Or, letting apps do all the motivating.

Red abstract motion stripes of light

Do you ever let the pursuit of the streak influence your behaviour? If so, you might be a streak addict like me.

This week just gone I had to let a couple of streaks fall by the wayside. I spent three nights in the Tasmanian wilderness, without any phone reception or internet. At first, I was nervous about surviving without scrolling and I struggled against letting those hard-earned streaks in Wordle and Insight Timer go.

But, over those three precious days, I got used to life without my phone. I unwound, I relaxed, I walked, I read books, I enjoyed conversations. I generally found myself on pause, staring into space, reflecting. It was wonderful.

But now that I’m back home with abundant internet, I’ll start building the streaks back up to their former glory, day by day. I’ll get back into the groove of modern living, letting my phone have a say in how I run my life.

There’s something about a red notification that I just can’t ignore. I know people who have 12,000 unread emails on their phone – somehow they manage to ignore that number and get on with their day. I am too much of a sucker for the intermittent reward that a new notification offers, and the sense of control that having a tidy phone with no alerts brings.

Giving our phones some control over our lives can help us make positive change. At various points in time, my phone has motivated me to walk more steps every day, stick to a budget and only eat a certain number of calories. But I eventually chucked my FitBit into a drawer because I got so sick of it making me feel bad about myself. Denial? Yes. Taking back control? Sure. But I don’t know that I’m healthier for it. All that step counting really forced me to get up and move.

So I’ve decided to bite the bullet and ask an app to help me revive my habit of writing every day. I’m going to try out a product called Scrivener that lets me set a target for how much I’m going to write. Even playing with the trial version of this software has me feeling excited about the possibilities, and I’m keen to turn this enthusiasm into a proper creative habit.

Here’s what author Anne Lamott says about the writing process:

You try to sit down at approximately the same time every day. This is how you train your unconscious to kick in for you creatively. So you sit down at, say, nine every morning, or ten every night. You put a piece of paper in the typewriter, or you turn on the computer and bring up the right file, and then you stare at it for an hour or so.

Hopefully I won’t just stare at my screen, but I’ll actually get some work done. Wish me luck! And let me know if you have any goals that an app is helping you achieve. Send any tips or hacks my way! I’m all ears.

Much love, Lyndall