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  • Writer's pictureKat Schultz

Habit Tracking for Mental Health

Habit trackers are gaining in popularity for those who find that type of organization and accountability helpful. They're usually a sheet, pad, or dry erase board that you can customize to display the habits you want to start or continue and you can check off doing that habit daily.

Diary cards are, of course, the DBT version of habit trackers. They contain space for tracking skills, emotions, urges, and behaviors. However if you're looking for something simpler, habit trackers may be the way to go.

I have a simple habit tracker as an insert in my daily planner. I use it to track and encourage myself to do tasks I find difficult such as showering, moving my body, and cleaning my cat's litter box. Recording these habits reminds me when I did them last. Plus I look forward to marking down that I've done them for the day. It makes me feel successful - that's actually a DBT skill called building mastery.

To use a habit tracker, you make a list of tasks you want to complete daily or a certain number of times a week. Then provide space for checking off the seven days in a week for each task.

Tasks you might want to track to improve your mental health could be drinking water, meditating, going to bed before 10pm, practicing your DBT skills, doing one thing for yourself daily, and more. These can be added in addition to things you need to do everyday to keep the house functioning; like doing the litter box for example.

You can also use an app or excel sheet on your phone as a habit tracker. It doesn't have to be physical. It depends on whether you get the same satisfaction from completing something on your phone as on paper. And if you can remember to do so if it's not open right in front of your face! That's why I keep mine in my planner, though sometimes even that can be forgotten.

Give habit tracking a try and let us know how it goes!

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