Confetti: a good habit tracker
By Nick Hunderson
Everyone tries to form good habits, but not everyone keeps them.
You’ve probably heard the popular misconception that it takes either 21, 30, or 66 days to form a new habit. It just doesn’t. In a University College London study, it took subjects between 18 and 254 days to make a habit of something. The time spent making a habit was directly related to its complexity. For instance, drinking a glass of water every morning is much easier than going for a run every evening.
This misconception has always bothered me. So, if I would just stick to a schedule for exactly 21 days, my behavior will magically change forever. I could happily squat 50 times a day or go for an evening walk for several weeks. But then, I do it less often, before eventually forgetting entirely.
One day, I tried tracking one of my habits. I subscribed to the Zeropercent telegram bot, which asked me this daily: “Did you have an alcoholic drink yesterday?” And, a month later, I felt responsible to the bot and didn’t want to break my run of consecutive days without consuming alcohol. If a bot in a messenger app can help, then imagine what an app fully dedicated to tracking your habits will do.
When it comes to apps for good habits, you have a lot of options: Everyday, Habitica, Habitify, Streaks and others. I chose Confetti, an app created by two independent developers Wilson Lau and Danny Sapio. I form good habits using it. For instance, like getting up at eight in the morning, or setting a reminder to go to sleep at 11:30 pm, so I don’t stay up too late. Conversely, I can form a bad habit too. Something like, “play a lot of mobile video games, ” and in the morning the app reminds me to relax all day.
Confetti functions like other similar habit trackers, but its interface is simpler. There aren’t as many options in the setting screen as in Habitify, and the home screen isn’t as crowded as in Habitica. In the free version, you can track up to three habits, which is plenty.
It’s best to begin with one simple routine, according to Atomic Habits author James Clear. He subscribes to the Two-Minute Rule: start a habit that takes no more than two minutes a day to complete, and then move on to more complex tasks. His personal tracker consists of only three or four important routines, as he finds it inefficient to keep track of a dozen at once.
The dictionary of the American Psychological Association defines a habit as series of actions that are performed automatically and reflexively over time. Clear states that there is no specific number of days it takes to develop a new habit. It’s an endless process, a lifestyle. If you don’t stick to it, the habit will disappear.
Who will benefit most?
Gretchen Rubin, author of Better Than Before, identifies four types of people
someone disciplined and responsible, both to themselves and to others
someone only responsible to others
someone who wants to understand the logic and meaning of any action
Someone who hates being told what to do
She classifies most people as obligers and suggests that habit trackers would be most useful for them. For this type of person, it’s important to assign responsibility externally — to an app, to a friend through a promise made — in order to feel indebted to them. But the process of forming habits is individual for everyone. For rebels, an application like this will only become a nuisance.
Any habit, good or bad, consists of a cycle, a cue, a routine, and a reward. It’s important to understand the reasons and analyze the rewards. What is it that makes you grab another cup of coffee? Is it the drink itself or another opportunity to chat with colleagues in the cafeteria? Could you substitute this coffee with an apple?
Why I love it?
- The free version is enough for a beginner.
- It’s less expensive than other trackers.
- It has a simple interface.
What made me frown?
- Few options for advanced users.
- Scanning a habit’s long history is cumbersome.