New Year, New (Good) Habits: Practical Strategies for Making Fertility Awareness Routine
It’s one thing to decide to try fertility awareness charting, and quite another thing to jump in and make charting a habit. Say you’ve decided to embrace using Fertility Awareness-Based Method (FABM), such as the Sympto-thermal method or Creighton FertilityCare, and you’re excited to start charting. You might also be somewhat nervous about remembering to take your temperature, observe your mucus type, and record all of this information on a daily basis. It can feel like a lot to keep track of!
The good news is, when you incorporate some practical strategies, you’ll find that charting is much less overwhelming than it seemed before you started. As a psychotherapist, I know that the strategies you take make a big difference when it comes to starting any new habit. For fertility awareness, the following strategies will help the process of entering your data become second nature over time, making charting routine.
Make It Convenient
When you are starting any new habit, it’s important to make implementing your new habit as convenient and as simple as possible. When it’s convenient and easy to make your observations and enter your charting data, you will be more likely to do those things on a regular basis. In contrast, if making and entering your observations seems complicated and inconvenient, it will be easy to come up with a dozen excuses to put off charting.
Some ways to make charting routine include choosing specific times during the day when you have the time to make and enter your observations (such as right when you wake up and right before you go to bed), placing your charting materials in an easy-to-see and accessible place (such as right by your bed), and choosing a simple way of charting that makes sense to you.
Harnessing the power of technology is also a helpful way to make charting a successful and long-lasting habit. Simple strategies like setting recurring reminders and alarms on your phone can help you remember that it’s time to make and/or enter your observations. You can also use apps like FEMM and Kindara to enter your observations each day. Many of these apps have an in-app notification feature that can also help you remember to enter your data.
There are also easy-to-use thermometers like Tempdrop that can send your temperature data straight to an app on your phone. If you prefer pen and paper charting along with a regular thermometer, feel free to use them. It’s more important to choose the method that will help you be successful at charting than it is to use the latest app. But if you are open to using apps and other types of technology to record your observations, it can help make the process of charting simple and streamlined.
Create Behavioral Links
For most of us, we don’t think twice about brushing our teeth. It’s just something we do. In order to make charting feel as habitual as brushing your teeth, it can be helpful to create links between charting and other behaviors you already do. Doing this will not only does it make is easy to remember to observe and chart, but it also helps you fit charting into your everyday routine, which helps to ensure that you will be able to make it a successful and long-lasting habit.
Creating a behavioral link means attaching observing and charting to a habit you already do. For example, when you wake up in the morning, you can pair taking your temperature with turning off your alarm. Or, you could pair making your final observations for the day with brushing your teeth at night. You could also pair entering your observations with any journaling or reflecting you do at the end of the day. By weaving fertility awareness charting in with the routines you do every day without a second thought, you will make charting seem like something you’ve always done without thinking much about it. Soon it will become as easy as brushing your teeth.
Create a Routine
It might seem like an obvious strategy, but try to create a routine and chart at the same time and in the same way every day. By approaching charting the same way every day, you are creating a sense of repetition which helps ingrain the behavior in your brain in a lasting way. As time goes on, you’ll spend less time and energy thinking about charting, and it will become an automatic habit when you approach it the same way every day.
Once you’ve made fertility awareness charting routine, just think of the brainspace you will have freed up! With these tips, you’re one step closer to feeling more in touch with your body and mind.