An app called Habits that I downloaded to my phone last week. No, this isn’t an ad or anything, it’s just a tool that I am exploring and that is helping me be present to my day and my long-term goals.
I ran across it in a listicle comparing apps that help you incorporate new habits into your life. I was looking for something flexible that would help motivate me, but also allow me the space to adjust how I practice my habit from day to day. Basically, instead of a goal oriented approach (like…run 3 miles every other day) I wanted something that encouraged flexibility (like…exercise every day).
It’s a fun little app that is set up into three tiers: “ideas” (which are color coded bubbles you can click on to select and set reminders), “doing” (the space where the habits you are actively pursuing are stored and where you swipe right when you complete one and left when you want to dismiss it for the day), and finally “done” (which keeps a fun little color coded pie chart and weekly calendar of completion).
Basically, if you’re the kind of person that writes things on your to-do list that you have already done just so you get the satisfaction of crossing them off (like me!)…this could be your new favorite thing.
It’s helping me set intentions that contribute to better overall self-care. Here is what I am working on right now:
Sleep for 8 hours
Take time for solitude
Cook at home
Let go of perfection
When I list that out it feels like a lot, but the truth is, it was already a habit of mine to journal in solitude, to sleep for 8 hours and to spend time outside. And, full transparency here…for me, some days, “cook at home” means microwaving something I cooked days ago rather than running out for fast food; “exercise” is sometimes simply Britt’s daily walk when I also enjoy nature. By including those practices in my list it gives me a sense of accomplishment when I do them each day.
So, how is this app saving my life?
Because it is reminding me to slow down and care for myself. It is allowing me to “count” some of the things I do that I might not notice and give myself credit for. I have a tendency to get to the end of a day and see all of the things I didn’t check off of my “to-do” list around the house or for work or the various places I volunteer my energies. But with this new app-friend I can acknowledge the ways I am taking care of myself and offer grace to myself for other things that might not have gotten done as soon as I wanted.
In seminary, in our Covenant Groups—small groups that met together each week to learn and practice spiritual formation—we made personal covenants of practices to engage throughout the year. These were meant to keep us anchored in our relationship with Christ during a season of life where it can be easy to mistake school work for soul care. As we made our covenants we were encouraged to consider including not just things like prayer and scripture study, but also things like: time in nature, exercise, good sleep hygiene, silence, and eating practices. I loved this because it taught me that our relationship with God extends beyond head knowledge and touches all the parts of us that God created and loves. Spending time in nature helps center me on God our creator. Eating well reminds me that nourishing my body is an important part of nourishing my soul.
My newest app download, Habits, is one small way I am turning my attention toward God in my daily life. In just the few days that I’ve been using it, I’ve found myself calmer and more readily able to let go of my to-do list and take each day as it comes.
It’s a little thing, a free app downloaded on a whim, but it’s making me happy and helping me give greater attention and value to the important things that I often overlook.
What’s saving your life right now?