On Forming Habits with Tech’s Help

I was recently listening to the Ezra Klein Show and the app Way of Life was mentioned during a conversation about habit building. I have a handful of things I’m always trying to get better at doing (or not doing), so I figured I’d give it a shot.

In short, you pick some activities that you think are good and bad for you and keep track of how you’re doing. Personally, I’m a very big believer in the idea of The Quantified Self: so using an app like this means when I track stats on my activities, I tend to do a much better job of following through.

A few of the things I added were:

  • No soda
  • Fewer than 2 cups of coffee per day
  • Run every day
  • Avoid afternoon snack
  • Avoid evening snack
  • Floss daily
  • No video games at night
  • Less than 20 minutes per day on social media
  • Read a book for an hour

After a month, the things I struggle the most with are the snacking. The ones I thought I’d struggle with the most but haven’t are the last two. I moved my social apps off of my home screen, turned off notifications, and replaced them with the Kindle app for iOS. I’ve been plowing through books when commuting and haven’t really had a ton of FOMO from avoiding social media. Every time I do check in, I notice that I missed nothing. I do feel a little less plugged in with what some of my friends are up to but that’s about it.

This isn’t anything even close to an “I am quitting social media” post – I love Twitter and Instagram (and Facebook is OK I suppose), but more on how quickly habits can change if you try to prioritize healthier things over the impulse to check in on social media during any down time you may have. If you’re like me, the power of “checking off all of your goals for the day” in a stupid app somehow actually keeps me on track with those goals & Way of Life is a huge help.

Ok, now what?

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