How To Change Your Life With A Habit Audit
Creating new habits can be hard! However, creating routines full of new habits can be super exciting. Who doesn’t like a “that girl” morning routine? The reality is that creating habits takes time. Nothing happens overnight and sometimes the habits we want to engage in look great on paper but don’t really work in real life. That’s okay! This is why it’s important to re-evaluate what’s happening and do a habit audit from time to time to see what’s working and what’s not!
Step one to changing your life is being brutally honest with yourself. Are your routines working? Do you follow through with your goals? Is there anything that can and should change? These are questions you need to ask yourself.
Creating habits is hard as I mentioned above. But checking in with yourself and being honest can be harder. Doing a habit audit starts with honesty my friends! So, without further ado, let’s get to work.
What is a habit audit?
In general, an audit is when you review something. Companies go through financial audits every year to make sure the company is spending money as it should be and to clean things up if it could be better!
A habit audit is the same thing. It’s a review of your current habits (and routines if you want) and making sure everything is going to plan/ improving when necessary.
Doing a habit audit is not ALL about change. The change will come… the audit is about reviewing, being honest, and brainstorming for the future.
There is a lot of good that can come out of reflecting on your habits. For example, you may think you are achieving your step goal every day but when you start to evaluate and look back on your smartwatch you notice that you aren’t even close.
Now you understand what a habit audit is, let’s talk about HOW to do one.
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How to do a habit audit
As with anything in this world, everyone works a little differently. This is currently how I have been doing habit audits and it’s been working for me. Feel free to tweak this and make it work for you!
Figure out what your current habits are and the habits you want to start
The first step to auditing your habits is figuring out your current habits. Pay attention to the things you do in the morning and at night. You may notice some good habits like tidying up the house before bed but you might find some bad habits like scrolling on your phone for an hour before being able to get any work done.
For now, don’t worry too much about which habits are bad and good, just focus on what you’re currently doing.
Also, spend some time thinking about the habits you want to start. Make a list of the main ones so you can start making changes.
Monitor yourself for one week
Now that you have determined what your current habits are (or what you think they are), monitor yourself for a week.
Keep a journal and note your habits each day. Do you really do something as often as you think you do? You’ll see as soon as you start monitoring your behaviours.
Write down everything you notice about your habits. Things like:
- The habit itself
- How often you do it
- When you do it
- If and why you’re struggling with it
- What would make it easier
- If its a good or bad habit
- If you want to continue that habit
Be brutally honest with yourself and ask some questions
At the end of the monitoring week, it’s time to be real with yourself.
Do you like the way your life is going? Do the habits you currently engage in make you feel good? Would you be happy with this life in 5 years?
Chances are if you are doing a habit audit you are unhappy with something in your life. This is no time to sugarcoat things. Sometimes the biggest change comes from pain (aka how you are feeling about your current life).
This is the time to make the decision on what habits are staying and what habits are going.
Example: I am keeping early morning wake up, no morning scrolling, walks after dinner, reading before bed. I am leaving snacking after work and having coffee first thing in the morning.
Now, don’t go changing every single thing about yourself overnight. That simply won’t work. Make a list of the things you want to change whether that’s habits to add or habits to subtract and start small. Notice how in the example I only listed 2 things to change? Smaller changes are better!
Create a habit tracker
This is my favorite part because I am a list lover and tracking things is just so fun! Maybe I’m alone there but I know some of my readers get it!
Grab your planner, journal, phone, or even just a piece of paper, and create a weekly habit tracker. I like to do it week by week because it’s less intimidating.
My clever fox planner has a built-in weekly habit tracker that I personally use! It’s fantastic!
Start by writing down the habits you want to track. Then list out the days of the week. Finally, draw little boxes for each day of the week next to the habit you’d like to track and boom, you have a habit tracker.
This is going to be your habit bible for the next week while you try out your new habits.
Monitor yourself again
You know better than me what your routines are. The easier way to start new habits is to incorporate them into your current routines. I personally love habit stacking. That is when you add a new habit to a current one. For example, if you make coffee in the morning every day, you could start tidying the kitchen while it’s brewing.
So decide how you’d like to add your habits into your daily life. The purpose of monitoring your week again is to see how the new habits are holding up.
Use your habit tracker and be honest!! No, it doesn’t feel good to not check a box but it’s reality. So, spend the next week seeing how you do with your new habits.
Pinpoint habits you’re struggling with and why
Take a look at your habit tracker at the end of the week. Ask yourself what went well and what didn’t. Was working out 5 days a week too much? Let’s bump it down to 3 and try again.
Determine why you struggled as well. If the struggle with working out 5 days a week was the fact that you’re too tired when you get home from work, would it be possible to work out in the morning instead? Or would it be better if you went to the gym instead of a home workout?
You don’t need to have all the answers but let yourself brainstorm. Creating healthy habits takes time and a bit of trial and error.
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Keep going with monitoring and tweaking until you feel good about your habits
Once you have tweaked some things, try again. Monitor your habits and use your habit tracker again for the next week. Do this over and over until you find habits and routines that work for you.
You might start noticing that less and less tweaking needs to happen each week. It might be only one or two habits are a struggle instead of all of them. Make sure you notice your progress as well!
Do a monthly or bimonthly check-in to stay on track
To keep things running smoothly, check in with your habits on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. Sometimes when you start to get comfortable in your routines you stop using your habit tracker or you become more lenient. That’s okay! However, it’s good to check in on a regular basis so you can stay on track instead of getting to the end of the year and wondering why you never did workout 5 days a week. You know what I mean?
Tips for starting new habits
It’s not easy changing your life! So, here are a few tips for starting new habits to make your life a little bit easier.
01 – Habit stacking
This will be the easiest way to start a new habit! Pick something you already do every day… could be drinking your coffee, brushing your teeth, getting dressed, arriving at work, etc. Then add on the habit you want to achieve.
It could look something like this:
- After your morning coffee, you will spend 5 minutes reading.
- After you arrive at work, you will take your vitamins.
- After you get dressed in the morning, you will set out your workout clothes for later.
See? It’s easy to do and doesn’t take much time!
02 – Restructure your environment
Depending on the habit, it might be helpful to take away temptation. If the habit you are trying to create is eating healthier, remove all the food you will be tempted by and replace it with better options. You will be less likely to eat the whole bag of chips if it’s not there in the first place.
03 – Write it down
It’s easy to forget something if you don’t do it all the time (or you are new to it). So don’t feel bad about adding your new habits to your daily to-do list.
If taking your vitamins is a new habit you want to form, write it on your to-do list. You might not always have your habit tracker near you so this is a great way to remind yourself to do something.
Creating new healthy habits starts by doing a habit audit. It’s so easy to say you will start doing something or stop doing something but without really knowing what your daily life looks like, it can be hard.
Habit audits won’t happen overnight. It takes time to evaluate what’s going on and then to take the steps to make a change.
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. It can take even longer to stop one. Going week by week allows for more flexibility so if it doesn’t work out you aren’t spending 21 days trying and failing. No one feels good when they “fail” so being able to track and reevaluate along the way is a gentler way to do things.
Hopefully, this was helpful and you learned something new about habits!
Have you ever done a habit audit? Is this something you’d do in the future?
I love this! It’s so great to take a personal inventory with a Habit Audit. Perfect for the new year!
Absolutely!! Great time to do it 🙂
This is so awesome and I love you the part where you said be honest with yourself! That is so important
It’s hard to be honest with ourselves sometimes!
Hey Deanna I love this post and as a licensed mental health professional can attest to your habit stacking and suggestions ACTUALLY WORK!! Psychologically we need to positively reinforce ourselves when we want to change habit and reinforcing it on a daily basis helps us stick with it! What a great article! I know one habit people really want to start is to exercise regularly so if anyone is needing some motivation to start working out right now please feel free to check out https://pantearahimian.com/10-foolproof-ways-to-boost-your-motivation-and-work-out-right-now/
Love this!! Thanks for sharing your knowledge 🙂
So glad I came across this, I really needed the extra tips!
Glad it was helpful!!
Something I definitely need to do!
You got this 🙂
This is very insightful. We always want results in life, but often overlook our daily habits. I’m inspired to do a habit audit and ask myself some tough questions.
Love to hear that! Its not always easy that’s for sure
Great strategy. It is so easy to get stuck in a routine that isn’t in our best interest.
This is really great! I’ll be using this strategy for sure as I’ve been really wanting to knock some bad habits this year and implement better ones.
An interesting exercise – and a great one to do at the beginning of the year. I like your tip about habit stacking. Makes it easier!
Habit stacking is the best!
I like reading self improvement posts like this especially at the beginning of a year, when am setting my goals and trying to change some things in my life. Thanks for sharing.
Best of luck with your goals!
I love the idea of a habit audit; I never thought of it! Great post.
Thanks so much for reading!!
Habit stacking is a genius idea! Gonna do it. Thanks for this amazing post ♥️
Hope you find it helpful 🙂
Great ideas, Deanna! Restructuring my environment has always helped me; make it harder to do the old habit and easier to do the new habit. Love the article!
It’s super helpful!!
What a good idea! I try habit tracking and then fail one day, and give up all together. This post is helpful!
The worst feeling! But looking into the why and seeing how you can tweak things can make a huge difference!