The HabitApp Approach

The HabitApp takes a radically different approach to new habit development that requires no willpower. Say good-bye to streaks and say hello to your new habits.

If you search on the Internet for an app that will help you build a habit, you’ll find that there’s no shortage of apps. However, almost all habit apps use the same approach to better habit development: they help you track the number of days in a row that you exercised your positive habit.

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld popularized the use of streaks to develop positive habits. The apocryphal story goes that:

He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day.

“After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.

The problem is, what happens when you break your streak? Anyone who has tried this strategy knows the frustration when your streak breaks. If you gave up after that and fell off the wagon, you’re not alone. I’ve tried these approaches for years, and while they work for a while, it just took too much willpower. It was no wonder to me that in the end, it turns out Seinfeld didn’t invent this approach at all, and the method has no scientific backing.

An approach that does work is called “habit stacking.” In the book Atomic Habits, James Clear explains that decisions, such as performing activities that are not yet habit, require the part of your brain known as the prefrontal cortex to work. However, there’s a finite amount of decisions each of us is capable each day before our willpower depletes. On the other hand, once our activities become habits, the part of the brain that controls these activities is controlled by the part of our brain called the basal ganglia which - where our animal instincts come from.

Clear and others go on to argue that the best way to develop a new habit is to take something you already do every day, and perform a new activity on top of that which experts call “habit stacking.” Done right, you can build new habits without willpower! It sounds simple enough. In practice, it’s hard to do.

Here are just a few reasons why:

  1. Your new habit will take time, and unless you’ve planned to adjust the rest of your day to accommodate your new habit, you may find yourself thrown off by trying to do something extra on top of what you already do.

  2. It can be hard to stack multiple new habits at once, especially when you’re building a routine.

  3. Trying to track your habits on paper is a challenge, because what you want to track is not how many days in a row you’ve performed a habit, but rather how consistent you are with the habit over time.

Over the last five years, I’ve developed a methodology to help me create new habits using the habit stacking method, and I’m bringing my approach to the masses with the HabitApp!

The HabitApp walks you through positive habits you already perform each day and prompts you to add new habits you want to develop along with how long each habit takes. Once you’ve set up your habits, it’s a simple process to create a stack of habits. Each day, when you begin the habit you already have, just start the timer built into the HabitApp which will guide you on how much time you have to perform the current habit, and how much time it will take to complete the rest of the habit stack.

I’m excited to share this invention with the world because I know the approach works. Our team at Post-PC Labs has spent the last seven months building a beautiful app that we hope will excite and delight you every day. I’ve religiously used the app while we’ve been making it. From my experience, on days that I slip, something feels off, but instead of feeling bad that I lost a streak, I’m excited to keep going because I’m feeling off due to not performing the habit I’ve already developed!

Give HabitApp a try, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same.

Till next time,

Han Yuan