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 Well, it’s almost February so the New Year’s Resolution rush has probably gone by.  If you’re anything like me, there are a lot of things you would like to do, habits to get into, but that you can’t really find the time or energy to keep them up.  I stumbled upon a website that promises to help you meet and sustain your goals – habitforge.com. The premise of the site is simple: it takes 21 days to make a habit stick (despite that often-quoted number, the science might not be there to back it up).  Regardless, you enter in your goal and the site e-mails you each day to determine whether or not you met your goal during the past day.  It keeps a counter of the number of consecutive ‘yes’ days, as well as statistics on your overall success, failure, and non-response rates.  If you miss a day, the counter goes back to zero. I like the site for two main reasons.  The first is that it has a pull rather than a push mechanism for receiving your responses.  I don’t have to remember to log into the site and enter my information (push); as long as I check my e-mail daily, it actively solicits a yes or no response taking no more than one click.     

When you have a single goal, the e-mails consist of a single Yes/No choice
With multiple goals, you visit another webpage and use radio buttons to say yes or no for each goal

  The second reason I like the site is that it actually seems to be working – it’s fun to see the dots of progress for consecutive completed days fill up, and it’s very painful to see them reset back to zero if you miss a day.  I certainly have been writing a lot more than I would have otherwise had it not been for the reminders of the site.  The site’s not perfect; right now there is no way to indicate that a goal only applies to specific days of the week (e.g. goals that are related to work habits probably don’t mean much on weekends), but the site promises that feature is coming.  My  second complaint is that if you forget to respond to the e-mail, it counts that as a no-response and resets the timers back to zero.  Fortunately, there is a way to go back and edit past responses to fill in the missed e-mail solicitation; this puts the counters back to their rightful place.  Until I found that option, I was a bit pissed at that idea; to me a lack of a data point should not be equivalent with a no or yes answer; it should keep the counter at what it is and just update the yes, no, no-response rate statistics.  

The idea of doing a task on consecutive days to improve at it and make it a habit is not a new thing; Jerry Seinfeld credits a similar system with helping him be so prolific and productive, though the method is a bit lower tech. I personally really enjoy this service, and hope it can be of some use to you too.

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