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How to create habits that actually stick

Updated: Jun 24, 2023

Did you start 2022 with a New Years Resolutions? How many actually did stick until the end of the year?

BU_BeeHappy 2023 Habit Tracker
BU_BeeHappy 2023 Habit Tracker

I never made actual New Years resolutions before 2022. Of course, at New Years Eve I thought the common "I will go to the gym more often", "I want to travel more", "I want to get better at xzy". But I never set them as fixed goals. I said it more like wishes instead of goals. Therefore I tended to not realize the things that I wanted to achieve. This year it will be different, I decided.

Taking time during the holiday season, I wrote down what I had achieved in 2021 and also what I wanted to achieve in 2022. The same I did again this year for 2023. Some points are destinations that I want to visit but others are activities that I want to turn into habits to improve myself.

In order to hold myself accountable for sticking to my goals, I created my own habit tracker and hung it in my office clearly visible on my white board. The tracker lists fitness goals, like yoga, mobility and strength training, cardio and also other goals, like studying, leisure reading, flossing, self-care, etc. Some of these continue from 2022 into 2023 and others are additional goals.

This technique helped me in 2022 to actually adhere to those new habits and stick with them. Am I 100% perfect at adhering to my plan and schedule? Realistically, no. But I keep trying to adhere to it the best I can. And isn't that what counts? Practice and not perfect.

What is a habit?

A habit is a routine or behavior that is repeated regularly. At a certain point might even happen automatic or unconsciously. These can be positive or negative.

To just name a few, brushing your teeth before bed, drinking coffee in the morning or smoking can be a habit.

How to form a habit

To form an activity into a habit the key is to repeat the action over a long time. No-one can say how long it will exactly take for each person. But I keep finding the recommendation of 3 to 4 weeks for daily routines to really stick.

Start small, make it easy, keep reminding yourself, stay consistent, celebrate achievements,...

How to remind yourself

a) visual daily reminders

Add notes, pictures or habit trackers visibly to your daily routine. These can be on the mirror, monitor or fridge.

My recommendation, if it's notes or pictures change or move them from time to time or you will go blind and not see them anymore. They become decoration without an effect. Been there, done that.

b) digital reminder

If paper reminder are not your thing, maybe you are traveling a lot or it may be not daily but weekly or monthly habits, digital reminder could work better for you.

Reminder or calendar entries in your phone can help to indicate the habit at your chosen dates and times of the day.

There are also habit tracker apps which allow you to visualize your progress.

Habit trackers

As previously mentioned there are habit trackers that don't just remind you but allow you to track your progress. It is encouraging to see the progress and rewarding to cross off when you've done an activity. These little rewards will make it easier to keep going and for the habit to stick.

Habit tracker apps are one option. Searching through the AppStore you will find many of them.

There are also habit tracker desk stands, calendars with appealing designs, wall posters, and so much more. I don't want to make advertisement, therefore I won't add links. I just scrolled through a huge variety on Amazon and Etsy and I had seen some in book stores. Soooo many to choose from.

But I personally created my own printable monthly tracker. I just prefer to be able to write on them. Feel free to download and use it. There are also calendars/ planners that already include habit trackers.

There are so many options. You just need to find the best version that works for you and your daily routines. This tracker is for you and you only. So create it the way you want it to.

Here are a few examples that I found to give you some ideas:

BU_BeeHappy Tracker:

2023 BU_BeeHappy Habit Tracker
Download PDF • 172KB

Further ideas:

and of course:

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