Science says that it takes a minimum of 21 days to form a new habit, and let’s face it, most of us could use taking up a few extra positive things to do. From drinking at least a litre of water a day to working out, reading a book a week, or putting in a little extra practice for your instrument or sport, everyone could be doing something better. But developing a good habit doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, there are tons of apps out there to help you not only master a new habit, but also to make it fun. We’ve chosen some of our favourites, now all you need to decide is where you want to improve.
We’ll start by keeping things simple, and if simple is what you’re looking for and you’re an iOS user, then Productive is going to be the way to go. The app itself is pretty much a regular to do list, but it tracks your habits and how often you perform them giving you congratulations for keeping things up.
Productive works best for simple habits, like drinking water, exercising for thirty minutes a day, that kind of thing. And you can set up a reminder system to help push you into going to the gym. Plus, you can set a “healthy” time of day where you get extra points for completing your habit (say exercising in the morning rather than after lunch or not using your phone after certain hours to ensure blue light doesn’t affect you getting a good nights sleep).
Right now Productive is iOS only and it’s free. But if you’re willing to shell out for the pro version you get extensive statistic tracking so you can see how you’ve improved. Sweet, simple, and zero learning curve, why make things difficult?
If you’re into simplicity and like the idea of Productive but don’t use iOS, then Todoist is a good Android alternative. It’s similar in that it’s a to do list kind of app, but with Todoist you earn karma points for completing your habit each day. There’s even different levels so you get the satisfaction of levelling up.
Todoist gives you all your stats in easy to read colourful graphs, making it good at motivation. Plus, there’s a web based version as well, so you can easily switch between the two depending on where you are. Again, it works best for building simple habits like water drinking and exercise. Todoist is free and available for both iOS and Android.
SuperBetter is cool if only because you get to pretend to be a superhero. The app basically trains you to be a better version of yourself. You get scores and levels and all kinds of motivating neat stuff. Plus, with SuperBetter whenever you enter a goal the app explains to you why it’s a good idea and what the impact will be on you as a person.
You’re free to enter your own goals, of course, or you can choose pre-loaded goals if you’re not sure where you need to improve yourself. And SuperBetter isn’t just for physical things, it also concentrates on improving your mental health, meaning it’s good not just for exercise reminders, but also for things like being more social or less anxious.
SuperBetter was designed by Jan McGonigal who’s best known for her gamification theories (which basically say that making life changes “games” makes you more successful at building good habits), so it’s backed by science. And it’s free and available for both iOS and Android.
Another super simple app, Done is as easy as it gets for habit tracking. You set up three habits you want to acquire and just tick off a box every time you perform your habit. Easy, right? And Done keeps track of all your stats, letting you arrange things in different graphs to see improvement. It’s free and iOS only right now, but a one time small payment lets you add as many habits as you like (rather than being limited to three).
Habitify is a great choice because it’s just so flexible. Again, it’s a simple app that tracks your habits and how often you perform them. But unlike many other habit building apps, Habitify is good for both concrete goals (drink five glasses of water a day) and more abstract things (find time to meditate).
You can divide a day into segments, and assign habits to a segment (or more than one), or simply track a habit during a day (useful if you want to, say, drink more water). And Habitify tracks your progress, giving you detailed stats and graphs.
Right now Habitify is iOS only, but it is free and includes Apple Watch support, so you can track your habits without even picking up your phone.
So you’re looking for something really fun? Then Habitica is the app for you. Basically, Habitica is an RPG. You set up a character and list the habits you want to acquire. The only way you can level up your character is by exercising your habit daily, increasing experience points and strengths. It’s really only good for daily habits (you’ll find your character building slow if you’re on a weekly schedule), but if you’re looking for seriously fun habit building, then Habitica is a great choice.
Right now Habitica is Android only, but it is free. Beware though, Habitica can get pretty addictive, and you risk drinking far more than your required eight glasses of water a day just to get to the next level…
Finally, HabitHub is the grand-daddy of habit apps and will let you do pretty much anything you like. You can set daily habits, weekly ones, or just general things (like reading more). You can track progress, or you can set a “chain” goal to complete your habit as many times as you can. You can even set rewards and, of course, reminders. And the statistic analysis is second to none, with HabitHub you can pretty much arrange your data how you like.
HabitHub is a great choice no matter what kind of habit you’re trying to build, and no matter what kind of motivation you need. But there is a small caveat: the learning curve here is a little steep, HabitHub is not easy to use simply because there are so many options. But if you’re willing to put a little time into learning the interface then this should be the only habit tracking app you’ll ever need.
HabitHub is free, though if you want to add more than five habits to track you’ll need to pay a small one time fee. Right now it’s Android only, but there is an iOS release on the way.