Habits can be good or bad. Good habits can transform your life and boost your productivity. For instance, writers could get in the habit of completing at least one page a day, and, in no time, they’ve finished an entire novel. Marketers can make a habit of spending only an hour — no more — on emails, to discover they have a lot more time to do additional work.
The problem isn’t finding habits. It happens naturally as you run into requirements, work, and responsibilities. The real problem is sticking to them, especially when it involves something tedious.
That’s where modern technology can come in handy. More specifically, there are a handful of challenge-based and organizational apps to help you develop new, good habits.
Want to make sure you’re saving money? No problem. Want to cut down on the amount of time you waste and spend on social media? Yep, covered. Want to configure a custom habit that can help improve your life? You got it.
We’re going to dive in and look at some of the best apps you can use to build good habits. It’s time to be habit-forming — with small steps and micro-challenges!
1. Steps: Overcome Social Anxiety
The Steps app aims to help you overcome social anxiety by getting you into the habit of leaving your comfort zone. It challenges you across many categories, such as anxiety, self-appreciation, and trying new things.
Each day the app challenges you to do something you probably wouldn’t otherwise without being prompted. For example, one challenge might be to make an effort to contact an old friend that you haven’t talked to in a while.
Sometimes the app gives you challenge choices. You could either try to attend a party, say “Good morning” to the first three people you see that day, or buy a cup of coffee for a stranger. If you like a challenge and think a friend might too, you can send it to them through a text message.
Download — Steps for iOS (Free)
2. The Better Life Challenge: Take a Small Step Every Day
Wouldn’t it be nice to do something every day that contributes to making your life better? That’s the essence of the Better Life Challenge app, which aims to challenge you for 30 consecutive days.
The app gives you a challenge each morning at 4 AM, meaning it will be ready for you as soon as you wake up. You have all day to complete the challenge, and when you finish it, simply click “Done” to evaluate how you did.
If, for some valid reason, you can’t complete a challenge on a given day, you have three opportunities to swap it out. After you successfully complete 30 days of challenges, you receive a “TBLC certificate” as a reward.
Each challenge is meant to improve your life and make you more energized and productive overall. They’re easy and don’t take a ton of effort to integrate in your daily life.
Download — The Better Life Challenge for iOS ($1.99)
3. 21habit: Form a New Habit in Under a Month
There are probably several elements in your life that could serve as motivation, none more relevant than good old hard-earned cash. Want to know the best way to form a habit? Stick to your guns or lose money — it’s that simple.
That’s the concept behind 21habit. The web app breaks every habit into a 21-day challenge or segment. At the beginning, you invest $21, which amounts to $1 per day. Every day you succeed and complete your task, sticking to your habit, you’ll earn $1 back, and it will be added to your total. If you fail, that day’s $1 is lost, and 21habit donates it directly to charity.
Of course, this app only works if you have extra funds to work with. But it’s a great way to up the stakes and form any type of habit you can think of.
Website — 21habit (Free)
4. Way of Life: Spend Under One Minute per Habit
Already pressed for time? Can’t be bothered to use a complex, all-consuming mobile app? Then Way of Life is what you need.
It challenges you to form habits and improve your life with just a single minute every day. Use the tool to track, identify, and then change your habits as you see fit. The entire system and layout are color-coded, so you can easily see how well — or poorly — you’re doing.
More importantly, you don’t have to spend a lot of time configuring the app and entering personal information. Just identify what you want to achieve, fill in a few details and check in. That’s it.
5. YOU: Try Simple Actions for a Happier Life
The YOU app is like having a personal mentor in your pocket always. It starts by allowing you to select topics that matter to you, such as relationships, mindfulness, productivity, emotions, exercise, happiness, eating, personal growth or taking time for yourself.
Once you select your topics, the app prompts you to make micro-actions to help you improve in each of these areas. For example, when it comes to mindfulness, the app may prompt you to take a pause before you eat. For exercise, it might suggest you add more movement to your daily routine.
The YOU app can help you form healthy habits that will improve your life in a variety of ways. It can help you reduce anxiety, encourage you towards more loving family relationships and make you generally more self-aware.
Download — YOU for iOS (Free with in-app purchases)
6. Foodstand: Take This Challenge to Eat Well
Making healthy food choices on a consistent basis can be a big challenge, but the Foodstand app aims to make it a bit easier. It’s not about counting calories, it’s more about getting into the habit of making healthy decisions that can benefit you for a lifetime.
The app prompts you with challenges, and when you meet each, you simply place a check mark next to that challenge. The challenges include eating one distraction-free meal per day (no phones), eating at least three servings of vegetables a day, avoiding added sugar and cutting out soda.
The goal is to help you eat healthier by getting you in the habit of doing so without tedious tasks such as meal logging or calorie counting. If you stick to the challenges offered by the Foodstand app, you’ll certainly see and feel the results.
7. Habit List: Go on a Streak of Good Habits
If goals and progress don’t matter to you in the grand scheme of things, and you just want to be able to track your habits, Habit List is the app for you. The only thing it does track and report are your “streaks,” or recurring patterns. Reach a goal or habit three or four times in a row, and that’s a streak.
One of the things Habit List does best is separate habits and actions based on various parameters like the day of the week. Only want to worry about a certain habit on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays? No problem.
If you go on vacation or need to take a break, you can skip habits and come back when you’re ready.
Download — Habit List for iOS ($3.99)
What Micro-Challenges Do You Use to Build New Habits?
Whether you’re using them to combat social anxiety or just improve something in your life, micro-challenge apps are a great, non-intimidating way to start building new habits.
What new habit do you want to form? Will you use a micro-challenge app to do it? Tell us more in the comments section below.