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Use Stress-Free Habit Trackers for Practical Self-Care


Journal and Pen
Make Habit Trackers Work for You Stress-Free

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What Are Habit Trackers?

Habit tracking is one of the reasons many people keep a bullet journal or bujo instead of a traditional planner.  If you search on Pinterest or Instagram for the hashtag #bujo or #habittracker, you’ll find hundreds of different habits people want to keep track of, from health habits such as water intake or logging hours of sleep to no spend days or time on social media.  They are valuable tools for trying to create good routines or break a bad habit.

If you’re unfamiliar with the bullet journal system, I encourage you to go read about it from the creator of the bujo, Ryder Carroll, here. I love the system because it’s so customisable and I plan on writing a future post about how I have mine set up since, like many bujo enthusiasts, my bullet journal doesn’t look exactly like the original concept.

Keeping Track of Your Habits Doesn’t Have to be Complicated

If you spend any amount of time searching for habit trackers or bujo layouts on Pinterest or Instagram, you’re bound to come across several gorgeous, intricate designs.  I have a board dedicated to these inspirational pages here.  Sometimes, though, I’ll come across a Pin that leaves me feeling intimidated, featuring habit trackers with over 30 items listed and fully illustrated. I don’t know about you, but the idea of having to check off so many things every single day sounds overwhelming. As a writer and work-at-home mother of two young children (3-years-old and 5-month-old at the time of this writing), my time is limited. Someday, I would love to try one of the many extensive trackers I’ve looked at, but right now, it’s not how I want to spend my time.

This is hard to admit, but I’m not sure if detailed tracker would work for me even if I wasn’t so busy.  When I try to change too many things at once, I tend to fail. I become discouraged by the lack of progress and nothing changes. When building new habits and routines, I have to start small and gradually work towards my end goal.  That’s why I’m currently tracking six habits in my weekly spread and have one year-long tracker for my mood.

Bullet Journal with Simple Habit Tracker
Weekly Layout from My Bujo.  This week featured my one little word for the year.

How I Use Weekly Habit Trackers

I’ve simplified how I use habit trackers since switching to a traveler’s notebook. The narrower pages for my weekly layouts made it an easy decision.  Each week, I think about what habits I want to maintain, which ones I’d like to start doing, and what I’d like to stop doing. I make an effort to keep the list short so that I don’t put too much pressure on myself.

My current list of six habits for the week are yoga, dance, read, write, journal, and craft. I’m trying to start an easy exercise routine, so I’m attempting to get back into yoga. I also want to teach my kids healthy habits, so I make an effort to have 20-minute dance parties with them. It makes exercising much more fun for me.  The last four habits are a mix of things I hope will help me professionally and keep me focused on self-care.

One final note about my weekly habit tracker: I’m not afraid to change what goes on the list. I used to track my morning pages and bedtime. However, I was consistently doing my morning pages, so I didn’t feel the need to continue tracking that habit. If I start slipping in that area, I’ll add it back to the list. I stopped keeping track of my bedtime because it was demoralizing. My baby still keeps me up at night and logging these long nights aren’t helping me. I’ll try tracking this habit again in a few months.

How I Use a Year Long Habit Tracker

Mood Tracker
My Year in Pixels page, heavily inspired by the many other mood trackers on Pinterest and Instagram.

I saw several variations of the My Year in Pixels mood tracker on Pinterest and fell in love with the idea. I’m a gamer and a nerd at heart, so I immediately knew that was going to go into my bujo this year.  I’m happy to report that so far, I’m off to a good start this year (even if I woke up grumpy on New Year’s Day.)

Close up of Habit Tracker
Closer view of My Year in Pixels mood tracker.

More Tips for Simplifying Your Habit Trackers

Here are a few more ideas to help you get started or simplify habit tracking:

  • Don’t be afraid to start small. If the idea of keeping track of seven things every day sounds overwhelming, don’t do it! Try keeping track of only one thing, such as water intake, doing morning pages, or no spend days.
  • If you’re consistently doing a habit every day, you may consider removing it from your habit tracker to free up space. Unless, of course, you want to keep it on the list because you love checking it off every day. There’s nothing wrong with that!
  • If you keep listing a habit in your tracker and never do it, consider why you feel the need to continue giving it a place in your habit tracker. Is it really a habit you actually want to have, or do you only think you should have it? You may be trying to be something you’re not. Don’t be afraid of removing a habit from your tracker- I did it!
  • If you genuinely want to start doing a habit but haven’t successfully done it yet, you need to take an honest look at your routine to see how you can make it happen. Maybe breaking the habit into smaller pieces (like attempting it once a week instead of every day) would help you get started.

As you start using habit trackers, you may decide a more detailed habit tracker. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to keep track of several things. It isn’t for me right now and that’s okay. Maybe someday it will be, and I’ll write a post called “Why Super-Detailed Habit Trackers are Awesome!” In the meantime, I’ll stick to admiring other people’s layouts online.

Tools I Use for My Habit Trackers

Here are a few supplies I love to use in my habit trackers. If you purchase anything through my links, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.


What kinds of habits do you keep track of in your bujo? Do you prefer to track several habits at once or only a few at a time? I’d love it if you share what works for you in the comment section.

Bullet Journal
Make Habit Trackers Work for You Stress Free
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Published inPlanning


  1. I need one of these! I don’t have a lot of habits, but I sure do have a scattered brain recently. Nice article!

    • Thank you so much! I can completely relate to having a scattered brain lately. You know, even if you don’t keep a planner, you could make a small habit tracker on a post-it note or a piece of paper. You could keep it on the bathroom mirror, your night stand, or the fridge- anywhere in plain sight, where it won’t get lost.

  2. I like to keep track of my morning meditation practice as one of my habits. I also track my gratitude lists. I use Happy Planner for daily and weekly planning but I like the idea of the Pixel for the habit tracking. I bet it looks pretty when it is all filled up by the end of the year.

    • I love Happy Planners, too! I used one for 2017. I think the pixels will look pretty by the end of the year, too. I’m excited to see if fill up and maybe changing the color scheme from year to year.

  3. Your bullet journal looks so festive and fun! I used to use habit trackers but I absolutely SUCK at filling them in!

    • Thank you so much! I know what you mean about habit trackers. I have to keep mine relatively short and simple or I won’t use them.

  4. Thanks for this! I wasn’t familiar with bujo but I love creating better habits! I set a goal to go to bed by 9:30 50 times in November and December to make sure I was taking care of myself. It was powerful to have the number and to write down my bedtime each night. It was nice to know I had some nights I could miss, as we’d inevitably have some later nights celebrating the holidays and having family come into town, but that I was going to make sure I was getting enough sleep every night I could and not staying up late wasting time and energy online, etc. Now I have such an easier time getting to bed earlier and it makes a huge difference in how my day goes. Thanks again!

    • That is an awesome habit! I love how you set about giving yourself a realistic plan to achieve it. I’m going to have to try something like that when my youngest stops teething!

  5. I love the BuJo system so much! Just as you mentioned, I often change my Habit Tracker around from month to month. Different things mean more at different points in my life. …and just fyi, your BuJo spread is AM-AZ-ING!

    • Thank you so much! I love being able to change things whenever I want, too.

  6. Jonee Jonee

    I loveeeee doing things like this, and I need one to keep track of stuff. Thank you for sharing!

    • I think habit trackers are great tools, too. It’s fun to look back and see how far you’ve come after working on a habit.

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