We are useless creatures without our habits.
They are an essential part of our lives and are the building block of our routines, and ultimately our well-being, happiness and success.
In today's tech-driven world, many of us turn to habit-tracking apps and productivity tools to incorporate new habits and break old ones.
However, while these apps can offer benefits like reminders, tracking, and data analysis, they can't replace our internal motivation - the true driving force behind successful habit change.
The Limitations of Habit-Tracking Apps
Habit-tracking and productivity apps are one of the most popular software categories due to their convenience and accessibility.
But, these tools all have some type of limitation, whether it be a lack of personalisation, an inability to address the root cause, and the potential for becoming a crutch or distraction rather than a catalyst for change.
While these tools provide general solutions, they cannot adapt to our individual needs and preferences.
For instance, an app may suggest a morning exercise routine for everyone, regardless of schedule constraints or fluctuations.
On top of that, our resistance to forming new habits often stems from underlying psychological, emotional, or environmental factors - something that these apps can rarely address beyond the surface level.
Another problem is that constant monitoring and analysis can become a distraction, which ends up taking the focus away from the actual habit itself.
The Power of Internal Motivation
Internal motivation (or intrinsic motivation) has a significant impact on successful habit formation and change.
Some of the strongest internal motivators include personal health, well-being, professional/career growth, and social connections.
The strength of the motivator depends on:
- how closely aligned it is to our values
- the perceived rewards associated with the habit
- the significance attached to the outcome
To successfully add new habits goes beyond relying on apps and productivity tools and relies on self-awareness and understanding of values to identify our motivators.
Understanding is only a small part of the equation, and adding new habits to our lives depends on motivation and discipline.
Those who prioritise and nurture their motivators can add new habits to their arsenal far more easily, but only if they remain persistent.
Habits that align with personal values and goals are more likely to stick than those that result from external factors such as apps and productivity tools.
Therefore, only when we begin to understand the strengths and limitations of these external tools and pinpoint our real internal motivations, can we achieve successful lifelong changes to our habits.