Years ago I realized that we all have habits, some good, some bad, some consistent, some not so consistent. I also realized there are many habits we would like to have, but don’t for whatever reason. Occasionally in my mind I would think about my own habits and make a conscious effort to do better. Of course this rarely worked, and after years of just thinking about doing better, I decided it was time to figure out what habits I wanted and how to track my progress. I started off with a simple concept; I made a spreadsheet in Excel that listed all of the habits I wanted to work on in the first column. Then I put each day of the month in the top row. I then decided what days, or how many times a month I wanted to do each habit. For example: exercise Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, and Friday. And would highlight each cell for that habit that fell on the appropriate day. I would print this off once a month and have my habit mix. At the end of each day I would go down the column for that day looking for highlighted cells and then check whether I had done each habit or not. This actually worked extremely well, it only took about 30 seconds each night and at the end of the month I had a good amount of data that showed my personal habits.
I also started to notice something when I looked at these monthly habits. I noticed that a lot of the habits fell into similar groups, for example:
- Go on dates with wife twice a month
- Daddy Daughter/Son date with each child once a month
- Implement weekly Brady Bunch shenanigans
- Take leftovers for lunch 4 days a week
- Pay extra on mortgage
- Purchase stack of lotto tickets
- Exercise 5 times a week
- No eating after 7pm
- Colon cleanse 4 times a day
These groups are what I believe are “Core Values” for people. Looking at my Core Values I realized that the things that I thought and wanted to be the most important to me, weren’t always reflected that way based on my habits. I noticed that some habits were easier to complete and more engrained in my lifestyle, while other habits were more difficult to complete and needed work. The bad thing was I needed to change some habits, the good thing was, I was able to realize I needed to make those changes. This got me thinking a lot about other people in my life: friends, family neighbors, co-workers. I started looking at these people and I started to notice what was most important in their lives based on some of their habits. Some were very focused on money/work, others family, some on religion, and I realized that very few had a good balance of everything, or a good “Habit Mix”. The ones that did have a good mix, seemed to be the most happiest. After tracking my habits and Core Values for many years, I have also started to recognize that peoples Core Values change as they hit different stages in life.
After using the spreadsheet for a while, the geek in me wanted more stats, more precision, percentages, and a saved history, not just paper, so I could evaluate over longer periods of time. This is when I decided to build HabitMix.com and make it available to everyone. Why? Because that’s just the kind of guy I am, a selfless, benevolent, eco-friendly, altruistic saint that loves to help other people. Oh, and I want to charge people for their hard earned money ☺
While building this tool I wanted the simplicity of the spreadsheet to always remain at the heart of the service so I Built it with the following in mind:
- Extremely easy to use for anyone
- Fast to setup, less than 5 minutes to enter habits/goals/core values
- Fast to update daily progress, under 30 seconds
- Accessible from anywhere (hence web version)
- Easily be able to evaluate your current state and progress
- Affordable enough for anyone to use
So I took the simple spreadsheet concept and built a website around that idea. HabitMix is a web-based tool that will allow people to track and change habits, achieve goals, and find out what is truly important to them in life.
When I started building this I thought to myself… I want to build a tool that will allow millions of people to better their lives. I want to allow people to see their strengths and weaknesses, help them decide where they want to go, and then help them get there. Yes I know, sounds pretty dramatic, but at least I didn’t say “I want to build a tool that solves world peace”!
Many will say they don’t have the time to track their daily habits, to those people my reply would be the famous quote “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. The planning we are talking about here is for your life, and if you don’t take the time (30 seconds a day isn’t much), you are planning to fail in life!
Who should track their habits? Take this simple quiz to find out if you need to.
This article was written to give you some background on what HabitMix.com is about, and how it came to be. Give it a try here and let me know what you think.