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Want to get organized and start tracking things in your bullet journal or planner but need ideas? Find out what a habit is, how to set up a bullet journal habit tracker, and find amazing layouts and ideas for what habits to track (with pictures) …
What is a habit?
Did you know that about 40% of everything you do every day is habit?
This means you often just do the same thing you did last time and the time before that, without thinking about it. Why do we work like this? Because it saves time and energy.
Do you think about brushing your teeth every morning or do you just do it? If you just do it without thinking about it, then it’s most likely a habit.
Habits are good because we don’t have to think about everything we do. Imagine if you had to decide to shower, to brush your teeth, to get dressed and to make coffee every time you woke up – you’d become exhausted before you even left the house.
But sometimes we want to start a good habit, improve the habits we already have (how about flossing before that morning brush), or break a bad habit we already have. That’s when a habit tracker comes in very handy.
How long does it take to change a habit?
According to James Clear, author of the New York Times bestseller Atomic Habits, the latest research tells us that:
‘On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.’
So, if you’re habit tracking to break a bad habit or start a good habit, give it at least 2 to 8 months to become a new automatic behavior for you before giving up.
What is a habit tracker?
A habit tracker tracks a habit or several habits to save you time, save you energy, and help you make some real changes in your life.
You use your habit tracker to log your activities in one place and can quickly see how you are doing over time, just by looking at your tracker. No more trying to remember if you went to gym three times last week or walked the dog yesterday because it’s all in your tracker! Didn’t do those things? Then you know where you’re struggling and where you need to put systems in place to do better.
You can track anything you want, such as your moods, your savings, your health, your water intake – if you can do it more than once then you can probably keep track of it.
How do you use a habit tracker?
Decide which habits you want to track and how often.
You can log your habits daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, or anything in between. You also need to choose how you want to keep track of them. For example, you could color in a block every time you exercise to see how many sessions you do each week in a weekly tracker.
You will need a habit tracker layout to get started. You can buy printable habit trackers, or you can create your own in a notebook, planner, spreadsheet, or bullet journal. I’ll give you some great examples of bullet journal habit trackers in a moment.
Keeping track of your habits can motivate you to make real changes in your life, just remember to give it enough time to become an automatic behavior.
How do you create a bullet journal habit tracker?
Here are 5 simple steps to create your own bullet journal habit tracker:
Decide which habits you want to track. Check the lists of habit tracker ideas below to help you choose what to track.
It’s best to track one habit in a spread of keep similar habit trackers together, for example your spending tracker, saving tracker and income tracker together, if you want to focus on tracking your money and finances.
Decide how often you want to track these habits. Do you want to see how you do daily, weekly, or monthly?
Your spending tracker will need to track daily spending, but your saving and income trackers could be monthly layouts if you only save and get money in once a month.
Get your supplies. You will need a bullet journal with thick paper, so the ink doesn’t bleed through, pens, highlighters, stencils, a ruler, washi tape, and anything else you want to use to create your tracker. You can choose a minimalist theme or go to town with a fun theme like coffee or Friends, depending on how much time you have and how creative you feel.
You can also print these free dot grid papers and use them to create your habit tracker layouts – use the dots on the papers to draw lines and create a balanced layout. There are different paper sizes available for you to choose from.
Create a layout for your habit trackers. There are nearly 200 bullet journal habit tracker ideas below to choose from.
Choose any layout you like and adapt it to the habit you want to track. Just make sure you can somehow record whenever you do the activity you want to track. For example, for a spending tracker you want enough space for the date and to write how much you spent on what. But for the monthly saving tracker you can prefill the months of the year and just write in how much you saved that month.
Now you can start keeping track of your habits and enjoy being organized!
Single- and double-page spreads
You will need to decide if you want your tracker to be a single-page or a double-page spread. A single-page spread is on one page, while a double-page spread is over two pages next to each other.
The more information you want to track, the more space you’ll probably need. Below are some examples of single-page spreads and double-page spreads. Next, we’ll look at how often you want to track your habit so you can choose between one or two pages.
Examples of single-page habit tracker layouts
Examples of double-page habit tracker layouts
Mini habit trackers
Trackers don’t always have to fill a page or a double-page spread.
You may want a few small trackers on the same page or to fit an extra tracker in a space that’s open somewhere. These cute habit trackers are called ‘mini habit trackers’.
Here are some examples of mini trackers:
Daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly habit trackers
When we say a ‘daily tracker’ we mean a tracker that you fill in daily. A weekly tracker is filled in every week, a monthly tracker every month, and a yearly tracker could be once a year or every six months for medium-term goals.
We spoke a bit about how often to track your habits at the beginning of this post. You need to decide how often you want to mark off an activity based on what makes the most sense. You may want to track how many glasses of water you drink every day, so you will use a daily tracker. But if you want to know how much you’ve saved for your vacation each month, then a monthly tracker will be fine.
I’ve put together some examples of daily, weekly, monthly and yearly trackers so you can see what others do with their layouts and choose one that appeals to you:
Examples of daily habit tracker layouts
Here are some examples of daily habit trackers:
Examples of weekly habit tracker layouts
Here are some examples of weekly habit trackers:
Examples of monthly habit tracker layouts
Here are some examples of monthly habit trackers:
Examples of yearly habit tracker layouts
Here are some examples of annual habit trackers and ‘year in pixels’:
Popular shapes in habit trackers to track information
There are some popular shapes that crop up in many trackers. Take a look at the collection of shapes below to see what appeals to you and what might work best in your habit trackers:
Hearts are always popular in bullet journals and on social media (find out what the different color heart emojis really mean). These are good for tracking things that are emotional for you, such as your moods, things you love, and anything for Valentine or a wedding.
You can get many free heart coloring pages to use in your bullet journal right HERE. Resize these hearts, cut them out, paste them into your tracker, then color them in when tracking your habits.
Here are some pretty hearts that feature in bullet journal habit trackers:
Squares / blocks
Squares and blocks are great for tracking simple activities that you either do or don’t do. These are more for ‘yes, I did it’ or ‘no, I didn’t do it’ habits.
For example, use squares and blocks to track how many hours you study a day (color in one block per study hour), if you cleaned the house (color in a block for yes or leave it blank for no), etc. A very popular bullet journal block layout is something called ‘Year in pixels’, where you track many habits daily for a year – there are examples of this by the yearly trackers above.
Squares and blocks look good in minimalist layouts and if you don’t want to fuss too much, though adding some color or a cute doodle around the edges can make your page a lot prettier. Use them to create tables, where you can track a lot of information in a small amount of space.
Here are some examples of squares and blocks in bullet journal layouts:
Triangles can be used to show hierarchy, with the least important or the most work at the bottom and the highest and most important peak at the top of the triangle. Triangles also bring a different look and feel to the bujo layout, a more magical and motivational vibe.
Here are some bullet journalers who have found ways to use triangles in the tracker layouts:
Circles, like hearts, can bring a fun, freeing, and more personalized feeling to your trackers. You can use circles in mind maps, doodles, to color in, and so many other ways.
Circle templates come in different sizes, so your imagination is the only limit! Draw circles inside bigger circles to create tracker wheels or use circle templates to create bubbles for information.
You don’t even have to stick to full circles – half circles work well and give a three-dimensional feel to the page when used around the borders.
Here’s a collection of circles from bullet journal layouts, to inspire your next layout:
Who doesn’t love honey? Well, honeycombs can be in your bullet journal layouts!
These 6-sided shapes are called hexagons. Use them in large or small tracker layouts, with many together or on their own to make the layout more interesting than using traditional squares or circles.
Here’s a great example of a honeycomb bullet journal layout:
Ways to track habits
There are endless ways to track your habits and it’s impossible to list all the options here. The fun thing about bullet journals is that you can create it however you want so it works well for you.
We’ve covered different shapes and how often to track a habit, so I thought I’d give you some more layout ideas on how to keep track of habits…
Table layouts to fill in
Here are some table layouts to inspire you, if you choose to use blocks and squares in your layout:
Doodles and pictures to color in
Here are some doodle and picture layouts to inspire you, if you choose to use drawings and coloring in layouts:
You don’t have to use shapes and order in your layouts. Fee free to create a pretty double-page spread with hanging items! Hang mood trackers, gift lists, plants, stars, you name it from the top of the page, then color or fill them in.
Here are some samples of hanging items in bullet journal tracker layouts:
Graphs aren’t just for boring math homework. Use bar charts, line graphs and more to track your habits over time. Want some inspiration? Then check out the collection of bullet journal layouts below…
Mind maps / decision trees / brain dumps
Sometimes we need to create our layout without restrictions, in a more freeform style. This helps when we need to brainstorm or come up with creative ideas. There’s always space for mind map, decision tree or brain dump in a bullet journal. After all, it’s our bullet journal and it’s there to serve us.
Here’s a great example of a worry tree, to help with worry and anxiety…
Lists to highlight
Another way to track habits is to create lists and highlight items as you get them done. This doesn’t have to be boring chores or to-do lists; it can also be fun things like Disney movies to watch and how many hours of beauty sleep you get a night…
Use washi tape
Washi tape can add a fun, colorful element to your habit trackers! Just create a key for the different washi tapes you have (showing what each washi tape design means), then stick washi tape directly into your trackers…
What habits should you track?
You can track any habits that you want to form and any habits that you want to break. You can track habits for your studies, your health, your home, your family, your money, and even your pets.
The best place to start is with a habit that will make the biggest difference in your life, or one that is causing you a lot of frustration.
For example, you find your health really suffers and you feel terrible emotionally when you don’t exercise daily. Because this makes you feel bad and frustrated, it’s a good place to start a tracker.
You could start by tracking how often you exercise to see when and why you’re missing training sessions. You might be surprised to see how many training sessions you’re missing and put a plan in place to make it to more sessions.
Need habit tracker ideas? Here are nearly 200 habit tracker ideas for you to choose from…
Health habit tracker ideas
- Medication tracker
- Vitamin intake
- Sleep hours
- Water tracker
- Mental health
- Weight loss
- Healthy foods eaten
- Meal plan
- Recipes to try
- Favorite recipes
- Allergies and symptoms
- Shopping list
- Vegetable servings
- Fruit servings
- Period and ovulation
- No sugar
- No smoking
- No caffeine
- Body measurements
- Daily steps
- Cooking at home
- Miles run or walked
- Symptoms tracker
Self care and personal development habit tracker ideas
- Self care activities
- ‘Less’ and ‘More’ lists (what to do less and more of)
- Gratitude list
- Time spent in nature
- In bed before …
- Mood tracker
- Time out from technology
- Goals and achievements
- Music playlists
- Learning a new language
- Bible reading
- Memory spread
- Things that make me happy
- What to do when I’m sad
- What to do when I’m anxious
- Favorite quotes (here are some good ones to start with)
- Stress-relief doodles
- Mood boards
Beauty habit tracker ideas
- Washed hair
- Deep condition
- Nail care
- Foot soak
- Wash makeup brushes
- Doctors’ appointments and schedule
- Makeup stains
Money habit tracker ideas
- Emergency fund
- Saving fund
- Debt payoff
- Extra income
- Packed lunch for work
- Compound interest
- Vacation fund
- No-spend days
- Bill tracker
- Utility tracker
- Wish list of wants and needs
- Gifts to buy or make
- Wealth tracker
Productivity habit tracker ideas
- Wake up on time
- Daily productivity sprints
- Goals and timelines
- Books to read
- Bujo keys
- Systems to save time
- Morning routine
- Evening routine
- Things to remember
- People who inspire me
- Level 10 life
- Skills to learn
- Word of the day
Blogging and business habit tracker ideas
- Social media followers
- Page views
- Editorial content schedule
- To-do list
- Writing tracker
Family habit tracker ideas
- School schedule
- After-school schedule
- Study plan
- Grades achieved
- Date nights
- Spending time together
- Restaurants to try
- People to call
- Random acts of kindness
- Pregnancy tracker
- Party planner
School habit tracker ideas
- Class schedule
- Study schedule
- Extracurricular activities
- Plans with friends
- College applications
Pet habit tracker ideas
- Dog walks
- Cleaning up after pets
- Play time
- Washing pets
- Tricks to learn
- Pet sitter details
- Vaccines and flea treatment
Fun / hobbies habit tracker ideas
- Places to visit
- Bucket list
Home and vehicle tracker ideas
- Organizing spaces
- Deep clean
- Car wash
- Car maintenance
- House maintenance projects
- Furniture dimensions
- Room measurements
- Wedding planning
Garden and outdoors habit tracker ideas
- Watering plants
- Seeds saved
- Seeds bought
- Planting schedule
- Plant care
- Mowing tracker
- Weeding tracker
- Garden layouts
- Moon phase tracker
- Weather tracker
- Rain tracker
Travel tracker ideas
Get great (free) world map coloring pages HERE. Print them out and use them in your habit tracker for the following travel tracker ideas…
- Travel planner
- Packing list
- Travel wish list
- Places visited
- Travel fund
There are hundreds of habits you can track in your bullet journal. Start by deciding if you want to track daily, weekly, or monthly, choose shapes and a layout from the collection of ideas above, then print or create your bullet journal habit tracker. You can get free dot graph paper to create your layout here, or check out the bullet journal layouts on our sister site, Printable PlayGround.