The Best Habit Tracking App | 2020
“The Humanic.Tech habit tracking app was design to inspire users to keep chipping away at small daily goals while they quest towards their larger life goals. Continue reading below to learn how our habit tracker works.”
Written By Noah Cohen: Published July 14th, 2020 | Updated July 14, 2020.
Noah Cohen is the driving force behind Humanic.Tech, a habit tracking app and life dashboard designed to help people reach their most ambitious goals. 🚀
8 Minute Read
The Best Habit Tracking Apps of 2020 Will Gamify Self-Improvement and Show Goal Progress.
A habit tracker, a tool that can be as simple as a pencil and a calendar can be the difference between you becoming the person you want to become or failing miserably along the way.
Essentially a habit tracking app gamifies self-improvement by sort of tricking you into making your tomorrow’s better, by incentizing you to focus on today.
This is important, because when forming a new habit it’s easy to give up. Not only are forming new habits hard, but it’s also easy to get lost, distracted or discouraged along the way. Unfortunately, small daily victories often won’t feel like enough for most people and will cause many to quit along the way. Your “day” becomes your worst enemy. Your today stops you from having a better tomorrow, a better next month, a better next year and a better life.
Make The Day Your Friend
However, if you could better visualize your journey, and better see (through the use of data) how your decisions today will impact your life in a month from now or a year from now, you’ll be more likely to play the long game.
Without a habit tracking tool, the “day”, for many, will be their worst enemy. However, when using a habit tracking tool, your day becomes your ally. This is because habit trackers force you to shift your attention away from your big dreams, and instead but all of your energies into small, seemingly invisible daily wins.
In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg says:
“Small wins are exactly what they sound like, and are part of how keystone habits create widespread changes. A huge body of research has shown that small wins have enormous power, an influence disproportionate to the accomplishments of the victories themselves. “Small wins are a steady application of a small advantage,” one Cornell professor wrote in 1984. “Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win.”Small wins fuel transformative changes by leveraging tiny advantages into patterns that convince people that bigger achievements are within reach.”
Charles Dugigg continues by talking about the compounding benefits of small victories.
“Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.”
Having good habits is like having a super power. So let’s talk about how habit trackers, by forcing you to focus on today, can help you get us from where you are, to where you want to be.
Using a Habit Tracking App to Improve Behavior
In a previous blog post we talked about how conditioning a habit is the primary mechanism for installing it. This is why consistency is so important when you’re “installing” new habits. Even though it likely won’t feel like it in the moment, focusing on the “now” often ends up being a short-cut between you and your goals.
Habit tracking is wonderful because all you need to do is map out your journey and then follow a logical sequence of steps to help you get from where you are now, to where you want to be.
As stated earlier, you can track your habits using low-fi tech like a pencil and paper or by using a printable calendar or journal. There are also many different habit tracking apps online. However, in today’s tutorial we’re going to be using Humanic.Tech’s life dashboard, which has a habit tracking feature built in.
Let’s take a quick peak at the habit tracking desktop dashboard template.
Habit Tracker: The Dashboard
Habit Tracking Forces Your Focus on “Today”
Habit trackers work because they exploit a part of our brain which craves the dopamine release from the act of completing a task. However, habit trackers take this a step further because they also gamify the experience along the way.
Video game developers use similar strategies when they integrate game mechanics like “winning streaks” into their games. Within this type of game, if you fail at your quest, you have to start over. The further you get in the game’s quest, the less you want to experience the feeling of “starting over”. The further you progress into the game, the higher the stakes get. In cognitive psychology this is known as loss aversion. As humans, for better or worse, we tend to be more sensitive to losses than then we are to gains.
Habit trackers wisely exploit this human tendency by shifting our focus away from achieving some lofty long term goal and force us to focus instead on not losing in the moment.
Interestingly, habit trackers strategically use our own weaknesses against us, to help us become better versions of ourselves.
So why is this important? Well, this is important, because now all of the sudden, our “today”, which we often consciously or subconsciously treat as our “enemy”, will now be treated like our ally and friend because habit trackers redirect our focus and place a higher priority on the present moment.
We must remember, that “today” is where the battle will be fought. We will either win or lose the battle against ourselves today.
James Clear, in his book Atomic Habits states:
“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”
Essentially, each day we focus on our new habits, we’re putting in a “vote”, for the person we’re trying to become. A habit tracker, by design, makes the voting process addictive.
Habit Tracking: Reward and Punishment
Habit tracking works because it gamifies the experience of self-improvement. A habit tracker will reward you for staying consistent with a habit and punish your for not staying consistent. Often, this reward and punishment won’t be extreme. Doing something for “X” number of consecutive days is a reward in and of itself.
The more consecutive days you’ve done something for, the bigger the negative feeling associated with breaking your track record (see “loss aversion” above). Many people trying to develop a new habit, don’t have a problem performing the task. Instead, they have a problem finding the motivation or time to start a task. A habit tracker can be a great tool to help you start the activities you’re trying to turn into habits. This is because habit trackers place the focus on starting the activity.
In one of our blog posts on building good habits, Scott H Young talks about how habits require two kinds of efforts in order to get done. He says:
There’s an initial effort corresponding to making the decision to act. It’s easy to recognize that these initial costs are often the majority of our issues in our work and lives. We don’t have a problem *being* at the gym, but *going* to the gym. Similarly, we often don’t have a problem working, but starting work. This is the kind of cost that can be reduced through clever conditioning and habits.
In Humanic’s activity tracking app, every time a user completes a task, they can mark that task as complete. Over time, users will notice a strong correlation between how consistent they are with their habits and how much progress they’ve made with their bigger life goals. Take a look here and pay attention to the bar chart under the line graph.
These bar charts show the “inputs” that lead to certain “outputs”. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, you can draw a direct line between your gym and dieting habits and your desired outcome. This helps users establish causality, which makes sticking with a habit much easier once you can visualize (through the user of data), the connection between your daily activities and your bigger goals.
Notice that every time we tick something off in our goal setting worksheet, we start the process of building a “chain”.
If we ever miss a day, we’ll essentially be “breaking our chain”. The more we’ve invested into building a long chain, the less likely we’ll want to be to break it (again, see “loss aversion” above).
Don’t Break the Chain
As you continue to make progress in each area of your life, you’ll become incentivized to not ‘break the chain”. There is a psychological cost associated with losing the momentum we’ve created and breaking our streak. Even if there is a bit of pain associated with doing a task, it’s not as much pain as you’d feel by breaking your streak. In a nutshell, this is the beauty of habit trackers.
Habit Tracking Apps Should Give You Perspective
One of the reasons why I love Humanic’s habit tracking tool is because it 1. handles all of the data processing automatically and 2. it gives you perspective.
It’s not enough to know that you’ve done something for 18 consecutive days. At the end of 18 days, you need to know where that puts you within your larger goal. With Humanic, it’s all automatically calculated for you AND you can view all of your information laid out on one dashboard. This layout helps you see the synergistic relationship between the different parts of your life.
If you’re just using a calendar or pen and paper, you might not be able to see these important correlations very easily.
Zoom In and Zoom Out
Look at the chart below and notice that you can “zoom in” view your improvements on a daily or weekly basis or view your overall progress as you quest towards your larger, more ambitious targets.
This is important, because it stops you from feeling defeated when you wake up every morning not being at your finish line. Using the horizontal bar chart to the right, you’ll be able to see your bigger picture progress broken up into quarterly milestones.
This is important because it’s easy to get discouraged when you always feel so far away from achieving your goal. However, it’s much easier to stay on track, when you set smaller milestones alone the way. Hitting that 25% mark feels great, and it gives you the confidence to know you’re on the right track. It helps prove that your small daily victories are compounding and you’re getting closer to your final destination. This is often all of the incentive you need to help push you towards your next milestone of 50%.
In summary, as humans we often put our focus on some big event, when really it’s the small daily victories we should be focusing on. Habit trackers help us make this switch. If you’re interested in getting access to our iOS and Android compatible habit tracker, then sign up for Humanic.Tech today.
Sign Up & Get The Habit Tracking App
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