Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Liftoff...!

Do you ever browse for apps? I have to admit, I never had, until one day about a month ago when I ended up in the App Store for some reason and found the “best new apps” section. One small graphic caught my eye and when I read the description I was even more intrigued.
The app is called Lift. Here is a blurb from the Details section:
Lift works through positive reinforcement. If you can do something once, we can help you do it three times. If you can do it seven times, we can help you turn it into a habit. When you join Lift, choose habits that are most important to you and then set yourself the goal of making it through seven days. We’ll help you take it from there.
What the heck, I thought, I’ll give it a try. I’m not sure I’d say I need to change any habits per se, but I thought it would be interesting to use this to set goals to get certain things done. I downloaded the app and signed up.
You can set goals for yourself in Lift. You can search goals or activities that are already in the app (9,865 have the goal to “Make Bed,” 52,476 people have the goal of “Meditate” and interestingly only 18 people have the goal to “Knit every day”). Or you can add brand new goals. I made up “Write a 100 word story” and “Eat a piece of chocolate.” I added existing things like “Call my dad” and “Read the New Yorker” and also things like “Spend time outside,” “Write for 30 minutes,” “Zumba,” and “Stop and enjoy life.”
Another thing you can do is view recent accomplishments of other people in the Activity feed. You can give “Props” to people for their recent activity, and you can follow people if you have other friends on Lift or find random folks who seem interesting. (One criticism I have is that if you “follow” someone, you only see their feed and not the random public stuff anymore. I like the random stuff so I've not been able to “follow” anyone. Oh well.)
You can also see a summary of what activities you have accomplished and how many times you've accomplished them (I have been to the gym 16 times!).

Some observations about Lift:
  1. It’s actually interesting to see what people decide is important in their lives and how often they manage to accomplish it. Someone posted this 9 minutes ago: “Eat Fruit for the 33rd day in a row! (Pear).” Or this from 18 minutes ago: “Learn something about growing food for the 2nd day in a row! (“Look at them grow! And it’s only day 5. See that cress compared to yesterday!)” And this 19 minutes ago: “Sleep by midnight for the 25th time (11:59 whew)." Some entries are quite poignant – lots of people try to be grateful for something every day (I saw one earlier by someone who was grateful for his grandfather’s overcoat – so sweet!)
  2. Some entries are just TMI. I won’t point any of those out.
  3. You could argue that both points 1 and 2 are all just TMI. Is Lift just another forum for the self-obsessed culture we've become? Does anyone really give a damn how many times I sit down to knit?
  4. I'm not sure what my answer to #3 is. But I do know that when I look at my own activity, I am somewhat disappointed by the infrequency with which I accomplish things I consider important. Since I joined Lift, apparently I've only “Spent time outside” once (I don’t count going to the mailbox) and have only stopped to “Be grateful for something or someone” 7 times. At the very least this helps me see how I use my time and it does make me more aware of what I’d like to focus on. I’ll go have a piece of chocolate while I post this to TMS and then I think I can check off 3 more activities in Lift today.

-ace