Yes, Habit Tracking Actually Works! The Easy Way to Stay Motivated
Back in the 1980s and ’90s, almost every sports movie included a training montage — and no montage was complete without a giant paper calendar hanging on the hero’s wall. As time ticked by and the big game or contest approached, the hero crossed the days out one by one. Each square was a success, and it was another day of training down! It sounds silly, but according to habit expert and “Atomic Habits” author James Clear, that giant calendar isn’t just movie magic. It actually works! For some people, tracking their habits — literally writing down their successes and failures in order to keep a record — is an effective way to build and stick with new routines, like New Year’s resolutions. In his book, Clear writes that habit tracking works because it makes a particular behavior “obvious, attractive, and satisfying.” Tracking our habits in a visible place (like a calendar on the wall) reminds us to keep our “streak” of good behavior alive and holds us accountable if we mess up. It also just feels good to cross a square off of the calendar.
motivated to continue down that path. In this way, habit tracking can have an additive effect on motivation. Every small win feeds your desire.”
You don’t need to use a ’90s calendar to track your habits in 2022. Instead, Clear recommends leveraging technology to make tracking as easy as possible. If you want to build
better spending habits, put your credit card statements (which track your spending automatically) front and center. If you want to take more steps each day, buy a Fitbit so you don’t have to count them. That said, if you go the pen-and-paper route — or prefer an Excel spreadsheet — Clear suggests tracking your habit immediately after you finish it. That way, you’ll associate your positive behavior with the rush of satisfaction you get from checking a day off the calendar.
“The most effective form of motivation is progress,” Clear explains. “When we get a signal that we are moving forward, we become more
To learn more about Clear’s methods and download his free Habit Tracker Template, visit AtomicHabits.com/tracker.
Even War Couldn’t Hold These Players Back A Ukrainian Soccer Team Finds a Home
A bright spot is burning in the middle of the darkness brought on by the Russia-Ukraine War: the Shakhtar Donetsk soccer team. Since the war began, its players have provided entertainment and modeled resilience for Ukrainians caught in the middle of the conflict. They continue to play and win, even though their team has been “homeless” for almost 10 years.
This perseverance paid off. In a way, Shakhtar Donetsk finally found a home last year: The team qualified for the UEFA Champions League, placing them among the best soccer teams in the world. It was quite a feat for the underdogs, largely because they beat and later tied the powerhouse team Real Madrid along the way!
“Our challenge was to make the impossible possible,” the Shakhtar Donetsk coach, Igor Jovicevic, told ESPN.
According to ESPN, Shakhtar Donetsk hasn’t played on its home turf since 2014. That year, Russian-backed separatists forced the players to flee Donetsk and leave behind their beloved stadium, Donbass Arena. Things have only gotten worse since then.
This month, Shakhtar Donetsk will keep doing the seemingly impossible in the Europa League. Team captain Taras Stepanenko told ESPN that continuing the play will “show our defiance, our spirit.” Stepanenko’s village is in ruins, but he still dreams of going home to Donbass Arena — which the Russians are likely using to store weapons. “It is my biggest dream to go back to the arena and play,” he said. “I have thought about it since we moved from Donetsk. Maybe I won’t be a footballer anymore when we go back, but I will play as a veteran, as an old man. The club can organize a charity match, invite all the legends, and we can fulfill our dream. But I am confident it will happen.”
“For the past eight years, Shakhtar has led a nomadic existence … playing home games in Lviv (750 miles away), Kharkiv (190 miles), and Kyiv (450 miles),” ESPN reported.
And yet, the team continued to succeed! Nothing could hold them back from competing. In 2022, they lost 15 of their best players to the Ukrainian military and had to suspend a game because of an air raid. They simply replaced the missing soccer stars and moved forward.
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