tips and tricks

Tips and Tricks! This Habit App Will Kick You Into 4-Wheel Drive

Guys, let it be known: as of the moment I’m writing this, no one is paying me to say this. I just freaking love this habit app.

 

Habit Bull has been rocking my world since last winter. It’s been humbling, inspiring, and massively motivating to use on a daily basis, and I’m totally hooked. I want to give you a tour of the app and show you how a productivity app like this can keep you on track and “gamify” your habit goals.

 

Also, I want to note that sharing screenshots from this app required me to get pretty vulnerable with you all. You see, the thing is, so as it turns out… I’m not superwoman.

 

“Wait, What? Really? But you are a habit coach!! THIS IS YOUR JAM!”

 

I could write a whole blog on this, but for now, here’s a spoiler alert: people write about the things they need most. And in my life, I’ve needed HABITS. While some areas of my life are more consistent than others, I routinely fall off the wagon and get back on, even with the habits and rituals that mean the most to me.

It’s true that sometimes I intentionally skip a habitually behavior. I skip my morning ritual if I make a conscious decision to sleep in the day before a big event and understand I won’t have time for it before getting ready. Skip weightlifting when I’m traveling. Say no to cardio when I have the flu. But there are other times when I just stay up too late for no good reason, get distracted, or forget to set my alarm, and these are the times when I fall off track. And then…

My morning ritual, which is very close to my heart, fell victim to my inconsistency last winter. When that happened, I said, NOPE. I’m putting up a fight before my lizard brain takes that one from me.

So back in January, I started hunting for a way to stay on top of my ritual habits (intuition writing and meditation).

 

I loved Habit Bull so much, I ended up adding a lot of other habits on too. I am currently tracking a bunch of stuff, from watering the herb garden and flowers on my balcony that I keep somehow managing to almost kill, to doing yoga once a week.

This app is versatile, has a beautiful design, and is super easy to use. So let’s take a tour.

 

When you start using this app, you get 5 free habits. If you want to track more than that, you need the paid version. I honestly don’t think tracking more than 6-7 habits is a good idea anyway, but I purchased the app mainly because after I bought a new phone I realized I couldn’t transfer my data, because you can only transfer data with the paid app. Wuh-wuh. The premium version isa one-time purchase of just under $5 on iOS or Android so it’s not a big deal. I say just do it if you want to still have your data when you level-up your mobile device.

Above is a screenshot of the main screen, where you can track all your habits.

First, before you call the Plant Protective Services on me, I added the plant watering habit in  June, and this screenshot is of April, so it doesn’t count!

 

Each time I enter a habit to track, it lets me tell it what “success” means for me, whether that’s every day or once a week, and whether or not I need to meet a certain benchmark to call it successful (e.g., for me cardio has to be at least 20 minutes to count, and if I enter less than that it gives me credit but kills my streak). You can see that one of the cardio days has a speech bubble next to it, indicating that I provided notes on that activity (I usually write a little about what I did for cardio that day).

Here you see a page honing in on the nitty gritty stats for a specific habit.

Streaks are where this app is brilliant.

You want to collect a streak, ideally “winning” by hitting that 66 days of hitting streaks mark. (Note, you can adjust the time frame for winning, but I think keeping it at 60 or 66 is best. This is in line with the latest research on how long it takes to form a new habit.) So that doesn’t necessarily mean doing the behavior every day for 66 days; my weightlifting goal is once a week, so if I weight lift once a week over a 66 day period, I’ll “win.” I haven’t won at any of these YET, but I’m getting close on a couple of them now.

You can see above, that back in April when I took these images, I had made 14 attempts to make it to 66 days without missing my journaling, and the closest I got was 46 days straight. So close!

Here’s the monthly view on a specific habit. This is for my intuition writing , and you can see I’m doing pretty well at that, even though I’ve set the bar high. It has to be done daily to be successful, so missing just once means losing my streak. So when I didn’t do any writing on the 29th of April, it went back down to zero. Still, 82% successful – I’ll take it.

Side bar about the side bar… sharing these stats feels ultra vulnerable for me.

You can see my “total success” rate at the top, which hovers consistently around 60%. Then you can see my overall success rate and longest streak for each habit. Ironically, even though I do intuition writing almost every single day, I don’t have a high streak there. This is because my meter of success for this is #everydamnday. Since I only committed to weightlifting once a week for now, I am actually doing pretty solid on this one.

But yoga… oooh yoga. I feel like I need to write a long apology letter to my yoga mat. My goal is only to get to yoga once a week – a pretty reasonable goal, I think! – but this season of my life it has just not been happening. This has been super awkward for me, because I teach yoga on the side, so I’m definitely feeling a little hypocritical not practicing what I preach.

All the more reason to dedicate some journaling to WHY this habit matters to me to motivate me to get back to it.

(I wrote more on why knowing your WHY is the most important aspect of habit success here.)

 

So as you can see, this beautiful little app is super versatile. It’s helping me not kill the basil and mint on my balcony, meditate more regularly, and take walking breaks when I’m working. And, maybe, with time, it will get me back to hot vinyasa once a week. I’m working on it.

 

What habits would an app like this help you most with? In what way can you “gamify” a tricky habit today to help get you to your goals?

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