It’s the start of a New Year and naturally people are thinking about goals, or habits they may want to make, or possibly, break?
Like most, I have goals but I find it much more achievable (and successful) to focus on the daily habits that help me reach that goal. I also used to fall into the trap of seeing my goals as all-or-nothing, and only celebrating myself once I reached the end point – or thinking that happiness was waiting for me at the finish line. But here’s the thing, long-term success or happiness is not about any single accomplishment, but the process of continuous self improvement and growth.
As the famous phrase goes “It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having goals! At the start of the year I still write down what I would like to achieve in the year ahead. This might include things like “run a half marathon” or “read more books” – but the process of getting there is what really matters. So at the start of the month I draw out a calendar in my sketchbook to track my habits for the month ahead. I shared this with you on social media and I received so many questions and thought it would be a lovely project for us to do together this January.
Below you will find a downloadable and printable habit tracker. You can edit it on your laptop or print it off and fill it in by hand. It is very basic but it works for me. There is space for 3 daily habits, while you may have only one habit you want to pick up I wanted to give you the space for more – but I wouldn’t advise any more than 3. These should be specific to you and what you want to achieve. Here are some examples:
- Want to spend less time on your phone in January? Try a phone free hour in the mornings when you first wake up or last thing before bed at night.
- Want to read more? Leave a book beside your bed and aim to read 10 pages per night.
- Want to run a little further? Each week increase your running distance by 1-2km.
- Want to cultivate a mindful practice? Every day dedicate 5 minutes to mindfulness meditation.
This tracker is free to use but we ask that you don’t share but instead direct people to The Food Medic website to download their own. You are not obligated to share your habits with us, but if you feel comfortable, we would love to hear how you get on at the end of the month.
Final thing: this is not about ‘New Year, New You’ – you don’t need to become a new version of yourself. You are already wonderful and have survived an incredibly difficult year. Continue to grow and learn more about yourself but don’t reject the person who already are.
Want to learn more about habits and goal setting? Here are some of my favourite books:
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- The Power Hour by Adrienne Herbert
- Tiny Habits by Brian J Fogg