Habit Tracking with Bear Mindful – Developing Micro Habits to help me stay on Track with all my Projects

2020 has been a numbing year for us all. If you’re old enough to be aware of your surroundings, you just know.

My mom also passed away this year. Finding out about the cancer diagnosis to the time of her transition (Alicia Keys used this term to describe someone passing away and I loved it) was only a matter of a few months, too. Needless to say, 2020 has been rough. My creative energy and overall spirit took a beating.

But then I look back at the tattoo I designed for myself a few years ago. I wrote phoenix 鳳 in Traditional Chinese calligraphy to serve as a reminder of my strength. I’ve been through hell before and I’ve made it out stronger. So even though I’m struggling to get through the year, I know that I will make it out of 2020 better than I entered it.

With all that is going on this year, I have been feeling sluggish and discouraged. And I have been allowing myself to just be. To be with my feelings. To grieve. To not do anything. But I want to make sure I create positive memories to associate with 2020 as well. I want to look back at this year and see everything I’ve accomplished.

I had a lot of projects that were postponed due to me going in and out of the hospital for my mom. I needed something to help me get back on track and play catch up. I was really overwhelmed with my long list of to-dos, though. Every task seemed daunting. So I told myself to do something small each day at the very least. And I needed something to keep me accountable.

This habit tracker with my Bear Mindful character was created to fit this need. Of course, a tracker to be more mindful of my daily habits! The inspiration came from me seeing what people were doing in their bullet journals. I loved seeing all the cool and creative ways to track your habits and I wanted to create something for myself.

I played around with a lot of designs but I really like this circular look. I find it comforting for some reason. I created slots for six habits to be focused on for each month. However, number of habits is totally up to you. After months of experimentation, I found that a long list of habits wasn’t sustainable as you can start to feel overwhelmed and discouraged. There’s actually a term for this too. It’s called the “Valley of Disappointment” by Atomic Habits author James Clear. Over time, your long list of habits to keep up with will eventually work against you. Consequently, a long and ambitious list of things to do will set you up for failure. I know this all too well.

If you’re starting one of these habit trackers, I encourage you to keep it simple and small. Also, taking breaks is okay and not every day has to be filled in. After all, life happens. Remember, progress over perfection.

For more on micro habits, I recommend reading “To Achieve Big Goals, Start with Small Habits” from Harvard Business Review.

For those that are interested in my habit tracker, you can find them here. Hope this habit tracker will help you fall in love with the process of developing positive and healthy habits—and help you reflect on your progress over the months! Remember to celebrate your small wins!

Here are some habit tracker ideas for inspiration:

  • Have a goal of improving your drawing skills? → Doodle something small daily
  • Want to write your novel? → Write a few sentences daily
  • Want to read for leisure? → Spend 5 minutes a day reading
  • Want to eat more vegetables? → Eat at least one vegetable a day
  • Want to get in shape? → Walk for 20 minutes daily or do sets of going up and down your stairs
  • Want to feel more in control of your week? → Designate Sundays as your planning day
  • Want to take better care of your plants? → Check up on your plants daily and/or designate a watering day
  • Want to build better relationships? → Designate a day to write letters to friends

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