By Natasha Baker
TORONTO (Reuters) - People starting to make New Year's resolutions can turn to an app that aims to help them achieve their goals.
Lift, a free iPhone app, is designed so users can track their progress, whether it is losing weight, improving relationships or doing better at work, by breaking the goal into manageable parts, or habits.
"We have always been really interested in how people become good at something, and how good people become really great," said Tony Stubblebine, the co-founder and chief executive of Lift. "What makes great musicians, athletes or entrepreneurs become great? And can it be trained?"
When users maintain their habits they can mark their progress on the platform. Progress can be tracked over time, providing insight into which habits are having the most influence towards their long-term goals.
Rather than focusing on tracking calories burned or consumed, if someone is trying to lose weight, the focus is on creating and tracking daily habits, such as a no sweets or low-carb lunch.
"That's the fundamental feedback loop in Lift -- being honest with yourself about how much progress you're making. Did you really avoid sweets this month or did you only do it two or three times?" said Stubblebine.
"It's much more maintainable," he added. "Can you imagine looking up every meal you ever eat for the rest of your life in a food database? It's unbelievably hard."
Stubblebine said the company drew inspiration from David Allen's book "Getting Things Done," which popularized the concept of taking the next step towards achieving a desired outcome.
Allen and motivational speakers and authors Tony Robbins and Tim Ferris are investors in the app, which became available in August.
The app also helps to connect people with similar goals and looking to build the same habits and support each other to stay on track.
The company said it will be release an update at the end of the month to improve its community features. It also plans to integrate weight tracking so users can correlate habits to weight.
Among the top goals for people using the app are improving exercise, eating and sleeping habits, followed by accomplishments and relationships, according to the company, which hopes to draw insights from the data collected.
The company recently ran a study that found for people looking to drop excess weight one habit that seemed to have helped was taking a cold shower in the morning.
"The side effect that is most interesting is what is the data and insight that comes out of a community and huge database of behavior data and what can we tell you about what works and what doesn't work," said Stubblebine.
(Editing by Patricia Reaney)