Amazon And Microsoft Engineers Launch 21habit To Help You Track Your New Year’s Resolutions

Especially at this time of year, more and more consumers are flocking to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to express resolutions or personal goals publicly. But simply expressing your resolution via a Tweet or Status Update doesn’t help you actually break a habit or resolve an issue for the long term. Enter 21habit, which is a simple tool designed to help people make or break habits, 21 days at a time. It’s also a great way for people to track their New Year’s Resolutions. And in addition to helping people make changes in their lives, 21habit raises money for charity.

The startup was actually founded (and self-funded) by Microsoft software developer Pranav Goel, and Amazon engineers Himanshu Khurana, Hemanth Pai and Ian McAllister (who heads up new traffic and customer growth initiatives at Amazon) as a side project. Here’s how it works.

First, users tell 21habit what habit they want to make or break. This creates a 21-day challenge on site, which allows isers check-in each day for the next 21 days to track their progress.  You can stop or change the habit (or resolution) at any time. When you check-in daily on the site, you can indicate whether you’ve failed or succeeded at your goal for the day or week. The site will also send you daily check-in reminders with your specific resolution via email.

While the use of 21habit is free, users can also commit a small amount of money to help take their resolution to the next level. In what the startup calls ‘Committed mode,’ users actually invest money towards their challenge. They start by investing $21. Each day they succeed at their habit they get $1 back. Each day they fail they forfeit $1, and 21habit donates that $1 to charity. Users can stop the challenge at any time, and withdraw any funds not already forfeited.

While the design and functionality of 21habit is fairly basic, the startup says that goal was to be simple at first, without bells and whistles that could be distracting from helping users achieve their resolutions.

For anyone with a New year’s resolution, 21habit could be a compelling platform to actually create a centralized, personalized place to house your resolution.

Already, we’ve seen a ton of chatter on the Twittersphere about resolutions. Social media analytics company Crimson Hexagon, took a closer look at what kind of resolutions were most popular. Ironically, “sharing less via social media” was one of 2012’s most popular resolutions, with 18 percent of those who expressed resolutions on Twitter. The firm says that 21 percent of users resolved to get fit and be more healthy; 15 percent promised to be kinder in the New Year; and 26 percent resolved to improve their finances. Interestingly, according to Crimson Hexagon 21 percent expresses that they did not want to make resolutions because they think they are silly and ineffective. Perhaps they should give 21habit a try.