Bad habits come in a multitude of forms. From smoking and drinking to biting your finger nails and needing to be more productive, most people have some practices that they aren’t proud of – practices that they would rather leave in their past.
It’s not easy to break habits – it requires dedication, commitment, and sometimes painful introspection. Luckily, the digital age is here. It means that although you’ll still need all those things, there are now gadgets and programs that can make it just that little bit easier to get those demons off your back.
Here are ten start-ups that have the sole aim of helping you kill your bad habits:
A Better Morning With HabitClock
HabitClock tries to help you develop morning routines that both improve your mood and increase your productivity.
The app syncs with the alarm clock on your phone and is designed so that it starts to work as soon as you hit snooze. You can program it with any number of habits that you would like to integrate into your morning routine, from something as simple as brushing your teeth to more complicated tasks such as ‘do yoga’, ‘draw a picture’, or ‘practice a foreign language for thirty minutes’.
After you’ve used the app for a reasonable length of time, you can produce detailed graphs and reports that track how often you skipped a routine, the long-term effects of various routines on your health, and which habits are the best fit for your personal preferences.
HabitClock is available on iOS (Free) [No longer available].
Quit Smoking With Smokio [No Longer Available]
It is possible to quit smoking, and smoking rates are falling. In 1974 in the UK, 51 percent of men and 41 percent of women smoked cigarettes, whereas today, research suggests that only 22 percent of adult men and 19 percent of adult women are smokers. Of these people, at least two-thirds of them want to quit.
Smokio aims to help those two-thirds of people by offering an electronic cigarette that wirelessly connects to an iOS app [No longer available] so they can monitor their smoke consumption. After being founded in August 2013 and with their first product becoming available in March 2014, the company has already become a world leader in ‘smart cigarettes’.
Additional features include the ability to alter the density of vapour in your e-cigarette, and a life expectancy counter based on quitting versus not quitting.
Eat Better With Fooducate
Although processed food and fast food often equate to tasty food and cheap food, unfortunately they also equate to unhealthy food.
One of the hardest habits to break is a reliance on microwaved meals and other unhealthy options. After a long day at the office, most people simply don’t want a war with their oven to try and make something complicated.
Fooducate aims to shed some light on the ingredient lists, nutrition labels, and health claims that often mislead us, thus proving that fast food can be both tasty and healthy. With 200,000 items in its database, it highlights factors such as excessive sugars, high-fat content, additives and preservative, high levels of fructose corn syrup, and dangerous food colourings.
Rely on this company’s directions for one month and you’ll start feeling more alert and looking healthier. Soon your bad cuisine habits will vanish!
Be Your Best With Coach.me
Instead of using a fact-based, shock and scare approach, Coach.me is designed around support. Formerly known as Lift, the “life coaching” app uses three pillars – community, data, and coaching – to help all its users achieve their aims.
Their website boasts countless expert-led plans that cover everything from learning to be less stressed at work to extreme boot camps for rapid weight loss.
The data feeds into their app, which aims to let you build a habit around any goal. It records and celebrates your progress with a check-in system and uses peer coaching, social groups, and optional reminders to keep you motivated.
Become A Better Parent With ChoreMonster
Are you a parent with a kid who refuses to tidy their room or feed their pet? This app could be the answer to your prayers! ChoreMonster’s core aim is to allow parents to assign chores and tasks to their children, while also incentivising them for completing them.
Parents can create chores and rewards through their portal, assigning a points value for each task based on its importance and complexity. Children can see this list and notify their parents when a task has been completed — once the parent approves the task the child gets the points.
The child saves up their points to spend on the rewards they want most — this can range from going out for a pizza or a trip to a local sports game to more extravagant things like a shopping spree or a camping trip.
Your kids will be begging to do chores in no time!
Get Your Tasks Done With Timeful
Millions of people around the world spend too long procrastinating. It’s a difficult habit to break, especially in the age of the Internet where innumerable distractions are a mere click away.
The app was created by a team that included former MIT Media Lab professor Dan Ariely, a man who spent ten years researching procrastination and came up with the concept of structured procrastination — a philosophy around which the app is built.
It shows you everything that competes for your time and makes smart suggestions about when to schedule tasks to use your time most wisely. It helps you find time for the ‘good habits’ and even syncs with your calendar to assist you in effectively planning your day.
Stop Drinking With Oristats
Oristats are the makers of the increasingly popular Stop Drinking Alcohol app.
Launched in December 2013, their app boasts an interactive calendar for logging progress, more than 800 inspiring quotes about giving up alcohol, a way to track your ‘sober streaks’, and an ability to export all your data to your own spreadsheets.
The app is now recommended by various anti-alcohol organisations for use when following professional plans such as the ’12 steps Alcoholics Anonymous’ program and the ‘Self-Management And Recovery Training’ (SMART) recovery.
Track Your Diet With Real Dietican
It’s not easy to track your diet. This Chicago-based start-up promises 24-hour access to text, talk and video consultations with dieticians across a broad range of specialisms – including weight loss, eating disorders, and weight management.
By providing around-the-clock service, it’s their goal to try and help people break the habit of unhealthy fridge binges at 4am, or filling up their shopping cart with poor selections when doing a weekly trip around the grocery shop.
The service is only available in the US.
Cure Road Rage With Bump.com
Do you suffer from road rage? Instead of gesticulating furiously and trying your best to provoke the driver who aggravated you, why not pull over to the side of the road and vent your fury via a new social network for road users?
Bump.com works like an email address for your car, using license plates to connect drivers of cars that would otherwise have no way to communicate with each other.
Of course, the benefits of this extend beyond preventing road rage. You can easily contact another driver if you see something wrong with their car or if there is a hazard on the road ahead. The apps and website are both still in beta, but the idea is a good one.
Teach With Good Manners For Kids
Having good manners is an important part of a person’s social etiquette. Although society is now more accommodating of a slovenly approach to a formal situation than it was fifty years ago, habits such as talking with your mouth full, putting your elbows on the dinner table, and not saying please and thank you are still widely frowned upon.
As with all habits, the best time to start learning is when you’re a child. You can make sure you child doesn’t grow up to be bad mannered by instilling good habits at an early age with the Good Manners for Kids app – released in early 2014.
The app teaches them how to politely meet and greet, how to be a good guest, what are the best table manners, and to care-for and share-with their peers.
What Did We Miss?
Do you know any startups that have produced awesome tools for either breaking bad habits or forming good habits? Are there any new apps that should be included in our list? What about books or websites that can help snap you out of your old behaviours?
Perhaps you’re ready to start making some new habits for your New Year’s resolutions?
Let us know in the comments below.