What is a habit, anyway? As it turns out, habits, both good and bad, are huge drivers of the long term direction of an individual’s life. We spend around 45% of our time on habitual behavior, or automatic actions--actions that slip under the radar of normal conscious decision-making processes. Habits are a way for the human brain to conserve energy by reacting in the same way to certain circumstances that generated positive outcomes in the past.
The habit loop underlies this whole process. First, someone has a craving--food, happiness, stress relief, anything. Next, they experience a cue in the environment--a sight, sound, smell, or piece of information that prompts them to act. Then they perform the routine, which is the most visible part of a habit. Finally, they are rewarded, whether the reward is good for them in the long run or not. We perform habits all the time without realizing it, so having even slightly more awareness and control of our habits can have a disproportionate benefit for our personal improvement.
In its earliest iterations, “habit trackers” were paper tools for measuring and motivating daily progress. Many competitors are still paper, like journals and calendars. Others are apps with the same functionality. In my competitive analysis, I chose to focus on competitors that included a behavioral change component along with habit tracking.