I Couldn’t Stay Present… So I Developed an App!
I’m not a rock star app developer…. Or even a guy who wants to build the next ‘unicorn’ business. I’m just an ordinary bloke with an ordinary job who wanted to do the extra-ordinary – live my life in the present moment.
Sounds simple, huh? But as anyone who’s interested in meditation and mindfulness will tell you, staying anchored in the ‘now’ is anything but…
Here’s how my typical day would unravel. I get up nice and early, have a cuppa and meditate. The house is silent, I’m hearing the birds outside, noticing the colour the sun casts over the clouds as it rises and I am so chilled I’m virtually zen-incarnate. Inside my head my thoughts are few and far between. This is the scene that plays out as I leave the house, make my way to the subway and even lingers as I walk towards the office.
But then it all goes horribly wrong.
No sooner have I stepped foot into the office, my mind is racing. Emails, phone calls and colleagues are pulling my attention in 100 different directions. My daily calendar reminder to meditate gets pushed out the way so that other, seemingly more important meetings can take its place. Suddenly it’s 6.30pm and my lofty plans for a mindful, meditative day are lying in tatters, along with my sanity! Sound familiar? Thought so…
I undertook a survey recently to find out what the biggest reason people fail to keep their healthy habits is, and the majority of respondents (45%) said that modern life was the biggest factor in their failure. From social media to emails to smartphones, our days are littered with distractions – and considering it takes anything from three weeks to nine months of regular practice to form a new habit, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that distractions + stress = failed healthy habits.
Something needs to change.
It was after one particularly distracted day in the office that I decided modern technology could offer a solution. “Surely there must be an app that I can use with my phone or smartwatch that will simply nudge me to practice mindfulness throughout my day?” I thought. Well, it turns out there wasn’t. It’s such a simple and powerful way to boost presence-power that I was sure someone else would have built this app, but I found nothing. Nada. Zip. So I thought I’d have a go – I’ve got a mate whose cousin is a coder and could do it for cheap so why not?!
Elephant App (elephants never forget – get it?!) is a simple, easy-to-use app that lets you pick a healthy habit you want to achieve, choose how many times you want reminding to practice the habit, and during which times of the day, and sends you little vibrating reminders to practice your habit. Simple right? And the best bit – it really does work!
My favourite habit is to practice mindfulness, so as I walk around the office, I get an occasional vibrating alert sent straight to my watch that reminds me to, ‘Be present’. I don’t have to open the app, or enter anything in – I simply get present and carry on with my day. The more I practice, the more second nature it becomes and I can honestly say that my days are more mindful, productive and peaceful as a result.
Other people are using Elephant to remind them to drink more water during the day; others are remembering to sit up straight as they work, while others are using it to remember to practice gratitude. If it’s a healthy habit that requires repetition and practice, then Elephant App can help.
So here’s my challenge to you: Choose a healthy new habit today that requires repetition and practice, and download Elephant App so you’ve got your own virtual helper on-hand to nudge you in the right direction throughout the day. And then let me know how it works for you (you can email me via the app)!
Happy habit-setting, and here’s to a mindful and meditative year ahead!
Ricky Cooper is the creator of Elephant App – the habit reminder app. You can find out more about Elephant App at:
To download the app from iTunes, visit: http://apple.co/2kYqdOf
To download the app from Google Play, visit: http://bit.ly/2hH9qDD