Looking at Lift

I’ve been using Lift this year to try to encourage the establishment of good habits. It’s more of a social networking approach to habits. You sign in to specific habits, and others who are trying to do the same habit (30-day plank challenge, for example, or Establish a writing habit) can see your activity and comment on it. You can also comment on your own activities (but not the lack thereof, as far as I can tell — you can’t say why you didn’t exercise on a given day until the next day that you do exercise). And if you link your Facebook or Twitter profiles, you can connect with people you’re already friends with to encourage each other.

The site works on the basic practices of accountability to others (your friends and followers) and of not breaking the chain. Fairly simple and tried-and-true methods. Because of the way it’s set up, though, every day has to be accounted for — if you’re doing an exercise program and it has rest days built into it, those days have to be set into the program from the beginning — which is fine if you’re doing something like working for 6 weeks to get ready for a 5k run, but seems rather less practical if you want something to remind you to run three days a week ad infinitum. For me, Lift seems best geared to things you want to do every day (drink a glass of water before dinner) or something that you’re only working on for a short time.

It excels at training for new habits — for things like developing a specific habit, where you’re working up to it, there’s often coaching involved that helps break down the task into steps and lets you look at the motivation and reason every step along the way. For example, the writing one I did (Develop a Writing Habit) starts with knowing why you want to write, then creating a goal, with various motivational posts along the way.

When you finish a habit’s run, whether it’s 30 days or 90 or whatever, it automatically repeats. Again, that can be useful if you’re just trying to remind yourself to keep doing something on a daily basis. For the writing, though, it felt kind of silly to get the same motivational talks each time.

Overall, I’d say if you like social feedback for getting things done, and if you want to create a specific habit or meet a goal in a specific length of time, Lift can be a good choice for you. I think I’m going to go inactive on it, however, as I’m not really finding it motivating.

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  1. I find things like this motivational until I break the chain. Then, it’s less so, and, so far, Lift doesn’t have a way to plan to skip a day unless it’s already built into the plan. In the case of the decluttering plan, so much of it doesn’t apply, I just use the task as a reminder to do something if I don’t need to do the task listed for the day. I imagine purists don’t care for that, much.

    The check mark for flossing has been great. And my writing plan has a “read and rest” day built in each week.

    They’re talking about building in skip days, but so far, I haven’t seen that happen.

    I loved 750words.com — until I was nearly up a to year-long streak and missed a day. I found it too demoralizing to think about building back up to that. Now, I do it privately on my computer, and a missed day isn’t so horrible. As a result, I’ve been very consistent with it. Haven’t missed a day yet this year, and last year, I think I only missed six.

    I’ve noticed it seems like the Lift people get tired of their own project from time to time as well. Going inactive may be a good idea. I do agree on the value of it for short time projects or, like for flossing, something you know you want to do every day.

    • I remember you talking about 750words.com. What kept me from trying it was that I figured my words were on someone else’s computer and might vanish out from under me (which reminds me, I should make sure to back up my blog!).

      I find the break in the chain demoralizing, too. Seeing it grow is great, though. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. I use FitBit for that purpose mainly because of the pedometer that I don’t have to remember to transfer the numbers (though I keep it on my spreadsheet anyway. It does motivate a little because it has a -7day cummulative of “steps” for me and my friends (my mom and one sis plus one friend). I do it for the convenience, but yes, though I can make it go away in 7 days, on bad day can really push the 7day stats down.

    • Yes, FitBit sounds like it’s very useful for specific things: sleep patterns and steps walked. Maybe someday, I’ll check it out. I did see this article last month, however, which gives me pause: Do fitness trackers help people stay active?

      (Side note: Jamie Todd Rubin has had some interesting posts on his blog about how his sleep patterns — also from FitBit — correlate with his writing habits.)

  3. That’s one of the frustrating things about tracking. No one thing does everything you want. I love the Fitbit for sleep and steps. I got the Withings scale so it would automatically update the readings. And, LoseIt! works best for food logging, but it will synch with Withings and Fitbit. If you’re entering manually, one doesn’t necessarily feed the other, so you need to learn which app to enter the data in to feed the others.

    Step on the scale and weight, body fat %, heart rate, and air quality go to the Withings app. In turn, weight and body fat % will flow to Fitbit, and weight will flow to LoseIt!
    (not sure if body fat does or not, I haven’t turned that on in Lose It!). If I enter food in Fitbit, it doesn’t feed to Lose It!, but if I enter it into Lose It!, it feeds to Fitbit, so I don’t ever enter food into Fitbit, or it gets doubled! (yikes). On the other hand, entering water into LoseIt! doesn’t show up on the Fitbit app, so I always just enter my water in Fitbit. Tiresome? Yes. I do like the weekly report from Fitbit. Oh, yeah, Sleep will feed to LoseIt! as well (I use the paid version — I feel it’s been worth it, and I got a discount for renewing early this year, so it’s very reasonable).

    I think the term for this is “quantifying my life.” My husband thinks it’s just dumb.

    I don’t have any friends on Fitbit, but my step-daughter is friends with me on LoseIt!.

    Regarding 750words.com, that’s ultimately why I removed my stuff from the site. I didn’t want my stuff on someone else’s site either. Especially one that required a login via another site’s credentials.

    I’m not sure the trackers do anything to help me stay more active, but I do like knowing when I have been. I do try to average 5000 steps a day. I started a little lower and gradually increased. I’ve also increased my sleep goal to seven hours a night from six. I may try to increase it to eight eventually, but so far, I’m at goal (on average). Hitting the pillow and turning out the light before midnight is the easy way for me to keep that average up, because I try to be up before eight every day unless I have a reason to be up earlier. (I realize you don’t have that “luxury.”)

    • Yes, the quantified life seems like too much work to me. 😉 (And your description of having to integrate all the different methods does not change my mind.) I find it interesting watching how others do it, though.

      This morning, my son told me that during the week, my getting up is a pretty reliable alarm for 6:30 (not that that wakes him up — he’s always been up for ages by then; it just tells him what time it is without him having to look at the clock).

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