I have a confession to make. A deep dark secret that’s been haunting me for years. Nobody knows my secret, not even my wife, but it’s time to come clean. I know how to address my issue and by confessing here the healing process begins, and I may help some of you along the way.
It may be my personal hang-up, but resolving my issue by making it a daily habit, will actually make me feel complete, even near perfect. Sure, I can also do this with mastering my muscle-up, running a sub thirty-minute 5k, logging my food everyday, cooking strictly paleo everyday, limiting time spent on Reddit to five minutes, learning all twelve major scales on the piano, calling my mom more often, and being the nicest, most charming, smartest version of me. But I want to start with my dark secret. I‘m pretty sure I’m the only person in the world that feels like I could be perfect if only I got into a daily habit of sorts, but nonetheless, l want to show you a couple of habit making and creating aids.
21habit – Website, $21/Free
My dark secret is fixable with a little attention everyday. It’ll be tough, but I just have to grin and bare it. 21habit is a website that works on the theory habits take 21 days to make or break. Wouldn’t it be cool if a gym paid YOU to workout. We would all be super-sculpted athletes and gyms would be bankrupt. Alas, we aren’t and they aren’t.
21habit almost works this way. You pay $21 in what they call “committed mode,” and you check in every day to let them know you either did (or didn’t) do a habit. If your day has been a success, you get a dollar back. If you failed that day’s resolution, that dollar gets donated to charity.
I was just a few days into successfully brushing off my dark secret, when I suddenly had questions. What if I just…cheat? It’s my money and I just didn’t have time to, say, do 100 sit-ups today. I’ll just do the sit-ups tomorrow and get my dollar back today. 21habit’s retort:
Yes, you can cheat (i.e. lie to yourself). 21habit works on the honor system. If you cheat to avoid forfeiting funds then you’re also cheating a worthwhile charity. Your choice.
Touché 21habit. You’re good at habit AND guilt manipulation. So I didn’t cheat and continued getting a dollar back here, losing a dollar there. Until the sting of losing a dollar faded, much like the sting of paying three dollars for a daily cup of coffee. Much like the sting of paying three hundred dollars in gym fees on January 1st, resolving to be perfect by the end of March, and slowly growing numb to a broken promise. I’m certain I’m the only person in the world who has done this, so you may not be familiar with the feeling.
$21 is the highest investment possible in 21habit and there are other sites that will accept higher money-where-your-mouth-is investments, but getting my own money back wasn’t working. Don’t get me wrong, 21habit is fantastic. The site is easy to use, works for a great cause (on multiple levels), and is currently working for me as a “swear” jar. Every time I say “um” on camera, charity gets a dollar. Charities, um…love me.
Way of Life – The Ultimate Habit Maker & Breaker – iOS, Free
So I took my dark secret mobile. Way of Life, an iOS mobile app by Lars Arendt was my last thread of hope. If positive reinforcement wasn’t going to cut it, perhaps push notifications and awesome graphs would.
Think of Way of Life as a specialized to-do list that asks if you’ve done predetermined habits on a daily basis via your phone’s push notifications system. It’s up to you to set up whether yes or no is a positive answer. Did you smoke a cigarette today? No? Good job, you get a green bar for the day. Did you go on your run this morning? No? Tsk, tsk, you get a red bar for the day. Did you do yoga today? Oh, it’s ok that you didn’t because it’s a once a week goal? You get a blue skip day option.
You also get a healthy dosage of trend lines, pie charts, note writing, and password protection. Perfect to hide my secret. Perfect for my perfection process, no matter how shameful my habits may be.
The benefits of the above apps rely almost entirely on how you approach your habits. I, personally, want to have control, I want a perfect body, I want a perfect soul. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that feels this way, but boy, those would make great lyrics. Way of Life worked for me, because my phone is the perfect ubiquitous reminder, always in my pocket as opposed to 21habit’s web only interface. As a matter of fact, checking into 21habit became a habit in itself within the Way of Life app.
Way of Life’s only flaw is in the ability to create unlimited habits (with an in-app purchase). I found myself attempting to create an unattainable me. Even if I were able to sustain my stack of habits for a day, I’d most likely be an unlikable shell of the real me. Appreciating a flawed me is about as perfect as I can get. So I’m keeping it simple, one habit, with my dark secret.
My friends, I’ve been consistently flossing my teeth everyday for the past ten days. Yes, thank you, but please don’t tell my wife. I’ve led her to believe that I’m perfect.
21habit is available for either $21.00 or free at 21habit.com.
Way of Life is available on iOS for free.