Over the past couple years after graduating, moving into an apartment with my (now) fiancée, and working as a newly licensed occupational therapist through a global pandemic, I’ve fallen off of every habit I’ve ever made. As I completed my masters degree, I worked out and practiced yoga multiple times a week, I cleaned my apartment regularly (helped to have an anxious roommate who needed a clean apartment) and walked everywhere. I enjoyed being out and about and talking to people and going to the gym.
With the introduction of a new job title after school, and then the affects of COVID causing my anxiety to skyrocket, I stopped going to the gym and moving my body as much as I did. I had a hard time keeping up with online workouts as my motivation did not exist, and this started to be a common thread with many things, where the challenge was lack of motivation and difficulty getting started.
As an Occupational therapist, you learn all sorts of ways to teach your clients independent living skills, healthy ways to live etc, but they don’t really teach you how to help clients with lack of motivation. I can teach my clients all the cooking and cleaning tips and tricks, how to work out, what to do to take care of your mental, physical and emotional health, but if they don’t have the motivation or will to do it, it won’t matter how good they are at a skill. This is why I wanted to share my experience with the Habit app – so that not only it can hopefully help whoever also needs this app, but that hopefully another therapist or healthcare professional working with someone with mental health challenges can understand that sometimes skill acquisition or laziness is not the problem, it’s a challenge with motivation and executive function.
Executive functions are a set of mental skills that include memory, flexible thinking, planning and prioritizing, self monitoring, self control, time management, task initiation and organization. Sometimes, people experience challenges with their executive functions – for example, individuals with ADHD often see a lot of their symptoms in challenges in this area. You don’t need to have an ADHD diagnosis however, to experience these challenges. People with depression, learning disabilities, brain injury, stroke and alzheimer’s can also experience these challenges as well. Something that I like to stress is that you don’t NEED to have a diagnosis to benefit from executive functioning strategies! And this is why apps like Habit, and many more, are so popular – many people experience these challenges!
I could talk for ages about executive functioning, but maybe that will be for another post. Right now lets dive into this app – Habit tracker
This app can be downloaded for free, but there are in app purchases you can make. If anyone is familiar with bullet journalling, this is the vibe I got from the app. I have watched MANY bullet journal-ers on tik tok show their beautiful little journals with the bright colours and pretty layouts, and my perfectionism could NEVER. But I love the idea of tracking your goals and habits in a pretty way, so this was the next best thing! You can scroll through the pre-loaded habits and select what you want, or create a custom habit. Something I really enjoyed was the custom habit option, as many of the apps I have tried to download in the past are only focused on calorie counting and fitness, which are not the only things I need support with. You are also able to enable notifications on this app for certain goals, which has helped me remember difficult goals such as taking my anxiety medication! I tend to set reminders and alarms for medication and then lose attention to the notifications which results in them being useless. However, because I get notifications to check in on other goals, I see the reminder everytime I open the app as the habits that are not completed are always at the top of the page! Helps a distracted gal like me keep on track for sure!
There is an option in the app to invite friends (which I have not done yet) but you are able to remind each other to work on your goals and keep on track. There are also multiple screens which show your goals, your progress and allow you to slowly accomplish each goal (for example, I can add 40 oz of water to the goal of drinking 80 oz per day, so I can still see progress.). This almost mimics the Goal Attainment Scale in my opinion, as you can see that even though you maybe didn’t fully complete a task, you still did complete part of it, and hopefully tomorrow you’ll complete a little more!
Overall I have really enjoyed using this app, and it has really helped me start moving my body a bit more and being able to maintain my house a bit better as I now am trying to tidy one thing in the house per day. Is this a perfect app that will help everyone? No! Will I continue to use it forever? Probably not! But it is a good one for now and definitely worth downloading at least to check out the free version 🙂
What apps do you use for your mental health, your goals and your wellbeing? Leave them in the comments below, I’m always eager to check out new apps!