I Color-Coded My Habit Tracker, and Couldn’t Believe What Happened Next

When I color coded my habit tracking spreadsheet, I thought it was just going to be a fun way to categorize my habits and make my spreadsheet nice to look at. I didn’t realize that it would also encourage and reinforce moderation, balance and slow, sustainable changes. I didn’t know that it would discourage obsessing over one particular area of lifestyle at the expense of other areas. And yet, that’s exactly what it is doing.

Habit Sheet

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2015 Year End Report! (How’d I do with all those habits?)

The other day, on my “habitiversary,” I wrote about all the cool outcomes that happened this year as a result of tracking habits (instead of body weight or clothing size). Since today is the last day of 2015, this post is all about the numbers. How’d I do with my habit goals?

Here is a list of habits I worked on in 2015, and how I did.

  • Eat a green vegetable every day (RESULT: 364 days. Next year this goal needs to allow for sick days)
  • Strength training workouts: (goal: 150 times in 2015. RESULT: 172 times!)
  • In bed by 10pm (habit added on Feb 18; goal: 200 times between Feb 18 and Dec 31. RESULT: 216 times!)
  • Name something I feel grateful for every day (Goal added 7/31, and attained!)
  • Take a walk (habit added on July 6; goal: 75 times by Dec 31. RESULT: 92 times!)
  • Date with my husband (habit added April 18; goal: 8 times by Dec 31. RESULT: 7 times)
  • Get rid of items from our home (habit added April 18; goal: 500 items by Dec 31. RESULT: 1186 items!)
  • Deposit at least $10 into our emergency fund (habit added September 13; goal: 15 times by Dec 31. RESULT: 18 times!)
  • Doing or saying something nice for my husband (habit added September 15; goal: 80 times by Dec 31. RESULT: 77 times)
  • After 9pm, no TV shows started (habit added October 25; goal: 50 times by Dec 31. RESULT: 50 times!)
  • Make a pot of rice and beans (habit added November 10; goal: 6 times by Dec 31. RESULT: 5 times)
  • Finish my food for the day by 8pm (habit added November 12; goal: 25 times by Dec 31. RESULT: 35 times!)
  • Do some household chores as an alternative to a walk (habit added November 12; goal: 8 times by Dec 31. RESULT: 9 times!)
  • Take my Vitamin D every day (my blood work shows a deficiency and I’m not good at remembering it so I’m adding it to the list). (goal added 11/17. RESULT: 39 times)

So, I reached or surpassed my goals in 8 of these habits. In the rest of them, I am happy with how close I came to the goals I set. Even though I did not make it 100 percent of the way there, establishing the habits have helped a lot in my life. I am proud of my progress, and looking forward to 2016.

Happy New Year, everyone!

My 2016 Habit Goals Unveiled

I haven’t posted in a while. My husband has been bedridden with a fractured patella and I have not-so-quietly been going insane.  Today bedridden husband I are both sick. So my parenting consists of letting my kid binge watch his Christmas present (Rachel and the Treeschoolers). And telling him that I will turn it off if he doesn’t throw the trash IN THE TRASH.

While my kid is learning science concepts from Rachel, I finished up my goals list for 2016.  I added a couple new habits to work on, reset my goals for the habits I am continuing in 2016, and set a couple reasonably achievable goals that are one-time events, not habits.

Here they are!

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The Rainbow Spreadsheet! (Habit Tracking Template)

I just set up my habit tracking spreadsheet for 2016, with updated habit goals.  Since I’ve been doing this for a year now and have accumulated a bunch of habit goals (one or two at a time!), I decided to group them by categories and color code them.

I shared a screenshot of my spreadsheet in a few habit groups.

Habit Sheet

(You’ll have to settle for a crappy screenshot, because I have zero photoediting skills and can’t figure out how to sharpen the image if I expand it).

In one group in particular, people got really excited and asked me if they could share and use for educational purposes. Presumably they also loved my broad based view of health and realistic goal setting, not just the pretty colors. So, I edited my template so you can download it and edit it for your own use. (The first tab in the document is an example of what the set up looks like for a first-time habit tracker. The second tab has “the rainbow spreadsheet,” an example of what it looks like for a second-year habit tracker – me!).

Now…..here is the really important thing. I KNOW EVERYBODY LIKES RAINBOWS and gets super excited and wants a rainbow spreadsheet of their very own.

I urge you all to read through my entire sustainable habit series, starting with Part I, to help guide you in getting started. If you do that, your spreadsheet might look awfully monochromatic for a few months. Be patient. Don’t rush things. You too can have a rainbow spreadsheet soon! In fact, you can have one now and I can’t stop you. But I highly recommend you read all the background info and start with just one habit. Because ultimately, what’s more exciting? A rainbow spreadsheet NOW, or actual success (however you define it), and a rainbow spreadsheet later?

And yes, I’m totally okay with people sharing this post and using it for personal and educational purposes, as long as you credit Power, Peace and the Porch Gym.

Open the Power, Peace and the Porch Gym habit tracking template (aka “The Rainbow Spreadsheet”)

Enjoy, and happy habit forming!