Most of us know that we’re not living up to our full potential. Reaching that full power feeling usually involves changing our habits, taking leaps of faith, and learning to take better care of ourselves. But this process can be tedious without some help and support.
Thankfully, in this technological era, there are many tools available to us that can give us this extra parental push when we most need it.
Everyone has the power to change their habits
I thought I was a hopeless night owl and coffee and sugar addict. I don’t go to the gym, don’t have an exercise routine and I’m struggling every day with procrastination and staying focused.
Now that I’m approaching my 40s and that I’m more determined than ever to reach my goals and ambitions, I realized that something needs to change. I can’t continue to live a hectic unhealthy lifestyle and hope for great success, happiness, and fulfillment. Recently, after dealing with a depression period, I decided to take the bull by the horns and invest time and energy into changing my unhealthy habits and mindsets.
Since I’m a programmer and tech lover, I did some research to find the best apps to help me fill in the gaps in my motivation and help me become the full-power woman I know I can be. Now, I’m sharing this list with you!
Note: I’m not associated with these companies in any way. I don’t receive any money from affiliate marketing. I’m sharing these links purely because these apps helped me so much that I wanted to share my findings.
1. Tobee — Improve Your Mindset
Tobee is a free, very simple mobile app that lets you choose a positive affirmation and pops it up on your mobile screen at a pre-determined time interval. You can choose from a list of affirmations categorized by what each affirmation is supposed to help you with: self-esteem, self-love, etc… You can also put in your own affirmations if you prefer!
To really feel the benefits of using this app, it’s important to take the time to pause for a second and actually read the affirmation! Otherwise, having something pop up on your phone every 1,2 or 3 hours can quickly become annoying. But if you get into a habit of reading the affirmation and take it in, you’ll see an improvement in your mindset quite quickly. In my case, I felt results after only 3–4 days of using it.
It’s important to note that Tobee encourages you to stick with an affirmation for at least 21 days to really let the positive message sink in but you’re free to change the affirmation you focus on any time it feels right for you.
Download Tobee (Android)
Download Tobee (iOS)
2. Fabulous — Develop Healthy Habits
Fabulous is an app designed to help you develop healthy habits by walking you through the process step-by-step. Its philosophy: start by taking small steps!
Fabulous works by creating “routines” and breaks down the process day-by-day by first asking you to do a small action consistently for 3 days before adding anything else to the routine.
If you try to unlock parts of the routine before completing your current goals it will tell you something like: “I don’t want to overwhelm you! Please check back tomorrow for more.”
Fabulous also helps you by setting alarms and reminders that you can customize to your needs. Another very nice feature is that the app sends you occasional “letters” that are there to support and encourage you in your process.
The app has also many built-in tools to help you gradually change your habits such as meditations or challenges you can take on for a limited period of time.
The first challenge I completed with Fabulous was the gratitude challenge. Every day for the period of a week, I committed to doing a gratitude meditation for 10 minutes.
How do you commit to a challenge and find the motivation to keep at it without dropping the ball in the middle of the week? Fabulous got you covered by asking you to sign a contract with yourself where you need to specify a consequence that will happen if you fail to honor your commitment! In my case, I chose to ask my partner to hide all the sweets in the house for a month if I failed to keep up with my gratitude practice.
It’s true that, fundamentally, it’s pretty easy to bypass your contract. Still, since I really hate lying (to myself or to others), just the simple act of signing a virtual contract with myself and setting a defined consequence in case of failure was enough to help me pull through the challenge.
Fabulous also has a really nice community, which you can indirectly interact with by sending encouraging messages to other users who are working on a challenge you completed. You also receive high fives and personal messages from members of the community each time you complete a journey or complete a new goal.
This app helped me tremendously in getting rid of bad habits that were seriously damaging my energy level and my overall well-being. I used to consider myself a hopeless coffee and sugar addict. My first reflex in the morning would be to go straight to the coffee machine.
When I downloaded Fabulous, the first thing it pointed out to me was the importance of establishing a healthy morning routine. The first habit it asked me to establish was to drink water first thing in the morning for three days in a row.
To my surprise, after a little over a week, I now have a healthy morning routine: I start by drinking water, then prepare myself a healthy breakfast, and then I even set some time aside to do 10 minutes of exercise! I never managed to do that in my entire life. I feel great and more than that, I understand the mechanism of how habits are created much better. I feel in control of myself and of my life.
This app won my heart and is, as its name implies, fabulous!
3. Forest — To Help You Stay Focused
If you’re like me, and I think this is a struggle shared by many of us, staying focused on a creative task, like writing, is not always easy and straightforward. There are so many distractions: social media notifications, phone calls, emails… It’s very easy to get lost in all the small things that eat away at the time we have for what is truly important to us.
Forest is a simple and beautifully designed app that allows you to set an amount of time for an uninterrupted work period. When the counter starts, you see a baby tree on the screen. The more you progress in your allocated time, the more the tree grows. If you pick up your phone and try to look at another app, Forest stops you and warns you that if you move away from this screen you’ll have to kill the tree!
Seeing the tree grow is more encouraging than just watching the minutes go by. Forest also gives you the option to listen to relaxing nature sounds while your work is in progress, which can help you keep a calm and relaxed state of mind.
4. Productivity Challenge Timer — Develop Consistency
This app was introduced to me by a friend who absolutely swears by it. To be honest, I’d say it's a double-edged sword… I will explain why in a moment.
PCT encourages you to work a consistent amount of hours day after day by calculating the amount of time you work and upgrading you to higher ranks once you’ve shown consistency across a certain amount of days. If you skip days, it will “demote you”, meaning you’ll go back to lower ranks.
The free version allows you to save 4 different projects. Each time you sit down to work, you can select the project you are working on, start the timer and the amount of time you work will be recorded under that specific project. If you’re someone with many different goals and tasks, it can be very useful to keep track of the exact amount of time you dedicate to each one of them.
It’ll also do some funny things like yell at you if you’re not going back to work after taking a break or “insult” you if it records you doing different things on your phone when you should be working!
This app is extremely useful if you like to laugh at yourself and need a good kick in the butt to help you stay on track. I personally used it for about 2 months before realizing that, for me, having an app yell at me because I’m not working is counter-productive… I’m very good at yelling at myself all on my own!
Still, I wanted to include it in this list because I love the concept and I can definitely see how this can work for some people. Like I said, my friend who introduced me to it absolutely swears by it and finds the “kick in the butt” aspect super helpful for his personality type.
So my advice with this one would be, give it a try but if you see yourself slowly getting a bit depressed after using it for a while, then maybe this “hard-ass” approach is not what you need right now and you’d be better off focusing on the opposite: being gentle and patient with yourself!
5. Habitica —Gamify your Todo list
Of all the apps from this list, Habitica is my all-time absolute favorite. I honestly don’t know how I would get through my days without it now! Habitica also helps you develop consistency but through a very different approach.
Personally, one of my top forms of procrastination is mobile games. What can I say, I just love playing games and it’s so easy for me to procrastinate by jumping in the app store and download new free games to try. When I’m working from home and fighting against procrastination, sometimes it’s just too easy to cave in, reach for the phone, tell myself I’m just taking a break for 15min and end up wasting my time playing a game for over 1h.
In comes the genius of Habitica. This app makes a game out of sticking to your habits and finishing your tasks! When I first downloaded it, I had my doubts. I thought “no way you can make a game that is actually fun out of a to-do list ”. Well, I was wrong!
Habitica is an RPG. It starts by giving you a basic pixelated avatar. You start at level 1 and the more you complete tasks, the more you gain health and experience points. These points allow you to gain levels and as you do, you unlock new features for your avatars like pets, clothes, equipment. You can choose to sell the treasures you find or use them for your avatar.
The pets are especially fun since you start by finding eggs, then you need to find potions to hatch it, and then you can grow your pet by feeding it with food found by completing tasks!
After a certain level, you can choose to specialize your avatar to gain special powers. For example, you can become a warrior, a mage, a healer, etc… Each specialty has its own strengths, weaknesses, skills, and special equipment.
This app also allows you to join guilds (groups of like-minded people) and join on special quests and challenges with a party (groups of people committed to completing quests together). Through completing tasks, you earn gold that you can then spend on new equipment or on rewards you set for yourself.
In the habits tab, you can enter a list of habits you’d like to cultivate as well as the bad habits you want to stop. Every time you succumb to one of your bad habits (and record it, of course, so you do need to be honest with yourself in order for the system to be effective), you lose health points.
Overall, the game is simple but fun and I find myself opening it with excitement in the morning, happily checking off the tasks I’ve set myself to do daily, just so that I can gain levels, find new treasures, modify my avatar and grow my pets!
I also joined a party to complete quests and it’s so much fun to exchange with a small group of people while staying motivated and focused on improving your life.
One of the best things about this app is that it’s open-source! It has an active community of volunteer developers who help with the growth of the project. You can choose to get involved by joining specialized guilds that share the same interests.
I completely fell in love with Habitica and the more I use it, the more fun the game becomes!
Habitica is also available as a web platform.
It’s easy to live in a dream and lie to ourselves about our lifestyle, habits, and routines. But the truth is, if we are truly dedicated to succeed and have a happy life, we need to put in the work and the effort.
A lot of people think that it’s too hard to change. Fortunately, there are companies and developers out there that identified a whole range of problems most of us are facing and are building great tools to help us through the process.
If you’re struggling with your mindset, habits, focus, and productivity, why not maximize your chances of success by trying some of the tools available. You've got nothing to lose!
This article was originally published by the author on Medium.