This New Year, set yourself the challenge of changing or starting one habit. Yes, the idea of a New Year’s resolutions may seem old by now, but research shows that you’re more likely to achieve new goals this way. So make it easier on yourself and set that challenge.
It’s up to you whether the challenge is losing weight, quitting smoking, having a more positive outlook, or anything else. Whatever you set as your resolution, you need to visualize it and keep the big picture clear in your head. We’ve established three science-backed steps to achieve your resolutions, and this is one of them.
So if your goal is to lose weight, set a target weight for yourself — that’s your goal. Got it? Be realistic, don’t think up 10 new things. Just concentrate on one new habit to boost yourself. Now whip out your Android phone and let’s get to work.
Track Your Goal Regularly
Forming a new habit doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You need to give it time and keep plugging away, day after day, to ensure you reach your goal. In the meanwhile, to know whether you are getting there or not, you should track your progress.
Almost anything can be tracked when you have an Android phone. But the more beautiful your data appears, the more motivated you will be to use the app. TrackThisForMe is perfect for this purpose.
The app is really simple to use, and the free version is ideal if you’re changing one habit. It lets you set up five different things to track at a time. Add a value, choose the date, and add a comment if you feel like. But remember, don’t track what you did, track how close to your goal you are.
For example, if you’ve set an ideal weight you want to hit, then track your current weight each and every time. Don’t track when you went to the gym, which days you stuck to your diet and cheated, and so on. Those don’t help as much; instead, keep your eye on the prize.
Over time, you can view graphs and charts of your progress. You can also set up a reminder to check in daily and update your data, so that you get a steady, beautiful graph going. Based on your data, TrackThisForMe will even calculate when you are likely to reach your goal!
It’s somewhat like Loggr for iPhone, but TrackThisForMe is free for all the aforementioned purposes. There’s a pro version which adds more than five categories, comparisons, and other doodads, but the basic free app is good enough.
Jerry Seinfeld, one of the world’s leading entertainers, had a simple plan. When he was a struggling comedian, he made sure he wrote one joke every day and marked that date on the calendar. This productivity technique, often called “Don’t Break The Chain”, is among the more popular ones to build a new habit.
Pledge is the epitome of the adage, “Keep it simple.” Set up what you want to track. Choose how often you intend to hit the target — daily or weekly. Log in and tap “Yes” if you did go to the gym.
The other big finding of that aforementioned research is that people who publicly announced their goals to others achieved them more often than those who kept goals to themselves. Of course, if you’re losing weight, you can make it even easier on yourself if you automate sharing with wearable tech. But whenever you log your daily/weekly accomplishment in Pledge, you can share it with others via a social network or email!
At any time, Pledge will show how long you have maintained your streak, your personal best record, and you can tap the notification to see a calendar with dates that are green and red to show your success rate.
There’s a popular misconception that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Researchers at University College London found that 21 is far too few; the actual number is closer to 66 days — it still depends a bit on you, of course.
Personally, I think you should use either TrackThisForMe or Pledge, since it’s best to keep the tool simple and concentrate on the habit. But productivity and behavior are subjective. If you’d like to combine the two tools, and add the aforementioned 66-day target, check out HabitBull.
Set up a habit, add a reminder, and put a target of 66 days. HabitBull will then do the heavy lifting, tracking your progress to create a “don’t break the chain” calendar, turning the data into gorgeous graphs, and keeping you going with motivational phrases. Plus, the app’s interface is wonderful and it’ll have you coming back for more,
There’s a Pro version that adds extra features, but the free app is good enough to get things done.
Using an Android device and attempting a New Year’s resolution? We want to know. Down in the comments, share which app helped you achieve your goal — we’d prefer it was free, but paid ones will do too.