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Issue #15: Get good habits with Streaks

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My name is Thord D. Hedengren, and I’m trying to improve myself, not only by switching to iPad, but also by getting better habits. That’s what this week’s issue of Switch to iPad is all about.

Building good habits is hard work, be it eating right, getting enough exercise, or otherwise doing something regularly that you might not always want to do. The same goes for things you do in fact enjoy doing, but you can’t get yourself to prioritize properly. I’m like that with fiction writing, something I truly want to do, but often don’t because other things take up so much time. That wasn’t always the case, I used to bang out some 2,000 words on a daily basis, but can’t seem to get back into the groove again.

There are always reasons to not do something. You’ve got work, family life, and that TV show that everyone’s raving about. Suddenly you’re too tired, it’s way past your bedtime, and that’s another day when you didn’t do that thing you wanted to.

Well, there’s an app for that.


Streaks is a simple app that lets you set up goals, and then nags you about them until you mark them as done. Goals can be daily, weekly, monthly, or follow a custom schedule. They can be set to be completed once or multiple times per day, and also be fluid in their scheduling, such as you have to complete a goal three times in a week, but the days you do it doesn’t matter. 

I’ve got a goal set to drink water eight times per day. This syncs with the Health app too, so when I complete it Streaks will update my data there too. When I’ve checked it as done the drink water circle fills up, eventually ticking off the whole goal when I’ve had eight glasses in a day, giving me a rewarding ✅ animation. Other goals I have include moving around a bit, which could just pull data from Health too and thus get checked automatically, but in my case is more about making the conscious decision to get out of the chair, and less about how many steps or calories I’m burning. I’ve also got goals for writing, thinking, and so forth.

The app is great, although the interface is a bit blown up on an iPad, it looks better on your iPhone. There’s also an Apple Watch app, which is nice.

What I really like however, is the widget. Yes, I know, I said widgets make less sense on the iPad in last week’s why widgets issue, but Streaks puts them to good use. I like to get reminded about my goals at a glance whenever I’m on the iPad’s homescreen, and see how I’m doing. The widgets, which come in various sizes, look good and carry your color settings too. That’s another thing I like about Streaks: You can not only change the app icon, but also the background for your goal screen, or screens if you have multiple, and pick from a plethora of nice icons to represent your goals.

🤯 Clever nagging
Streaks can nag you through notifications on set times, or when it thinks you need a nag. These are set per goal, so if you know you can do a certain thing only in the evening, then let Streaks know and it’ll focus on the goals you can in fact achieve during daytime, and save its nagging for when needed.

Goals vs. tasks

I don’t think goals are the same as tasks, or todos if you will, even though they could work the same. You could have a daily task set to write, and you don’t need a fancy app for that – the stock Reminders app would do just fine.

The thing with goals is that they’re more overarching, at least that’s how I’m doing it. Tasks are things that you need to do to achieve your goals, whereas goals are the main, well, goal.

It’s a goal to write on a daily basis, but it’s a task to write a specific chapter.

It’s a goal to read something every day, but it’s a task to sit down with a book and actually do it.

Goals have a larger meaning. I want to write every day because I want to build the habit. That’s where Streaks differ from just a recurring daily task in Reminders or Todoist. Streaks will reward me not only with nice animations and the like, but the app also keeps track of how many times in a row I’ve succeeded in meeting my goal. My streak, so to speak.

💪🏻 Streaks Workout
If you like to use Streaks for your exercising habits, you should check out Streaks Workout. It’s the same concept, but you do different sets as part of your workout instead. It’s a great app.

Finding small hacks in your life to achieve your goals and, ultimately, build better habits is important. Clever apps can help, but you could obviously achieve the same with pen and paper, or whatever system that works for you. The only thing that matters is the end result.

Until next time, I hope you build some sensible habits and reach your goals, with or without Streaks.

— Thord D. Hedengren

Widgets in the wild…