We all want to be better people. There’s no question about that. But can an app really help make that happen? I’ve recently tested an app that can, at least incrementally, help people improve. It’s called Strides ($3.99), it’s a goal and habit tracker and it’s one of the top paid apps in the App Store. Since so many people seemed to be giving it a try, I thought I might as well also.
I mentioned above that Strides helped me improve my habits incrementally. If that sounds meh, it’s not. Improvement is improvement and a lot of a little is a lot over time.
I’ve been using Strides for about a week now and I have found that the power of the app is in the data it provides about you. The app itself can’t force you to do anything: it doesn’t zap you into compliance with your goals. Instead, it asks you to report on the progress you’re making toward your goals and then presents your data on a dashboard that helps you make better decisions.
For instance, I told the app I wanted to drink more water. 8 glasses a day to be exact. Never really knowing how much water I drank in a given day, I figured I was probably doing pretty decent in terms of water consumption. I mean, I knew for a fact I wasn’t getting 8 glasses, but I thought maybe 6. I was wrong. I was getting more like 3 or 4 glasses a day. Granted, that wasn’t my only liquid intake—I enjoy all measure of beverages from lemonade to iced tea (and frequently mixed together) to Oogave—but it wasn’t nearly enough water.
Now here’s the interesting part: since I started tracking my water consumption using Strides… I’m drinking more water. When asked why I wasn’t having my typical glass of OJ at breakfast yesterday, I replied that I was trying to get more water in so I could enter a better report on Strides later in the day.
If you think about it, it all makes perfect sense: when people have a choice between better or worse they are going to choose better (more often than not, anyways). But it’s not always black and white until you see what better looks like.
What I like about Strides is that it’s not complicated to get setup. Drinking more water was just one of what looked like nearly a hundred pre-entered goals users can choose from on a list. Just hit the + icon in the top right of the screen and you can enter your own goal (or anything you want to track) or choose presets from a bunch of different categories from health and fitness to productivity to education to money to hobbies (among many others). It’s easy to get ideas about what you might want to improve simply by scrolling through the list. For instance, I saw Read Bible, Treadmill and Drink Water as I explored and added all three goals to my dash.
There are plenty of varieties within the app when it comes to ways to track something. You can say I want to do X 10 times per week or reach a target value by a certain date or average X per X. You can also set milestone goals such as: “Starting today I want to complete a project by X.” What’s nice is that Goals, Habits, Targets, Averages and Milestones all have their own types of dashboards which makes seeing your data as easy as possible.
There are a lot of different tracking apps out there. Not long ago I reviewed one called Tinker which was very minimalistic in comparison (one of it’s strengths actually). But the point I’m getting at is, there’s no reason you have to be confined to using one tracking app. Some are great for micro-focusing on the project at hand (Tinker) and some are great for getting a broad overview of your life’s activities (Strides).
In terms of design, Strides is clean and has a friendly personality all it’s own. It hasn’t succumbed to the trendy styles of the day, yet it doesn’t look out of date either. It’s kind of business casual.
If you want to make some improvements in your life, there’s no better habit and goal tracker than Strides. It does what you want it to do quickly and simply and reflects your data in an attractive, concise way. If you make using Strides a habit, I think you’re going to see some good changes in your life. I know I have.