Create small, manageable goals and track your progress.
Pfft – so easy, right? Right??
Kicking bad habits or establishing good new ones is no walk in the park. But, yes, you CAN do it and it can even be fun.
According to one study, it takes 66 days to form a habit. If you can stick with actually making your bed for just over two months, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to stick with it … forever.
These apps will remind you to actually complete your habit every day and keep you motivated!
1. HabitBull (free, iOS and Android) is my favorite habit tracking app you don’t have to pay for.
Their free version gives you everything you want in a habit tracking app:
- easy-to-understand interface
- multiple habit tracking (up to 5 for free)
- a graph that tracks “streaks”
- motivational quotes
- a built-in supportive community trying to achieve the same goals as you
- a daily, weekly, and monthly view
HabitBull is perfect for people who have flexible habit-building goals (like biking to work three times a week, instead of every day). The app doesn’t limit you to one daily reminder – you can customize an alert for certain days of the week and various times.
You can also track your habits with a number, instead of just yes/no. If, for example, the desired habit is to read 30 minutes every day, you can just enter “15 minutes” and still feel like you’re working toward your goal.
Another feature I love is being able to set a target date for each habit.
Underneath each habit is a progress bar, which I find very motivating. If you’re striving to workout every other day until your next vacation, this is the app for you.
It seems shortsighted to set a target date, right? After all, these are good habits you’re trying to build for life. In the target date section, HabitBull kindly reminds you that it takes 66 days to form a habit. If you can complete the habit every day for three months, you’re golden.
Best of all: you don’t need to register or sign in with Facebook or any of that crap. You can download the app and start using it right away.
The premium version, which costs $4, offers tracking up to 100 habits, cloud backup, multi-device syncing, and data export – but you don’t need it. Note: If you really love the app, upgrading is something you should do, if only to support their team.
2. Productive (free, iOS) creates an easy-to-read daily habit schedule.
This app separates your goals into three categories: morning, evening, and do any time. It turns your habits into actionable, mangeable to-dos. I like that before noon, Productive will only show you A.M. habits. It forces me to incorporate my new habits throughout the day, instead of rushing to get them done before I go to bed.
One con is that it’s iPhone only. There’s a similar Android app called Rewire (free) that sorts habits into a daily “widget” accessible from the home screen (if you’re on Android you’ll know what I’m talking about).
Another downside to Productive is that the free version is pretty limited. To get access to stats, reminders, and a lighter interface, you’ll need to upgrade for $4.
3. Strides (free, web) is great for specific goals, like saving X amount or reading X number of books.
What I like about Strides is if you’re tackling something big, like losing weight or saving up for an expensive vacation, you can set up a Milestone Tracker to help break down those bigger goals into smaller steps.
It’s a website, so you can access it from any device with an Internet connection. There’s a free iOS app as well, for offline tracking.
Strides is ideal for money-related goals and saving habits.
The app creates mini monthly or weekly goals for you. For example, my goal is to save $8,000 by December. I added my target date to Strides, and the program created a savings plan for me. I need $2,000 by April 3, $4,000 by June 23, and so on.
Streaks is a to do list-oriented app that can track a variety of things. It’s unique because of its integration with the iOS Health app. It can automatically track your steps, measure heart rate, or how many miles you ran. Streaks is great for beginners, because the app is simple (only six habits at a time) and very visual.
5. Habitica (free, iOS, Android, web) is an app that turns goal and task management into a fun video game.
If you want an app to keep you accountable, try Habitica with a handful of friends. It gamifies all tasks (not just habit building). As you mark each item as complete, you’ll earn achievement badges and currency that can be redeemed for cool gear.
You can collaborate with and challenge friends by “battling monsters.” If either of you slack off, everyone gets hurt.
6. Coach.me (free, iOS, Android, and web) offers pre-made habit “plans” and personal coaches available for hire.
If your goal is to run a half marathon and you have no freaking idea how to go about doing that, Coach.me’s structured plans (ranging in everything from productivity to fitness) can help. Some of the routines have videos that guide you through different exercises to help you meet your goal.
You can also add freeform goals to the app for unique habits like, “play chess with Grandma 1x a week.” But Coach.me isn’t really tailored to that. They focus on motivators like community forums and personal coaching for certain goals (starting at $15) to get you through.
My experience with the app was very frustrating. After a week, it kept crashing – but you may have better luck with Coach.me on Android or the web.
7. Momentum (free, iOS and Mac) is a *very* minimal app that focuses on “chains” or streaks.
Momentum is simple (and may be overly so, for some). There aren’t motivational quotes or colorful icons – just your habit list, a calendar, and some stats. The app focuses on “chains” or streaks. The goal is to work at building your habit every day, to keep the green streak going as long as possible.
If you’re not feeling it that day, Momentum is forgiving. Press and hold the date to skip it or add a note.
It’s built specifically for Apple users, so there’s a companion Mac and Apple Watch app, too. For unlimited habits and iCloud syncing between your devices, you’ll need to upgrade for $5.
8. Habit Streak (free, Android) encourages you to complete your new habits every day.
The app uses a question format (“Did you put away your clothes?”). Each day you report on the previous day. Like Momentum, Habit Streak focuses on streaks (hence the name) and you can easily see how many days you’ve accomplished from the daily view.
If you want to track more than five habits (or are tired of the red interface), download Habit Streak Pro for $1.49.
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