I don't track my habits

James Clear and others in the habit-shaping space rightfully preach that building habits is a better way to move forward than trying to achieve lofty goals. I think they’re dead on in saying so. Something small and repeatable is a much better way to iterate and improve than pursuing something so large you’re not even sure how to get there to begin with.

I’ve been earnestly working to build better habits for the last few years, but I’ve had such a hard time continuing with them long term. I’ve used habit tracking apps like Streaks, which do a great job of reminding you to do something. I remember I had a streak of over 120 days on a habit a few years ago! It felt like such an accomplishment.

But as time wore on, I noticed something shift inside myself. Instead of pursuing the vision of the habit out of my own volition, I was trying to make the system happy by not failing it.

Eventually, one day I did.

A day blew up and I wasn’t able to complete that habit. My massive streak was lost! It was a huge hit to my ego, but in that process I realized I was not building a habit any more. As soon as that incentive was gone, I lost my desire to pursue it. The habit was checking a box, not doing the thing.

The habit was performing for myself instead of pursuing what I valued.


While tracking habits might work great for you, this experience taught me daily habit tracking stresses me out and removes focus from what does drive me: my values.

So instead, I make a small list of habits I want to keep in mind, and, on occasion, I review it. But every day, I’m pursuing those habits because I’m choosing to do so, not because some empty checkbox is prodding me to do it. As a result, I’ve more successfully kept up habits and reduced my stress level doing so.


[Remotely Working] 13: Why Managing Your Emotional Health is Important — Emotional health is often not spoken of in work and productivity circles, but it needs to be. With the advent of work/life integration, taking care of your emotions is just as important as getting the work done — because they affect one another. This week, Justin explores the benefits of increasing emotional health and shares straightforward ways to start building emotionally healthy habits.

[YouTube] Spaced Repetition with Obsidian and NeuraCache — Spaced repetition is a way to help you learn, remember, and think about information on a recurring basis. In this video, Justin unpacks how you can build a spaced repetition system (SRS) using Obsidian and a new tool called NeuraCache.


Productivityist 326: The Power of Process with Justin DiRose — Just wanted to share this one with you in case you hadn’t seen it. I enjoyed having this conversation with Mike Vardy about productivity, thoughtfulness, and levelling up.

That’s all for this week!

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