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Introducing HabitScore™

June 25, 2012 by James Tauber

In the last few weeks, we've introduced a number of exciting new features to Habitualist including a uniquely-formulated score for each action as well as your actions overall.

There are a lot of different ways you might measure how well you're doing at building a habit. One common technique is to count streaks. Streaks are great and we provide them in Habitualist but they aren't enough.

The main problem with streaks is if you miss once you have to start all over again. If you've done something 50 days in a row then miss one day, your current streak is no better than when you started. That may be a good motivation while you're on the streak but it can become unnecessarily demoralizing if you fall of the wagon. One of the keys to habit building is: if you stumble, just get right back up.

And so for the last few months, we've been developing a measure of how well you're doing we call HabitScore™. The trademark is a little tongue-in-cheek but we also think we're on to something unique.

When developing the secret formula for HabitScore™, we had a number of requirements in mind. We wanted it to favour your most recent activity but also reward longevity. We wanted it to start at 0, grow fairly fast initially (if you successfully did the action on time) but then become more of a challenge to increase over time (the maximum HabitScore™ is 100 but it may take months or even years to reach that). There was also the challenge of a formula that catered to both daily actions and actions that may only be done once every few months.

But we think we've come up with something really useful and hope you'll agree. Of course, we're always looking for ways to improve things so there may be tweaks to the formula over time.

In addition to each action having a HabitScore™, we also calculate your overall HabitScore™.

This isn't a simple average of all your scores, largely because we didn't want people's overall score to drop dramatically whenever they start a new action. For the mathematically inclined, it's a variation of a harmonic mean that weights the successful actions more than the less successful. Like the individual action HabitScore™, we may tweak the formula in the future.

We also plan to provide charts of your HabitScore™ over time and, of course, once we add more sharing capabilities, you'll be able to share your HabitScore™ to friends and family who are supporting your habit building (and maybe even encourage a little competition).

Habitualist is a great way of tracking the things you want to do on a regular basis, the things you want to turn into habits.

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