How to Build and Track Habits that Stick

I’ve always been controlled by my habits. I’ve always wanted it to be the other way around.

August 30, 2022
Press the button to generate random icebreaker questions.
There are 300 more icebreaker questions at the bottom of the article
How would you describe your job to a five year old?
What season would you be?
What is a weird food you have tried? Would you eat it again?
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Would you go in the mother-ship with aliens if they landed on Earth tomorrow?
What is your favorite season?
Do prefer working from home or the office?
What is your earliest memory of this job?
What is the best thing you have bought so far this year?
What is the earliest book you remember?
If you had to move to another country, which one would you choose?
You are the best criminal mastermind in the world. What crime would you commit if you knew you would get away with it?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
What was the last thing you ate?
What person from history would you add to Mount Rushmore?
What is a weird fact you know?
What is your favorite part of working from home?
Were the Spice Girls a good team?
Imagine you can instantly learn any language. Which would you choose?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Which fictional team is the best team of all time?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What do you usually eat for a quick lunch?
What simple food will you never eat?
Show us the weirdest thing you have in the room with you right now.
Would you rather stay at a hotel or an AirBNB?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
Are you more productive in the morning or at night?
Who is someone in your community that makes a difference?
Who was your most unique pet?
Choose one famous person from history you want on your team during a zombie apocalypse.
What is a good way to give back to the community?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
Is Hugh Grant funny?
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Would you want to have an imaginary friend today? Did you have one as a child?
What actor or actress would you want to play you in the movie about your life?
What is the best super power?
What is your New Years resolution?
You can only eat one food again for the rest of your life. What is it?
What is the best work holiday?
What is the first gift you remember receiving?
Would you rather join Metallica or Backstreet Boys?
What is the best example of a community you have seen?
What is an easy way to do something nice for someone?
Show us your phone background and tell the story behind why you picked this image.
What was your first job?
Pick any band to play at your funeral.
If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
Which superpower would you give to your arch enemy?
What is the most obscure superpower you would want?
What emoji best describes how you are feeling right now?
If you could live in any country, which country would you pick?
Would you rather live in a city or a town?
What is your favorite holiday?
What is something you accomplished as part of a team?
What is your standard office lunch?
What is your most used phone app?
What is your favorite season?
Have you ever won something as a team?
Imagine you are a professional baseball player. What is your introduction song?
Beach holiday or ski trip?
Have you ever been to a funny comedy show?
Would you rather live at the North Pole or the South Pole?
What is your favorite song to sing?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Imagine you could teleport anywhere. Where would you go right now?
What is the most unusual job you have heard of?
What was the last thing you ate?
You can visit any fictional time or place. Which would you pick?
What do your family and friends think you do all day?
What movie do you wish you could watch again for the first time?
Show us your most-used emoji.
What was the most unique style or fashion trend you ever embraced?
What movie defined your generation?
You are stranded on a remote desert island. Are you alone or with your worst enemy?
What is your favorite knock-knock joke?
Have you ever told someone Santa is not real?
Do you know how to speak more than one language?
On a scale of 1 – 10, how much of a team player are you?
What is your #1 recommendation in this city?
What is your favorite holiday?
What bucket list item do you most want to check off in the next six months?
What is your favorite mythical creature?
What was the first way you made money?
If you could be great at any Olympic sport, which would it be?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
When did you start liking/hating mushrooms?
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Do you take your PTO all at one time, or another way?
Which show do you remember most from your childhood?
Which beverage goes best with pizza?
Would you want to have a personal assistant follow you around everywhere and do what you asked of them?
Have you ever met your idol?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Would you rather live 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future?
What is your hobby?
When you are alone in the car, what volume is the music at?
Imagine you no longer have to work. How would you spend a Tuesday?
What is your favorite type of sandwich?

I’ve always been controlled by my habits. I’ve always wanted it to be the other way around.

There was so much I wanted to do and so little time to do it.

The only problem: that’s not true. It was not true then. It’s not true now. With the right set of habits and the right practice you make the time for who you want to be and what you want to do.

Habit formation is largely a force of will, but the tendency for us to be pulled back hard into old routines means that the biggest problem for the maintenance of a habit is the maintenance of that habit in our conscious mind as we build the habit day-over-day.

Once a habit has been set the power of habits really unlocks and it will drive itself forward and drive us along with it towards our goals.

The danger is in allowing a habit to slip out of our mind. Enter habit tracking.

Habit tracking is a practice of regularly elevating our habit commitments into our attention and asking ourselves if we’re actually pulling them off (or if we’ve slipped up).

Often it’s an end of the day kick in the ass to go for that run or to read those 10 pages.

But without it, those last minute catches go uncaught and it becomes that much harder to get it done the next day.

If you can just get those first few weeks with consistency, you’re on the path to success. Habit tracking is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal to get that nascent habit off the ground.

The only real shot I ever took at changing my habit practice in the past was with bullet journaling. It was dreadful. It took longer just to pull off bullet journaling than it did to implement the habits I was looking to implement.

The Issue with Habit Tracking

Habit tracking is a habit in its own right. There are a few tools available to you to bootstrap your own habit tracking practice.

Bullet journals are a potential solution. The problem is in the high cost of set up and worse, that you need to remember daily to go and fill the damn thing out. That’s the problem we were trying to solve in the first place!

It wasn’t until I started working at Assembly that I realized I could flip the script.

A System That Just Works

It’s just a template and a trigger.

Rather than proactively remember to track and go chase my journal down, Assembly comes to me and asks me to just check some boxes each night.

Assembly workflows are configurable to be triggered entirely passively. Set up a workflow to run every night to see if you committed to your habits for the day. The notification asks you to start and then you just do. No need to hunt down your journal, format it, or write things out over and over. Just check your boxes.

More powerful than that, Assembly allows you to prompt yourself in any way you see fit, leading to an opportunity to bake a set of questions, concept, reflections, or practices into your daily routine. Want to try gratitude journaling? Just ask yourself what you’re grateful for. Want to track your habits daily? Just ask yourself which habits you committed to that day. Want to pulse check your mood? Your weight? Your productivity? Your happiness? Just add it to the flow.

For me, my habit tracker is tacked on to a daily reflection workflow at the end of the day that covers:

  • a daily career affirmation
  • a productivity pulse check
  • planning for the next day
  • habit tracking

This helps me daily to recommit to my present set of priorities, to catch myself when I almost miss a habit for the day, to generate a log of what work I’ve completed each day, and to get a longitudinal view into how my productivity levels change over time and what factors might affect them.

As a result, I’ve put half my habits on autopilot and created fertile ground for developing new habits and daily practices.

These are my personal insights from Assembly.

My language learning and exercise habits run like clockwork, but the practice of tracking my habits daily is that I’ve been able to launch new habits. Each day I read something, send a question to my partner to get to know her better, and train my handstand.

I especially love that last one, it’s a  15-30 second little commitment to just flip on upside down against a wall that I knew I could do because I have this tracking practice to back it up.

Now I’ve been experimenting with all different kinds of daily workflows to tack on.

The beauty of Assembly is in the flexibility to design whatever workflow your desire and in the way it pulls responses from you rather than you having to push responses proactively into it.

Try for yourself or hit me up and we can work to build your flow together.

Originally appeared here.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

Explore Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered