These days, it seems that there’s an app for just about everything – ranging from mobile apps that help you to keep track of your daily calorie consumption, to apps for journaling, secure messaging apps, apps that tell you about the weather, and all sorts of other things as well.
One of the app categories that is becoming increasingly popular, however, is habit trackers – with huge numbers of people around the world being motivated in large part by books like “Atomic Habits” by James Clear and “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg to begin proactively changing their lives by changing their habits.
But even if you’ve never heard anyone explicitly detailing the benefits of tracking and managing habits, it’s probably fair to say that we all understand, on some level, that the things we do habitually, day by day, can end up having a very powerful cumulative effect on the direction and quality of our lives.
Here are a few reasons why everyone should use a habit tracker.
To remind you of important daily tasks that you might otherwise forget
One great reason to use a habit tracker is to help you to remember important daily tasks that you really can’t afford to forget, but which you might forget if you don’t have a reliable reminder in place.
Taking medication often fits into this category, for example, whether the medication in question is something like Duac gel for acne, or any number of other things.
With a good habit tracker at your disposal, you will be reminded on a daily basis of the things you should be doing and paying attention to – and even if you don’t “tick off” every habit on your list, the reminder can certainly, at the very least, help you to stay on top of your most urgent and pressing routines.
To help to bring your attention back to the present moment a bit more
On a day-to-day basis, it can often be difficult to remain properly centred in the present moment. Instead of taking things one step at a time and calmly dealing with what’s right in front of us, most of us find ourselves constantly ruminating about the past, worrying about the future, and struggling to figure out what we should do at any given moment.
A habit tracker can give you a clear sense of the kinds of things you should be doing in the here and now, and this can help to bring your attention back to the present moment and to relieve you from the unnecessary and unwelcome stress that can occur as a result of not being present in your life on a moment by moment basis.
This is one way that habit tracker apps tend to differ very significantly from more ambitious and all-encompassing to-do list trackers and general task and project management systems. With those other apps and systems, it can be easy to become completely overwhelmed by all sorts of different goals, tasks, projects and plans that span everything from chores that you need to deal with today, to goals that you hope to achieve within the next several years.
Habit trackers bring things back to the present moment, and can be a very welcome reminder that the only way to really progress in a direction that you value is by taking the right actions in the present moment.
To help you to consistently “cast votes” for the kind of person you want to be
James Clear, author of the highly popular book “Atomic Habits” has a very compelling viewpoint about habits: he argues that each repetition of a given habit should be viewed as a “vote” that we are casting for the kind of person we want to be, and the particular identity we want to step into and embody.
According to Clear, goals and ambitions are often really about the kind of person you want to become and the kind of identity you want to embody, even if you don’t necessarily explicitly think of it in those terms. The problem is that if you’re unfit and have never gone to the gym, it can be very difficult to step into the identity of a fitness enthusiast.
Clear’s argument is that our repeated habits are what allow us to step into those different identities.
The catch is that it’s not only your positive habits that shape the person you are, but your negative habits as well. So, even more reason to properly track your habits in order to ensure that you are casting the kind of “votes” you want to cast.
To help to make the process of managing your habits more fun and engaging
It’s probably fair to say that, at any given time, most people are consciously trying to manage their habits in one way or another – whether that means eating less junk food, vacuuming the house more often, or practising a new language daily.
The thing is, managing your habits isn’t necessarily always going to be a fun and engaging process.
Habit trackers – particularly dynamic and interactive habit tracking apps – can help to make the process a lot more fun and engaging, and can actually get you looking forward to achieving your daily habits.
Habit trackers such as the “Done” app, for example, utilise a great combination of elegant design, bright colours and engaging visuals, and motivating audio effects to make the process of staying on top of your habits something that you like doing.
To make you less likely to procrastinate with your dreams and passions
Unfortunately, it’s extremely easy to end up in a situation where you have a dream of achieving a particular thing, or developing a particular creative talent, but then never end up acting on that dream at all.
How many people out there, for example, keep putting off learning an instrument, or writing a novel, or creating a side business?
A habit tracker, where you set yourself daily habits to work on those dreams and passions of yours, can make you significantly less likely to fall into the trap of perpetual procrastination, firstly by constantly reminding you of what you should be doing each day to engage with your dream or passion, and secondly by giving you some manageable actions you can take each day in order to align with your dreams and to manifest them.
To help you to feel less overwhelmed when taking steps to be the kind of person you want to be
A sense of overwhelm can get in the way of all sorts of noble aims and ambitions, and can often cause individuals to become habitually passive and to feel as though they are stagnating in life.
Trying to figure out how to go all the way from point A-Z in the pursuit of a given goal or ambition of yours can be nerve wracking. In fact, it may be impossible – as the road ahead often only reveals itself a step or two at a time.
As a matter of fact, various advocates of habit setting and management argue specifically against goal setting for this reason, among others.
A habit tracker can help to simplify things, and can give you a select number of tasks to focus on, on a daily basis, that will nonetheless help to move you more in the direction you want to go in, while turning you into the kind of person you want to be.
When you are taking steps in the right direction day by day, and are avoiding the trap of becoming overwhelmed by the need to “have it all figured out,” your stress levels are bound to be significantly lower.