Today we’ll be looking at two applications, one for each approach. Fail Log tries to help you break bad habits, while Success Log aims at developing new, healthy ones. Both apps have a virtually identical interface, except for the color and the labels. I decided to keep this review positive and focus on Success Log for most of my screenshots.
Here’s what it looks like:
When you first start the app, a fairly lengthy introduction shows up. Take a moment and read it. With apps like this, half of the work is understanding the system and using the app correctly. Next, the app invites (or rather, orders) you to make a habit you could log:
Note the stress is on positive accomplishments. One of my own bad habits is biting my fingernails; this is not something I can work to solve with Success Log. So let’s go for something positive:
Sounds good! Everybody agrees it’s important to stay hydrated. Note how I worded the habit in past tense – I will be logging it once I’ve done it. After adding this new habit, my list now looks like this:
Lots of room for other habits I could track, too. A short tap on the habit immediately exits the app and pops up a Toaster message:
The idea is to make it easy for you to track your successes by popping into the app, single-tapping an entry, and moving on with life. An elegant workflow, and as you can see on my homescreen, there’s also a widget showing your “Success Count” at a glance. To log a new success, simply tap the widget and the app will launch. Tap whatever task you just succeeded in, and you find yourself back in the homescreen, with another success marked on the counter.
Okay, so you can count your successes. Actually, that alone may lead to developing some good habits. But Success Log goes further by letting you plot your habits on a “heat map”. I just started using the app, so my heat map is nearly empty. You can still read the explanation text to understand how it works, though:
Here’s what a fuller heatmap looks like, from Fail Log’s screenshots on the Market:
The heatmap may be interesting, but it’s not very easy to read. That’s why you can scroll down and read a more detailed analysis of your behavior, broken down by days:
And by time of day:
So (taking the Fail Log example), I may find out I tend to bite my nails quite a bit on Tuesday and Wednesday, around the afternoon. I can then take a moment and think about my routine to figure out what I normally do on those times. Maybe I shouldn’t be doing that particular activity, or maybe I should change something in the way I do it so that it’s less stressful for me.
Another view is the Log:
This is simply a list of all logged events, in chronological order. If you’re tracking more than one habit it can come in handy for recognizing patterns – does one habit routinely follow another? You can also use the log for removing incorrect entries, in case you erroneously tapped a habit on the list and it was entered into the log. Simply long-tap the entry and use the pop-up menu that comes up to delete it.
Most smartphone owners have their device with them nearly all the time, so it’s a very handy way to log your successes and failures. But If Success Log or Fail Log don’t sound quite right for you, Amimetic has a number of other self-improvement apps on the market, all presenting different methods and ways to track your success or failure rates in the goals you set for yourself.
What are your tips for forming good habits or breaking bad habits?