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10 Apps for tracking your habits, visualising your progress, and to help you stay on track
A habit tracker is a system that’s designed to help you visualise the progress you’re making in creating new habits.
This is a technique that was popularised by Benjamin Franklin in the eighteenth century.
Franklin wanted to have 13 virtues, 13 behaviors that he valued as a person. For this, he created a kind of calendar: in the columns were the days of the month and in the lines the 13 virtues that he wanted to acquire.
Each day that he fulfilled virtue, he marked an X on the table. The visual identification of the progress he was making kept him motivated not to break the X sequence. His focus was on the process, not the end result.
Nowadays, you can find several applications that do the same thing. With these habit trackers you just have to carry out your habit and then mark the X. When the sequence of X is forming, you will find it increasingly easier to fulfill the habit.
To make life easier, I’ve made a list of and commentated on 10 great application options for you to track your habits. You’ll find everything from simpler options to more advanced applications that use techniques such as gamification, social sharing, and even fines to keep you in the habit you’re trying to create.
Habit List is a unique habits tracker for iPhones which has, as its main advantage, a minimalist design and is very easy to use. You can list and reorder the habits however you want, including which days of the week the habit should appear in the list. As you chart your habits, a pie chart shows your progress for the day. By clicking on a habit, you also have a calendar view, showing the sequence of days when you completed the habit. The application also has the option to skip the habit when the behaviour doesn’t apply to a specific day.
2. Habit Bull
Available on iOS and Android, HabitBull also presents the habits of the day in a list format that can be reordered. Instead of simply checking whether or not you’ve done them, you can give more quantitative information. For example, you can make a note of how many pages you read, how many glasses of water you drank, or how many minutes you meditated. You can sort the habits by color and the app will generate graphs showing how you’re progressing in each area of your life. For those who need extra motivation, HabitBull even allows you to submit images that encourage you to keep the habit up.
Remember the habit agreement I talked about in the Atomic Habits book summary? Well, StickK is an iOS and Android application created by Yale University students that lets you easily sign habit contracts with other people. It works like this: you choose which habit you want to create or get rid of, set the parameters for whether or not you have done it, choose a community member (who may or may not be known to you) to serve as a prosecutor, and even set cash penalties in case of breach of contract. The creators say that the use of taxation doubles the chances of a habit being successful and the inclusion of financial penalties triples these chances.
Habitica is an application for iOS and Android which is different from the rest because it tracks your habits in a game. Each habit you list and fulfill will give you points that will allow you to level up. If you want to have a more playful experience in fulfilling habits, this is the ideal tracker for you
Exclusive to iOS, Productive is a pretty visual habit tracker, allowing you to add colorful icons to each of the habits you want to keep track of. The application stands out because it always highlights how many days you’ve been performing each habit without fail for, also having the calendar view for you to see the sequence of days marked positively. In addition to allowing you to define what days of the week habits should appear, Productive also groups your habits according to the time of day: morning, afternoon, night or anytime.
Done is a habit tracker with a focus on visual clues so you know clearly the progress you’ve been making. Exclusive to iOS, it shows the habits listed with a kind of progress bar that fills up as you mark the habit as done. You can mark each habit with a colour, take a calendar view and view graphs that show how your habits walk.
Available for iOS and Android, Habitshare has is a sort of social network for habits trackers. That is, in addition to listing and seeing your progress in habits, you can also add friends, share your progress, and even exchange messages. It’s suitable for anyone who needs support from other people to stay on track.
Available on web, iOS and Android, Coach.me allows you to hire coaches that will train you to fulfill your habits. The app comes with a set of default habits and still allows you to ask questions and get answers from the user community.
Exclusive to iPhone, Apple Watch and Mac, Momentum has the basic functionality of habit trackers, but also features some different features such as the ability to set goals for weeks and export all your progress in the form of spreadsheets. This can be very useful for those who like to analyse data in programs like Excel, Numbers or Google Spreadsheets. If you’re an Apple user, you can bookmark your habits on your phone, view the clock, and track your notebook, as everything stays in sync in the cloud.
Of Australian origin and available for iOS and Android, Balanced is a habit tracker that is minimalist and only focused on health habits. To avoid the mistake that many people make of wanting to create different habits at the same time, Balanced limits the user to three habits at once: their physical activity, the time they spend inactive and the time of sleep. Choose this option if your goal is just to track your health habits.