Hacking Your Brain – Why Habit Tracking Apps will be Hot This Year

Every now and then, the zeitgeist or thinking of the world seems to shift. This has been happening ever since the internet really started to shape people’s lives. Say, 2000 or soon after. Back then, Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point, was hot. And it began a trend were stories on the web, stated to shape everyone around us.

And so it goes. First a number of researchers published works that proved that most masters, spent 10,000 hours practicing their craft, sport or musical instrument. And that they were not talented at all. Mounds and mounds of evidence continued to mount that, practicing was the key to success, not talent.

That mythical 10,000 hours is, four hours a day, five days a week, for ten years. Or the same as a part-time job for 10 years. So how can someone practice four hours a day?

At the same time, more and more research was piling up that motivation, discipline and willpower were all too weak to sustain diets, stick to exercise routines or practice anything for hours a day. But one little gem stuck out. It seems that once a habit is formed, it takes no will power to keep it going. Or at least, very little. So the key it seems, to sticking to a diet, exercising daily or making it a practice to practice is to form a habit.

 Habits are best formed if you:

  1. Make the habit small at first. Just run 10 minutes. Or do one pushup.
  2. Use a little will power or motivation to establish the habit. Like giving yourself a little chocolate to do one pushup a day.
  3. Once the habit is formed, then you can increase the intensity. Say 20 pushups per day.

Over time, the habit is not only easy to do, but you fell better after doing it. In fact, it gives you energy back. It’s like part of the brain rewards itself for completing habits.

As people are finding that habit formation is the new magic bullet, a lot of apps are on the market to help you track your habit building – as well as some great books on the topic.

One free app with a video link is here. It explains why habits work:

Other apps I can suggest:

  • Nozbe is available on nearly every platform, including mobile devices and desktops.
  • GoalsOnTrack. Robust goal-setting program.
  • LifeTick.
  • Strides. Goal and habit tracking program. iPhone Only.
  • Lift.
  • Habitlist The program provides the ability to create flexible schedules with habits that are to be done on specific days, non-specific days, or intervals. Iphone Only.