It’s not easy to build a good habit or break a bad habit. These free apps and offline ideas will help you change behavior and meet your goals.
Many of us set resolutions at the start of the New Year with the hope of turning over a new leaf. But over the course of the 12 months, we can falter in our pursuit of these goals and objectives. Habit tracking apps can help you stay on course through reminders and by showing your accomplishments. Or if that doesn’t work for you, you can rely on friends or the power of shame to spur you into action.
1. Timecap (Android, iOS): Track All Time, Count, or Completion Based Activities
Timecap is one of the best habit tracking apps we’ve come across. In fact, it might end up being many user’s preferred habit tracker. In one app, you get to track different types of activities and check stats for your progress.
You can add an activity based on three criteria: one that counts time (for example, 30 minutes of mediation), one that counts repetitions (for example, eight glasses of water), and one that simply asks if you finished what you intended (for example, go to the gym). Timecap can set repetitions for this every day, week, month, or year.
All your activities are accessible from the dashboard. So you can add a count to the glasses of water without diving deep into a second menu. Activities can be color-coded, tagged, and so on. Timecap automatically counts your streak of repeating that act.
With all these features in the free version of Timecap, it’s already a fantastic app without paying for the premium version. But if you like the app, you might want to consider Timecap Prime, which adds custom day schedules, homescreen widgets for easier tracking, and in-depth statistics.
2. Confetti (Web, Android, iOS): Simple Habit Streak Tracker
Confetti is here to help you with the old “Don’t break the chain” philosophy of developing habits. The idea is simple. If you want to form a new good habit or break an old bad habit, commit to doing it every day.
The app has two modes for each habit: To Do or Not To Do. You’ll even find suggestions for each, with cute little emojis, like meditation and exercise in To Do as opposed to cigarettes and alcohol in Not To Do. The free version of Confetti allows for three habits, which is enough for your New Year’s resolutions at least.
When you complete any activity, mark it on Confetti. The app will even send you a reminder to check in every day. And it will track your progress, showing your streak in a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual calendar. Each activity gets its own color too, for an easy dashboard view of how you’re doing with your new habits.
3. HabitShare (Android, iOS): Private Habit Tracking With Friends
There are a few key strategies to form a new habit, one of which is to write it down and get an accountability buddy. That’s exactly what HabitShare offers. The app is a private but social way to track habits with friends.
You can add friends from your phone contacts, or search for their email address. But they can’t see your habits directly. Each habit is private by default. You get to choose which habit you share with which friend, and vice versa. So you might have a group with whom you’re tracking workouts, and another buddy with whom you try to quit smoking.
HabitShare includes a built-in chat system for you and your accountability buddies to encourage and motivate each other. The base habit tracking system is as simple as any other app. Add a habit, and mark whether you’ve done it or not each day. The simplicity and ease of use in HabitShare makes it one of the best apps for this.
4. Dollar Doer Club (Web): Fail Your Resolution and They’ll Run Ads About It
One of the scientifically proven methods to stick to goals is to announce it publicly and issue updates about your progress. It’s based on the idea of avoiding public shame and embarrassment. The Dollar Doer Club takes this idea to the next level.
You’ll be putting $ 30 on the line to ensure you stick to your goal, which is a 30-day challenge. So basically, a dollar a day. Fill up a simple form at the Dollar Doer Club, where you talk about your goal and nominate an accountability buddy who will verify whether you met the goal or not.
You also have to add a little embarrassing phrase, which will be part of the ads that flood your local area’s online impressions. Those $ 30 will buy 1000 impressions in your area, where Dollar Doer Club will say you failed your goal and let out your shameful phrase. There’s nothing like the motivation of public shame to get you to stick to your goal.
If you fail the Dollar Doer Club challenge for one month, don’t be hard on yourself. Take it again next month, that’s how habits form. If you succeed, you get your money back.
5. Habit Stick (Offline): A Free, DIY Habit Tracker With a Pencil
For many people, apps and gadgets only create obstacles in the path to forming a new habit. In fact, adapting to a system can make you resist the change you’re trying to bring about. Habit Stick is a free, DIY habit tracker anyone can make with an old pencil.
Developed by former MakeUseOf writer Erez Zuckerman, the Habit Stick follows a few simple principles. It’s free and easy to use. It is portable and tactile, so it’s always with you and you can fidget with it, as a constant reminder of the good habit you’re trying to form.
The idea is to chop off the end of a pencil, and split it into two with a line down the middle. One side is “pending” and the other is “done.” Put some rings on the pending side, and slide them over to the done side.
Erez has seen his share of habit-tracking apps, and the website pokes fun at the “features” you’ll see often on such app pages. For example, he calls the Habit Tracker “waterproof” and “open source.” Let’s face it, the Habit Stick isn’t ground-breaking innovation, but it’s the kind of simple habit tracker made for a techie mind who is tired of techie productivity hacks.
If you like this offline habit tracker, consider these free printables and ebooks to change habits.
Forgive Yourself and Restart
When trying to form a new habit, people tend to be hard on themselves. Every failure feels catastrophic, while every win isn’t celebrated. These apps and techniques hope to tell you how well you have been doing by highlighting your streaks, much like how your friends will give you that encouragement when you falter.
And that’s what you have to remember. If you mess up your habit streak, it’s okay. Forgive yourself and restart. You’re doing this to become a better version of yourself, not to seek more faults in you.