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Make Good Habits Stick Easily With Productive—the Habit Tracker

Make Good Habits Stick Easily With Productive—the Habit Tracker

Building good habits like establishing an exercise routine, reading every day, or drinking enough water take a lot of focus and motivation. At times, it can be easy to forget to continue your good habit once you started. Some days you might lack the motivation to even try. You might have found that once you’ve gone a few days without your good habit, you lose enthusiasm to continue. 80% of New Years resolutions fail but the second week of February.[1] It is a wide spread, and common problem.

What we need, then, is a way to easily keep track of our good habits. For example, if someone wanted to run for twenty minutes a day, it could be useful to have something to help them plan their day around it, or keep track of the days they have succeeded in running for twenty minutes.

The app Productive has been designed with this is in mind. Effective use of the app could make maintaining good habits easier, and fun, thanks to the numerous ways the app helps you. Let’s take a look at how Productive helps you build the habit you’ve always wanted.

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1. Plan your day

What makes the app so useful is that it encourages you to break down when exactly you want to engage in your good habit. It gives you the chance to decide and separate your positive habits into morning and afternoon habits, which gives you the needed push to ensure you do them.

When I started meditation I noticed that when I chose a specific time in advance to meditate, I was far more likely to follow through with my plans and actually meditate when compared to times I didn’t have a particular time in mind. This app ensures you won’t make the same mistake I did.

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    2. Focus on your habits

    The app is very clearly organised by habit, unlike other ways of scheduling, where your habit might be easily lost or drowned out by other options. Displaying things in a simple, and clear manner makes your habit a clear goal to be achieved.

    3. Establish a routine

    In many ways, we all live by routine. The things you do every day are done almost without thought. Everything from brushing your teeth, to the drive to work are done the same way because it is routine to you. Once something has been established as part of your routine, you don’t need to worry about remembering to do something, or finding the enthusiasm to do something, in the end you just do it. If you want to set up a good habit, making it part of your daily routine can be hugely important.

    Productive helps you do that by helping you keep track of the days you have performed your positive habit, and the days you have not.

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      4. Sustain motivation.

      Productive keeps a record of all of your statistics and successes, available for you to check on at any time. This means that progress will feel all the more real and concrete. It is easy to not do something if you don’t think you are making any improvements in it. As you are able to see for yourself how well you are doing in maintaining your good habit, you will naturally feel more motivated to continue.

      The app can log your progress over weeks. After a month or two, you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come since you’ve started. This might even give you the extra enthusiasm to start establishing many other great habits.

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        Currently Productivity is only available on iOS devices. You can install it for free and start to build habits with its basic functions. Install Productivity here.

        Or you can consider the premium version which is reasonably priced and you can subscribe to it from anything from one month, to one year or more. With the premium version comes with all features and is fully customizable and so can you can tailor it to suit your preferences exactly.

        Reference

        More by this author

        Brian Lee

        Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

        100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier 10 Best New Products That People Don’t Know About Book Summary: The Power of Habit in 2 Minutes 1 Minute Book Summary: How To Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less 2 Minutes Book Summary: Thinking Fast and Slow

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        Last Updated on July 17, 2019

        The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

        The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

        What happens in our heads when we set goals?

        Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

        Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

        According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

        Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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        Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

        Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

        The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

        Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

        So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

        Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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        One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

        Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

        Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

        The Neurology of Ownership

        Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

        In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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        But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

        This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

        Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

        The Upshot for Goal-Setters

        So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

        On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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        It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

        On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

        But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

        More About Goals Setting

        Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

        Reference

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