Star Charts, a first round review

This summer I deployed star charts in hopes of gaining skills and acquiring better habits. The star charts started on the 13th of July and ended whenever I realized they were no longer working. In this post I will try to identify why.

This qualitative review of my progress will hopefully keep me accountable in the next iteration of the charts. I also hope it helps me identify weaknesses in my chart system. I've read similar self-review systems employed by by Benjamin Franklin in this 13 virtues.

Here we go.

I ran 3 charts concurrently, each with multiple goals.

  1. Health
  2. Fitness
  3. Misc.

I had intended to run a fourth, French, chart. But never got around to it.


This consisted of three tasks associated with the same prize pool.

  1. Water (a star for every 48 ounces)
  2. Fruits (a star at 2 fruit servings, an additional star for the third serving)
  3. Vegetables (a star at 2, 4, and 5 servings)

This chart was based on daily serving recommendations from

Prizes came from total stars: small Lego set, medium Lego set, new pair of jeans, new rain jacket, new pair of dress shoes.

Health Chart


The water goal is too difficult to reach. Forty-eight ounces is a lot, too much to drink at one sitting. This meant I was unable to reach a star when I remembered my chart.

My fruit and vegetable intake increased substantially. A site demonstrating portion size would be useful for this task. Now I eat both daily, but don't bother to record them, probably because...

The prizes were poorly chosen. None of the Lego sets really seemed worth the money, even if I did earn them. I ended up buying a pair of jeans anyway, It made sense to take advantage of a nearby sale. Dress shoes are nice, but not really motivating (not now at least).


This consisted of three tasks associated with the same prize pool.

  1. Neck exercises, twice a day for a star (from this video)
  2. 30 minutes exercise
  3. 10 minutes meditation

Prizes: Exotic meats from strip district meats, Firewatch (game), new casual shoes, Steeler's Jersey.

Fitness Chart


Prizes could be improved.

No motivation to do neck exercise at the end of the day if I hadn't done the first set in the morning.

Didn't prioritize hard/long workouts.

The exercising with other people reward was helpful.

I should have recorded on the actual dates. I tended to just use the next available square. This leads to a misleading chart. I did this on the health chart as well.


Three separate tasks.

  1. Don't use your phone before/after sleeping (wait until after you shower)
  2. Don't drink soda (by day)
  3. Make memes

Prizes: Internal Hard drive, Espresso Machine, Gaming headset.

Misc Chart


The soda one is working pretty well, I don't drink as much soda as I would otherwise. I think this one is easier because it doesn't require action to complete, just my inaction. Perhaps I can frame other tasks like this.

I was doing OK for phone usage, but I'm back to the terrible habit of checking it as soon as I wake up. I think charging my phone away from my bed will help me complete this chart.

I definitely made more memes thanks to this chart, but I still have a long way to go. It depends on how much free time I have. It's also not the most glamorous of goals.


Giving myself a C.

I will improve the next round of charts by: * choosing better prizes * keeping with the calendar system if I implement that way * define strategies for meeting the goals * make individual goals doable in the moment I remember to do them