Keeping up with Kincaid: Why do I habit track?


Laken Kincaid, Campus Editor

I will be the first to admit that I do not take enough time for myself. I constantly bombard my schedule with various activities. However, I like my life this way. I prefer hustle and bustle to  inaction. For me, doing nothing creates a negative headspace. When I am busy, I don’t have time for negative thoughts. When occupied, I am optimistic.

I understand that this strategy is different than most people’s. After all, my idea of relaxing is watching a documentary, so I can still learn while taking a load off. I see how my thought pattern may seem pretentious, chaotic or even psychotic. But it works for me and my mental health.

While this plan seems good in theory, I have been told by numerous health professionals that attending meeting after meeting and class after class leaves little time for self-care. If you Google the term, you will find a number of articles with step-by-step instructions on “how to treat yourself.” While I wish I could partake in these trends without feeling lethargic, I have discovered that self-care can take on many forms.

Personally, organization has become my stress management. I use my Sundays to fill out my planner for upcoming weeks and color code things as I see fit. I love planning so much that I wrote an entire article about it. However, I realized that I could use my passion for planning to my advantage during this trendy era of self-love: I have learned how to plan my own self-care.

To me, self-care does not mean setting aside time to do affirmations in the mirror for 30 minutes a day or meditate for 15 minutes. Instead, I have decided to track my positive habits every day on my planner.

How do I habit track? I add a few constructive activities to my planner and, at the end of the day, I check off whether I completed that activity. These activities do not have set times that they must be completed during the day, so I can multitask with schoolwork and meetings. I set out specific self-care duties that I hope will become habits. People say that it takes 21 days to form a habit, so I suppose my tracking will put that to the test.

Currently, my goals are to drink 32 ounces of water, cleanse and moisturize my face and do research for scholarships once a day. I have struggled to make time for my last habit, but I hope to get better as time goes on. However, I have checked off my goals for staying hydrated and taking care of my skin for about a week now.

While this may not seem like self-care to others, it is an option for those who have personalities like mine. When healthy habits like drinking water and skin care become part of your daily routine, you are undeniably participating in self care in a structured way that fits the way your mind works. Rather than “making time for myself” like popular beauty guru blogs recommend, I have made self-care a habitual goal so that I do not feel ashamed for bettering myself.