We’ve written a lot about habits over the last few years here at ProfHacker, and the challenge that’s sometimes involved in establishing and maintaining good habits, whether they’re habits of writing, exercise, or (fill in whatever good habit you keep trying to reestablish here).
Natalie’s written about the importance of tying the habits you want to to develop to your key values, and then tracking those habits. Pen and paper work just fine, of course, as do online solutions like those Natalie mentions in her post.
Lately, though, I’ve been using a mobile application to keep track of the habits I’m trying to establish. I’ve tried two: Good Habits and Habit List. They work similarly: you enter the habits you want to track, and check them off as you do them each day. I finally settled on Habit List because it offered more flexibility, allowing me to schedule habits for such intervals as “Monday, Wednesday, and Friday” or “four days a week,” as well as every day. Unfortunately, they’re both iPhone only, but a quick search turns up similar apps (such as Habit Streak and Habit Factor) for Android users.
Of course, tracking habits is one thing, and maintaining them is quite another--but I’ve found that looking at the app regularly at least reminds me of what I’m trying to accomplish (and some apps even have a helpful alert).
What’s been most helpful to you in establishing and maintaining good habits? If you have other approaches or applications to suggest, let us know.