You can’t keep a resolution if you’re not willing to break it

I’ve started using an iPhone app called Habit List to chart my routines and resolutions. App Advice recently gave it a great review, and I’m more than happy to second it. It’s a simple but versatile app that offers a lot more usability and flexibility than some of the similar apps I’ve tried.

What it does is help you to chart your daily progress on as few or as many habits as you like. Lifehacker calls this Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret,¬†after the comedian who credited his success to writing every day. All you do is add a new habit, tell the app how often you want to fulfill it, and check it off each day you do.

But here are some of the other things it does, which a lot of its competitors don’t:

  • It lets you enter whatever habits you like, instead of asking you to pick from a list.
  • It lets you choose from a range of frequencies, instead of holding you to a daily routine that might not be appropriate for certain habits.
  • It lets you add as many habits as you want. It lets you reorder them as you see fit, instead of binding you to the order in which you added them. It presents them in a legible list that doesn’t become unwieldy once you’ve added more than a few habits. And it moves completed habits to the bottom of the list each day, so you don’t have to keep scrolling through them.
  • It lets you check off habits you’ve completed on previous days, which is great for those of us who are often up after midnight.
  • It leaves out the “social” element that a lot of other apps consider a selling point. You don’t get prodded to bore your friends and promote the app by tweeting your progress, and you don’t get a bunch of emails about the progress of total strangers.

These features may not sound like much, but they work to prevent the app from being frustrating to use – and they work to prevent you from giving up on charting your habits as a result.

The best part? It doesn’t penalize you for missing a day or two. Too many of us give up on our new resolutions the first time we fail, instead of acknowledging that failure is part of the process. This app does that, and you should, too.

Habit List is available in the App Store for $1.99, and it’s worth every penny. I’ve tried out a few of these apps, including a lot of the free alternatives, and this is the best one I’ve seen. Give it a try, and give your resolutions a boost.

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