LIFT – an App to Track Habits

Technology is a beautiful thing, One of my favorite apps is called LIFT. Designed to help you “build better habits,” LIFT uses all the best tools of positive psychology to help you practice and solidify new habits or break the bad ones.


Like all good apps, LIFT is accessible via the web and/or your iPhone. It’s a coach, a support group, and a nudge-giver rolled into one.

First, you input the habit(s) you’d like to develop (or drop). The possibilities are limitless, but best to start small and build from there.

Second, you check in with LIFT each day to record your activity. Did you floss your teeth last night? Have you done those 50 sit-ups? Did you remember to call your mother? You have an option to editorialize on that day’s check in, e.g. “ran out of dental floss,” or “did 75 sit-ups!”

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LIFT tracks your progress, giving you a nice green check mark on the days you’ve marked off, and a bar graph gives you a broader picture of progress. My favorite feature is that your can set reminders for your iPhone. So if you can’t seem to remember to take that multivitamin every morning, LIFT will help you with that and reward you with the satisfaction of recording the deed.

Last but not least, the feature meant to really keep up your determination and enthusiasm is the social component to LIFT. You can connect your account to Facebook and Twitter (in the event your friends and followers care about your daily meditation.) Most users find it beneficial to join a group that shares a common goal and offer each other “props” for progress. On the flip side, you can opt out of all the social aspects and remain completely anonymous by using a pseudonym.

It’s highly customizable, but remember, it only really works if you are already determined to make that positive change. It simply reinforces that behavior through tracking, group support and visual feedback. If it truly takes three weeks to make or break a habit, give LIFT a try for 21 days, and see what happens.

Want to Succeed? Monitor Yourself

Have you ever heard of the “quantified self?” It’s what happens when technology meets self-monitoring. Other catchy phrases referencing the same thing are lifelogging, autoanalytics, and self-tracking. Self-monitoring is not a new idea (early adopters include Saint Ignatius and Benjamin Franklin), and most of us have been doing it for years in some form or another – think bathroom scales and heart rate monitors. But as a tried and true idea, self-monitoring — enhanced by technology — is gaining traction. Tracking the details of your daily existence has become hugely popular in the health and wellness industry because it’s effective and computers and smart phones have made it almost effortless.

If your goal is weight loss, diligently recording your food intake along with your activity level will dramatically increase your chances of success. Why? Because tracking diet and exercise increases your self-awareness on several counts. It keeps you focused on your goal, strengthens your commitment to self-improvement, increases your feeling of control, helps you understand patterns in your eating and exercise habits, provides a detailed picture of your progress, and promotes a more positive mood.

Sleep-Cycle-briefapps-icon-150x150But why stop at diet and exercise? We have a seemingly limitless choice of technology to help us track just about anything. From our moods (Mood Panda), to sleeping (Sleep Cycle), and even our menstrual cycle (iPeriod). The novelty is seductive, yet if you can find an app or even create a spreadsheet or handwritten chart that supports you in reaching your goal of self improvement, use it! Self-awareness is the key, and cultivating it through closely monitoring your activities will keep you on track and accountable.

I’ve used Strava and Sleep Cycle and have a client who swears by Fitbit. What tools do you recommend? I’d love to hear about your favorites in the comment section below.


Kirschenbaum, Daniel S. Ph.D. (2000) The 9 Truths About Weight Loss. New York. Henry Holt & Co.

Baumeister, R. F. and J. Tierney (2011) Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength. New York. Penguin.