Did you know that research shows it takes an average 66 days to form a new habit?!
I remind myself of this fact whenever I’m feeling guilty about straying from my commitment to do more yoga (Y7 is my current obsession). or unplug from technology before bed (breaking this commitment as we speak, don’t judge). I wish I could say that I’ve resolutions into habits with things like meditating, or drinking more water during the day.
Sixty-six days is a long, long time.
My track record might not be stellar, but the app I use to help me track all these habits is. The Today app is elegantly designed to help you track habits, and it’s the one tool I’ve found that keeps me on course. It encourages you to form new habits by allowing you to create small, manageable goals and uses a variety of smartly integrated analytics to track your progress.
Now, if you’re someone who likes to focus on your streaks (raises hand enthusiastically!), this app essentially makes creating a new habit into a game. The calendar interface challenges you to keep your habit alive for streaks – the longer your streak, the more badges you earn. Plus, it’s absolutely beautiful and super easy to use.
Sounds cool, right? Here’s how it works:
First, build a detailed dashboard for each habit you want to work on — say, for example, Drink a Green Smoothie, or Morning Meditation or, Get Thee To Yoga 3x/week. You can assign a pretty picture to each habit. I find looking at pretty picture to be motivating. This smoothie definitely looks a lot better than the grey-green concoction I make each morning.
For each habit, add your pretty photo, choose your desired frequency, and set an optional reminder.
Next, attach several progress monitoring cards to each habit, with the goal of giving you deeper insight into your progress. Options include an Apple Health or other customizable charts, and a journal. For example, if your goal is to exercise, attaching cards that measure steps, active calories, and track sleep might help you get there. I myself have added a to-do list of activities that help me unwind for bedtime without technology.
Finally, check-in your habit whenever you complete a goal. If I power down and spend the hour before bed reading a good book, then, WHOOP! I get that satisfying double-tap check-in. But if I’m reading emails and watching StyleCode right up until the moment when I try to get some shuteye, then no check-in for me. Streak ended. Chain broken. Game over. I’ll have to start all over again tomorrow…
Which might be just the motivation I need to power off and hit the mat for a little bedtime yoga sesh.
Are you using an app to track your habits? Fitness trackers count! Let me know in the comments.