Trying to walk 30 minutes daily? Sleep 7+ hours nightly? Meditate? There’s an app for that!
If you’ve embarked on the journey to a healthier you (and who doesn’t want to upgrade life?), you may have already made a S.M.A.R.T goal that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.
But how to keep with it after the initial enthusiasm wears off?
For some people, sticking stars on a paper chart – or using an app that’s the digital equivalent – is helpful for motivation and tracking progress. Though the greater goal may be to avoid cancer, diabetes and stroke, the daily satisfaction of giving yourself a star sticker or digital click may be just what you need to get your new habit rolling.
Keep reading for a short list of free habit-tracking apps plus instructions (and .pdf printouts) for good, old-fashioned star charts favored by kids and those who prefer paper.
Please share tips, your favorite habit apps and your progress with us by commenting or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do One Thing
You choose the habit you want to form; this free app from the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance helps you track progress and awards visual fireworks when you reach your goal. You can also set your own rewards. You can customize your own habit (file toenails once a week) and there’s also a terrific habit library to get you started: Acts of Kindness, Appreciate Your Partner, Eat Lots of Colors. Currently just for iPhones.
My Fitness Pal
A popular nutrition and fitness tracker, My Fitness Pal includes a huge database of foods. Ideal for those who are motivated by logging their exercise and everything they eat. Available on multiple platforms for the web and your mobile devices so you can easily sync.
Another popular tracker of food intake and exercise output. Also includes goal setting for sleep, macronutrients and body measurements. Available on several different web and mobile platforms and the paid versions also play nice with big-name digital pedometers and scales.
Turn your goals into a game by assigning points to each habit you want to work on, earning up to 100 points per week. Also used by sales teams and corporations as a motivation and accountability tool.
This habit-tracking program uses community (aka peer pressure?) and coaching to help you stay on track. It’s a good fit for people who are comfortable with crowd-sourcing and being public about their progress. Available for iPhone and Android.
STAR REWARD CHARTS
Even in an era of digital bells and whistles, there’s still something oh-so-satisfying about sticking a star on a grid to celebrate a daily accomplishment. Here are some tips and pdfs from Raising Children and Netmums about star charts.
Visit Pacific Science Center to use the Optimizer, Planner and Barrier Feud in Wellbody Hall to create personal goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.