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These are the best apps for building good habits



This article is republished with permission from Wonder Tools, a newsletter that helps you discover the most useful sites and apps. Subscribe here.

Most New Year’s resolutions are buried by now. April’s a great time for a fresh start. So today’s post focuses on simple, useful tools to help you revive a good habit or two. Read on for my favorite app for tracking habits plus a few alternatives.

Streaks

This app makes it easy to pick a few things you want to do daily or weekly and stick to them. Streaks syncs with the Apple Health app, so it can automatically track habits related to sleep, exercise, and steps. You can also use it just to check off the habits you stick to and to see how you’re doing over time.

Since I can’t keep up with all my habits every single day, I like challenging myself to improve on long-term patterns that the app shows. And I like being able to set up reminders at whatever time I want. 

  • Price: $6 iOS, watchOS and Mac only 

(Not Boring) Habits

This app gives you a virtual pat on the back when you follow up on your good intentions. Rather than just tracking habits, (Not Boring) Habits (NBH) is designed to help you form them. Many habit trackers simply list daily tasks. NBH instead is inspired by principles from behavioral science as well as elements of gaming. The aim is to gamify the process of establishing positive habits or eliminating negative ones. 

As you use the app, you progress through eight distinct levels, each representing a different aspect of habit formation. The entire program spans 60 days. That’s based on research showing that the average time it takes for a new habit to become automatic is 66 days (European Journal of Social Psychology, 2009). 

There are no ads and no data is collected. Your data never leaves your device. 

  • Price: $15/year, or you can buy a package of five different (Not Boring) apps for $30/year; iOS and Mac only 

Loop Habit Tracker

Loop Habit Tracker is one of the most popular Android apps for maintaining good habits. It’s completely free and open source. More than 5 million people have downloaded it, and it’s ended up with a 4.7 review rating in the Google Play app store. It’s not the most elegant or fancy-looking app, and there’s no gamification, but if you want just a basic habit tracker and data you can export when necessary, this is a good option. 

  • Price: free, Android only

Ink on Paper

Putting pen to paper remains an especially satisfying way for me to track habits. Analog habit-tracking feels good because it’s tangible. Paper feels more substantial than a laptop’s lights behind glass. And for real-world reminders, nothing beats my habit list eying me from the wall.

This article is republished with permission from Wonder Tools, a newsletter that helps you discover the most useful sites and apps. Subscribe here.

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