Build Healthier Habits
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There’s an App for That: Build Healthier Habits into Your Hustle

Laura MacPherson April 4, 2019

It seems that the startup world has reached a tipping point when it comes to the intensity of hustle. As a nation, we’re obsessed with work, and startup mecca Silicon Valley has been at the center of the conversation. Startup culture is infused with a beyond-intense work ethic that prides itself in sacrificing everything for the success of the company.

But many are pushing back, trying to reclaim their health and relationships, realizing that too much intensity isn’t sustainable for the long term. But it can be challenging to to slow down. New, healthier habits are hard to build.

Using Apps to Build Healthier Habits

If you’re trying to find ways to moderate as a startup founder, your first inclination might be to look to apps for help. Technology has a lot to offer — it can make a healthier lifestyle easier to attain. But not all apps are created equal. You need apps that will help you overcome your programmed responses and build new habits in their place. To make long-lasting change, look for apps with the following characteristics.

1. They Deliver Quick Wins

Getting started is often the biggest hurdle to overcome. A quick win will generate motivation as you experience the thrill of success. Once you start the good feelings flowing, you’ll be more inclined to keep going.

Look for apps that don’t require a long onboarding process and are easy to start using. If you have to spend a lot of time setting them up, you’re unlikely to get past the first step. And you should be able to accomplish a couple of goals quickly — within the first few days.

2. They Help You Create a Plan of Action

Without a plan, you’re leaving success up to chance. The apps you use to build healthy habits should give you a simple way to set goals and get reminders. It should be clear how you can integrate use of the app into your day-to-day life. What will trigger you to open the app and make progress? Notification alerts are an ideal way to receive reminders.

3. They Give You Rewards as You Reach Your Goals

Yes, a healthy habit is a reward in itself, but the reality is that rewards too far in the future aren’t enough to motivate us. The pizza is easy to order, and we’re tired now. Thinking about the future healthy version of ourselves seems distant and less enticing. When an app delivers a series of rewards over time as you take healthy actions, you’re more likely to take those actions.

These rewards don’t have to be inherently valuable to motivate us. They can be tokens, badges, placement on leaderboards, and other perks. Rewards are especially effective when they’re attached to social reinforcement or personal achievement. We all like recognition from our peers, and most of us are naturally competitive, at least to a degree.

Apps that use these techniques take advantage of insights from neuroscience and behavioral psychology to create habitual behavior, which is exactly what you need when you’re trying to replace unhealthy habits with better ones.

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