m too tired. Or the store is too far. Whatever excuse I can make. The limiting factor is not having groceries. Or the right groceries. So I’ve taken to meal planning again. I’ve also decided that in order to successfully cook at home, I need to buy groceries twice a week. I end up running out of produce by Thursday then I just eat out until I go shopping again on Sunday. That doesn’t make sense. It’s wasteful of money. Isn’t good food. And means I’m not cooking when I should be. It’s also not healthy as some days I would eat popcorn for dinner (then wake up starving and feeling ill). I have been successful at this so far but will continue tracking throughout September.

Call Family
I used to track the goal of “email one close friend” a month. But now I do that regularly. I don’t even think about it. But calling family is harder. Most don’t email. And texts don’t quite always work. I really want to stay in contact with some of my family members better. And calling seems necessary. If I can just do this once a week, I’ll feel like I’m following my value of maintaining solid relationships.

Don’t forget to get your own version of the Goal Tracking Spreadsheet on Google Docs so you can start forming habits and live a life based on values.


10 Replies to “Goal Tracking & Habit Creating”

  1. I forgot to tell you that I really liked this idea of tracking and I have been starting to do it, too! I even feel a bit Leslie-like in that I bought a paper planner and have been writing things in there. (It’s been helping a lot to have something tangible, I don’t know why). Anyway, I have a weekly chart in there that looks very similar to your Google doc, just in paper format! :) Yay!

    This week I am tracking my pills every night (I’m not as good at remembering these as my morning pills), reading daily (which if I just crack the cover of a book it counts), and programming in a new language I’m learning 3x for 20 minutes.

    1. I am so proud of you! And that makes me very happy to hear! Congrats, it sounds like you have some well-defined goals that will really help you form some great habits. Also love that you’re using pen/paper! Sometimes it can really help being able to see your goal list at all times!

    1. Doing them every night has definitely made them into less of a chore. I’ve also bought a few things to make it easier, like those yellow rubber gloves. I totally feel like a housewife but it really makes washing dishes much less miserable.

      1. I discovered dishwands when doing the dishes at my brother’s apartment. They’re awesome! Keeps your hands out of the worst of the water/grossness and you never have to stop to add more soap (ok, you very occasionally have to add more soap, like every few weeks).

        1. I can’t remember why I stopped using them but I know there was a specific reason. It is nice that your hands aren’t in the mess of things though. With the gloves, I also like that I can use the hottest water which makes me feel like things are “cleaner”.

  2. I like the spreadsheet idea! BTW the flossing thing is weird! I don’t even like when they do my teeth at the dentist office, but I agree it’s a good habit to get into. Some of my goals would be practicing the uke daily (I do this about 5-6 days a week now so not too bad), doing a morning meditation or qi gong or thai chi, and maybe some daily ab work since I tend to avoid that area because it’s my weakest.

    1. Adding something specific like “ab work” is a good idea rather than just “working out”. I think I’m going to take that suggestion because putting down “running” just isn’t really helpful for me. Focusing on a small exercise that I can do at home sounds more manageable! Plus usually once you’re doing one exercise, you’ll probably continue on to do a few others.

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