How you can change your habits and change your life

I haven’t written about productivity for a little while, mostly because I’ve been, well, productive!  It seems time for an update on that front and share what’s hot in 2013 that may be of interest to our readers.

Some folks love New Year resolutions as part of the ‘new year, fresh start’ kind of philosophy. I confess to not being a big fan, after all, how many of the good intentions seem rather forced and wither on the vine by mid February? Others have three words, which seems equally trite to me, especially if they change every year. I’ll be willing to bet few folks really think about those words come August.

None of us are perfect though, and we all have a few things we need to work on, good and bad habits, if you like that could be turned into something great that really makes a difference.

So what to do about it?

This year, a different approach seemed appropriate. I sat down and wrote a long, very honest list of things that needed working on, from exercising more to eating more healthily and being less distracted at work. We know that what gets measured gets done, so some sort of tracking device seemed in order. All sorts of things were considered including daily lists in my Reminders app or DayOne journal to jotting progress in a Moleskine to spreadsheets. None of them struck me as practical or enduring.

Then one day Tim Ferriss shared a link to the new Lift app on Twitter and curious, I checked it out.

It is currently available on the iPhone and iPad but you can sign up for alerts for the forthcoming Android app.

What is it, you might well ask?

“Lift is a simple way to achieve any goal,
track your progress,
and get the support of your friends.”

What’s all the fuss about?

At first sight, it’s fascinating; people checking in daily for the various habits they’ve created for themselves and others giving them ‘props’ or pats on the back or commenting on their notes.

Here’s a shot of my list from earlier this month, as a example of the clear clean and elegant design:

lift

 

The white ones illustrate those not yet checked in that day, while the green ones have a check-in associated with it.

Once you’ve clicked on a habit, you can make a comment and check-in as well as see at a glance how that habit is progressing from the bar chart:

lift app check in

Essentially, this simple and easy to use app allows you to create or select the habits you want to work on, check in, track your performance over time and monitor progress. Want to bike or walk daily, meditate, wake up by 6.30am, listen more etc etc then this is a neat tool for getting reinforce and encouragement.

The gracious comments from others has astounded me. One day I messed up and simply wrote, “Bad hair day. Failed.” Someone gave me props (encouragement) and another commented, “don’t be too hard on yourself!” And they were right, it was just the reinforcement I needed.

The most successful habits for me so far have been what were originally hard to change before using the app:

  • no emails before breakfast
  • wake up by 6.30am
  • Walk 10K steps a day.

Recently, I fell off the Fitbit wagon after it went missing at Newark airport and the lull sadly slowed what had once been a good habit. Lift allowed me to check in daily and get going again – gosh now the Fitbirds in BOTB will know the secret of rising up the leaderboard ;)

Conclusions

This is a great app, one of my favourites now and I’d highly recommend it, not only because it’s simple and easy to use, but also because it is highly effective. Since using Lift daily, I’ve got more work done by rising early and writing or working on my secret project (yes, there’s a habit for that) before the working day starts, risen up the Fitbirds Fitbit leaderboard from bottom to top and many other small accomplishments that make one feel more productive.

Interested? You can download the Lift app from iTunes here.

It’s easily my app of 2013 so far!

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Sally Church

Sally Church

Sally Church PhD is a scientist interested in improving cancer outcomes through research and more targeted, less toxic drugs. She runs a small boutique consulting firm based in Miami, FL that provides strategic advice to Pharma and Biotech companies in strategic analyses, thought leader market research and business intelligence. You can find out more about her insights into cancer R&D on her blog at http://pharmastrategyblog.com