Habit Tracking And Bullet Journaling — Organization And Motivation All In One

  We all have habits we want to make or break — but sometimes it seems like those habits are determined to make or break us!   Seriously, for every person who tells me that it just takes twenty-one days to form a good habit, I want to remind them that it seems to take only one to lose it again!   But how long it takes to form a good habit, or break a bad one, really depends on the person. Some of us are go-getters, and really only need to work on our motivation. Some of us take more along the lines of two and a half months to really ingrain something in our daily lives.   And some of us constantly look for habit-making/breaking hacks to help us form the habit and get on with our lives, already!   That’s where habit tracking comes in.  

What Exactly Is Habit Tracking?

  Habit tracking is a simple matter of doing exactly what it sounds like: tracking your habits.   Of course, a habit tracker looks different for different people. A simple variation is just a matter of crossing days off on a calendar.   If you want to use something a little more upscale and high tech, there are tons of apps that were developed purposefully to assist habit-seeking individuals to actually stick to their commitments. Apps can be particularly useful because they are often designed, in themselves, to be habit-forming. So even if the habits that you’re tracking are elusive, you may very well be motivated to keep track of just how badly you’re doing at it.   The science behind the development of habit-tracking apps is pretty fascinating. They’re designed to help us to remember to pursue our goals, keep track of how far we’ve come, and even to reward us for following through. If you’re interested in using a virtual habit-tracker, it’s definitely worth checking out some of the top recommendations.   But not all habit trackers are created equal. While a sleek app may be ideal for some, what if one of the habits you want to break is the all-too-common habit of checking your phone every five minutes? Downloading an extra app is not going to help with that.   Fortunately, there are even more hands-on habit tracking ideas than there are apps.  And the best party about them is that you get to create it! That means everything is exactly how you like it, and you can throw in some cool themes. Here are just a few examples of what you can do with your habit tracker.

Circular Habit Tracker

Minimalist Habit Tracker

Mini Habit Tracker

Themed Habit Tracker

Simple Habit Tracker

Check out fifty of the best habit tracker ideas for bullet journaling here

  And, of course, remember that it may take anywhere from eighteen days to two and a half months to really develop your habit tracking habit!

Is Habit Tracking Effective?

  Habit tracking is a popular trend these days — but is it actually effective?   Let’s face it, we already have a seemingly inborn tendency to want to quantify ourselves. We compete with ourselves (and others), use our statistics and demographics to identify ourselves — you could argue that we have an automatic yen for keeping track of all the minutiae that makes up our day to day lives. Even identifying how much of a routine our routine actually falls under habit tracking.   So it certainly isn’t going against the grain to introduce tracking into your life.   As with most endeavors, the effectiveness really depends on how much effort you are willing to put into it to begin with. If you want to get fit, you have to be willing to eat right and exercise regularly. If you want to learn a language, you have to be willing to practice your pronunciation and learn a new vocabulary. And if you want to get the most benefit from habit tracking, you must be willing to commit to whatever it takes in order to complete the habit on a daily basis and check off the box that says you did it.   But people form habits in different ways — so this is certainly a case of “your mileage may vary.”    In Better Than Before, writer/researcher/habitual habit-investigator Gretchen Rubin posits that there are four basic types that people fall into when they are trying to pick up a habit.
  • Upholders: This type of person is self-disciplined. They respond to expectations on both external and internal levels and find motivation through themselves and others.
  • Obligers: This type of person is definitely not self-disciplined, but finds motivation through making commitments to and finding encouragement from others.
  • Questioners: This type needs to find a logical reason to do something, like building a habit, in order to follow through. Once they find that logical basis, they can succeed at their goal.
  • Rebels: This last type is much like what they sound like — they have to set the goal without involvement from outside sources because they don’t like to be told what to do. 
  Those four types make it pretty clear that whether a habit tracker will work depends on you as an individual — as well as where the suggestion for the habit and the tracking comes from, your own motivation or lack thereof, and other external and internal factors.   So — does habit tracking work?   Sure! Sometimes. Depending on who you are.   The point is, much like with the act of forming a habit itself, habit tracking requires a commitment in order to be counted a success.   Although, I suppose if you completely fail at maintaining and updating your habit tracker, that’s still keeping track — by default.  

Okay, So How Do You Combine Habit Tracking With Bullet Journaling?

  Bullet journaling is also a pretty big deal these days — as you know since you’re here. One of the many things that it is prized for is its ability to enable and streamline a workable organizational system.   (That, and the fact that it gives us all an excuse to buy lots of cool pens.)   Habit tracking and bullet journaling is a way to have the best of both worlds: it’s ideal for combining your organization and your motivation all in one. Habit tracking can easily be included in your daily bullet journals. And the two dovetail nicely, in that they really help with the formation of daily habits!   We already linked to the article that discusses a variety of habit tracking/bullet journaling ideas. A good suggestion would be to try different options out to see which one works the best for you and your habits — both the ones you’ve already formed and the ones you want to work on.   Ultimately, it comes back down to you and your motivation. But both bullet journaling and habit tracking are recognized to be beneficial to those willing to commit to them — so our advice is not to let anything stand in your way!  


  1. Great suggestions. I am trying to create a couple new habits around health and fitness and tracking helps. I use the 3 & 3 principle for my goals: if I can do something for three weeks, it starts a good habit. If I can keep it up for three months, it’s more likely the habit will stick.

  2. Hello! I love your way of simplifying things for beginners. But just a request. Can you tell some monthly spreads based on constellations, zodiac, stars? because I think people usually create journals based on autumn, blossoms, leaves, cartoons, travel, coffee, etc. but usually these are missed out. And even if there some layouts they are hardly understandable by me. so it is my request to you if you could please post these layouts.

    1. Author

      Hey! Thank you for your suggestion! I will look into this and see if I can find some inspiration to share with you. Thanks for your comment!

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