Habit tracking in properties?

2024 is coming and im thinking to improve habit tracking.

What is the best way to track habits?
Is listing them all in properties the best way?

What is better?

  1. One list:
    Sports: Running, Swimming

  2. Or individually:
    Running: Yes
    Swimming: Yes
    Biking: No

Generally any ideas about streamlining and simplifying would be interesting to hear.

Properties are awful way to track physical habits and other habits not involving computer. The best system is printed tables that you fill using pen. You don’t usually need to keep your old papers, so this system uses only one paper which you can easily keep around.

One could want to digitalize the data from physical paper but this kind of work is not part of habit formation unless other people are involved. Usually this is not the case.

Collecting indexed data is not part of habit formation but it could be used to support activities that are not part of habit formation. For instance once running becomes central part of your life you can start to collect indexed data about your running. Obviously the purpose of collecting indexed data is to make changes to your activities using actions → feedback → actions loop. As I said, collecting indexed data wouldn’t serve any purpose in case of creating new habits.

Obsidian has poor capabilities of producing tables that are meant to be printed physically. For that purpose MS Excel, Numbers or Google Sheets should be used. Using Word with copy-pasted tables from Excel can be most efficient way to produce printed tables.

If I remember correctly, Stephen Guise wrote in his book Mini Habits that he kept the paper under his pillow so he wouldn’t forget doing his daily habits before sleep. This is much better reminding than ones from your devices. I think reminders from devices are not very effective in habit formation compared to paper under pillow.

I think that tracking them individually with a checkbox is more practical if you want to request them later in dataview requests in the form of a table or graph, since it is direct and does not require transformation. On the other hand, putting them together in a list can perhaps make it easier to evolve, if they are rather variable, without changing all the queries and templates.
Personally, I configure a quick add shortcuts to add my habits with modal form, in the form of checkbox properties, to my daily notes that I create every day. I then come to request them in the form of a line graph with dataview.

Thanks both.

@blue_emperor I personally prefer digital because i like to have that information with me whenever i need, and for that purpose papers doesnt work that well.

@Anwen Good point. So tracking individually is simpler. I need to nail down that Quick add plugin.

@Karjala You can also use tables in Obsidian but habits are more efficiently tracked using org mode. See habit module in org. I would set up a command line system for habit tracking instead a system in Obsidian because Obsidian doesn’t offer solid database features yet and command line interface is perfect for 1 line entry. Basically when using command line you just visit command line, write your stuff (what has been done) and then press enter. You cannot achieve that kind of simplicity in Obsidian.