5 Free Goal / Habit Tracking Apps That Are the Best
Tracking your habits and goals can be hard especially if you’re trying to have a lot of these. Times used to be much simpler, no doubt, and people had exceptionally good lives in the smartphone-less past but we’re in a different world today. We’re distracted, we’re subjected to information overload, we have very little time to do things that we’d love to (blame it on ourselves) and we’re often running out of breath in keeping up with our goals and habits.
As much as I don’t like to use clichés, the fact is that apps really do help in forming good habits (or breaking bad ones) and keeping track of your goals. In this post, we’re going to take a look at some of the apps that caught my attention and sustained it over the course of a few weeks.
Rewire is my favorite – although the free version only lets you track up to 5 goals/habits. The app works on the philosophy of “streaks”. Once you set a goal/habit to track, you get reminders from the app asking you if you’ve followed the goal/habit for the day. You can choose between Done, Skip and Failed. As you keep to your goal/habit, you’ll see a streak (a chain) building up. On the days you skip, the dots turn blue but the chain continues. On the days you select “Failed”, the dots turn red and your “learning” for that particular habit/goal goes back to zero.
Rewire is interesting in many ways. The visual cue motivates you to keep to your habit but this happens after about 3-5 days of regularly following your habit/goal. You can categorize and colorize the habits, view the progress as bars or pie charts and add widgets to your homescreen.
HabitBull uses the same “streak” philosophy but builds on it. Rewire confines itself to habits and goals and tracking whereas HabitBull introduces a little more: motivational images and countable habits (like eat 3 vegetables a day). Like most other habit/goal tracking apps, HabitBull will remind you everyday about your goals and will ask you about your streak.
The number goals is what gives HabitBull an edge over Rewire. You can set a goal like “eat 3 vegetables a day” and everyday you can input how many you actually ate. This is tracked and you can measure how well you hold up with your initial commitment.
7 Weeks works on a simple principle: you have succeeded if you have followed (or broken a bad habit) continuously for 7 weeks. The objective is very similar to streaks but the focus is on two other things: “reasons” (why you have to follow/break this habit) and 7 weeks to success/failure. Unlike the previous two apps we’ve covered, 7 Weeks is kind of gamified. If you can keep up a habit for 49 days, you’ve won the game.
7 Weeks does not feature things like customizable days (where you can set days on which a particular habit is to be followed). In that sense, it’s limiting. You can only use this app for habits or goals that are to be followed everyday but that’s the point of 7 Weeks. However, one interesting feature you can make use of is adding “Reasons” to your habits. This way, you know what the primary motivation is for you to follow (or not follow) a habit.
You know how simplicity trumps everything else. Pledge stands testimony to that. Out of all the goal / habit tracking apps I’ve seen, tested and used, Pledge offers the path of least resistance. With its gorgeous UI and an extremely simple way of adding goals/habits (that it calls, smartly, a Pledge), the app tackles habit-formation in a simple, elegant and beautiful way. Pledge has all the bells and whistles but all of that is hidden beneath a very wonderful interface that almost inspires you to get things done.
Pledge does not blatantly use or rely on the “streak” philosophy (although there’s a bit of that hidden underneath). You can set daily or weekly goals only (you can’t customize goals for specific days) but the sheer simplicity of tracking goals through Pledge will probably make up for the limitation. If flat design doesn’t drive you away, Pledge will quickly be your favorite goal tracker.
I had a tough time deciding between Hanami and Streak. Both are good goal tracking apps. Hanami closely follows material design guidelines and has charts and graphs for a better visual tracking narrative. Streak loses all of that for core minimalism. The latter doesn’t feature glorious charts and tracking metrics. In fact, it doesn’t feature anything other than a big ‘+’ button to add goals (whose weekly frequencies can be 1-7). And then there’s this calendar that you tap if you’ve kept up with your goal/habit for that day. A tap ensures that day is charcoaled out on the calendar.
It’s so minimal that there’s nothing else to do on Streak other than add goals, log your progress for the day. But I think it’s smart in its minimalism.
So tell us how you set and track your goals and habits!