For a few months now I’ve been using an app called Lift to track my adherence to a set of habits I’m trying to cultivate. Lift is an app with which you “check in” to the habits you’re trying to build. Every time you, say, floss in the morning you can check in to the “floss” habit, and Lift will track how many times you’ve done that this week, or this month, and how long your current unbroken streak is.

Lift (list)I find this a great way to keep my motivation for some things that I might otherwise find myself being too lazy to do. If I know I’ve eaten breakfast every morning for a week then I’m less likely to skip it tomorrow when I find I’m running late for work again. Even for habits that I’m never going to have a long streak in — like cooking dinner — I can at least aim to do better this week than last week.

Lift (habit)Setting it apart from the other habit trackers that I’ve tried, Lift also has a social element. Everything you do in the app is public. You can see what habits other people are trying to develop, and see how they do. And of course everyone can see what you do too. There’s a sense of support in seeing how many other people are working towards similar goals to your own. You can give “props” — basically virtual high-fives — to other users for their check-ins. It’s nice to check in after a run and immediately get a few props from fellow runners acknowledging the work you’ve put in.

Lift started life as an iPhone app but it has since expanded to have a web app component, opening it up to all of the non-iPhone users too. It looks like it ought to work pretty well on a mobile browser so you could use the web app pretty effectively on an Android phone.

If you decide to try it out you can follow me.

6 Replies to “Lift”

  1. The subtitle of your blog should be “Better living through technology”

    I’m concerned that this app would only remind me of my myriad failures and expose my inability to meet the “Get out of bed by 8.30” life goal.

    Actually the whole idea has me depressed by my own inadequacy – the list I’ve mentally compiled for this includes things like “stop being negative on the internet” and “stop eating snacks between breakfast and brunch”.

    So far today I’ve failed to meet any of these… I fear that my attempts on this would end up something like this:

  2. @Rory, thanks for the post! Love hearing that Lift is working for you.

    @SJ: We try really hard to just highlight your accomplishments and not bug you about your failings. That’s the core idea behing positive reinforcement, that you can gradually shape more good behaviors and those will crowd out the bad ones.

  3. Considering trying this out – thanks! I’ve been on the lookout for ways to keep up the good habits. I’ve quit snacking and soda at work and it has meant my aim to drink more water has apparently now been met. The big issue I have now is that something like this would not help with my habit of spending too much time on various social online things (twitter, facebook, pinterest, blogging, email, instagram and so on) and more time present in my own life. Could I do it completely privately too? Just to avoid being too connected all the time?

  4. There’s no option to do anything in private as far as I know. There’s an option in the iOS app that says, “Notify me when privacy controls are available,” which implies it’s something they’re at least considering.

  5. Hi Rory and thanks – I joined to see if I could privately but it seems not to be an option. It is an odd thing about me but I generally tend to go the other way to almost everybody else in the world and if I tell people my goals I am way more likely to self sabotage than if I kind of quietly get on with it with no fanfare. I guess I’m a weirdo in that way.

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