April 11, 2012

21habit – Resolve to Make a Change

It takes 21 days to make or break any habit, good or bad. People who want to give themselves a head start on the process can try out 21habit, a web-application that aims to guide its users through the process of making new habits by breaking monumental tasks – like quitting smoking or getting in shape – into an easy series of steps that anyone can follow.

Start on your path to a better, brighter future by making a major resolution of your own. Decide to stop drinking, start exercising, or learn a foreign language. Whatever your goal, 21habit can help you achieve it. The next step in the process is to pick a commitment mode. Pledge $21 toward your goal, or start in free mode if you’re a little less sure of your chances of success. Once you’ve made your commitment, 21habit will begin checking-in on you every day for the next 21 days via email or website announcement. These check-ins serve not only as reminders, but also as a place for you to track your success or failure. Click the ‘Success’ or ‘Failure’ box in each daily email, depending on how close you came to accomplishing your goal that day. Each day you click ‘Success,’ 21habit will give you $1 of your commitment pledge back to you. Each day you click ‘Fail,’ $1 of your commitment pledge is donated to a charity.

At the end of your 21-day challenge, you’ll be able to see a calendar with thumbs up and thumbs down icons marking your days of success and failure. Use these icons as a barometer of how close you came to achieving your goal, and then get started on coming up with another resolution you’d like to tackle. There’s no telling what you can accomplish when you’ve got 21habit – plus a $21 financial incentive – behind you.

Practical Uses:

  • Finally get around to learning a new language
  • Create an incentive to start working out more
  • Give money to charity each time you cheat on your no-smoking pledge
  • Spend more time reading each day and less time watching TV

Insider Tips:

  • Users can decide for themselves whether to offer up a $21 commitment pledge
  • 21habit donates $1 to charity each time a user doesn’t check-in for three days
  • 21habit currently supports 10 popular charities, including the United Way, American Heart Association, and American Cancer Society
  • People who quit mid-pledge can withdraw their remaining funds at any time

What we liked:

  • Encouraging people to ante up $21 provides a good motivational incentive
  • Daily check-in emails remind people about what they’re trying to accomplish
  • People can easily see how successful they were by checking out the visual calendar at the end of 21 days
  • Users who change their mind can withdraw funds that haven’t already been forfeited

What we didn’t like:

  • Individual users can only work on one habit at a time


Company Info:

  • Launched: December 2011
  • Privately Held
  • Founded by: Himanshu Khurana, Ian McAllister, and Pranav Goel
  • Web site:


  • Free plan
  • $21 for people in Committed Mode


  1. Thanks for the detailed and informative article!

    I think this app is very good and helpful, but I think it misses one of the vitally important aspects of habit change – personal support and encouragement. It is HARD to change habits – but it gets slightly easier when you’ve got folks cheering you on, patting you on the back and excited over your successes.

    You could have listed as another alternative. 100% free, no advertising, no gimmicks. Just a community committed to improving themselves.

  2. A really interesting way of going through rehab I must say, haha! This website may be a beneficial tool for those of us who are somewhat wanting to make changes ‘less publicly’ and are committed to make this a personal thing. Interestingly enough, there are many of us who hold strongly to intentions to change – yet the commercialized idea of changing for the better hinders us. The quirky design and feel of the website plus its many cool functions (daily email alerts, daily check-ins, a tender approach to ‘punishment’ [laugh.out.loud] and knowing there’s always someone watching you through your transition) contribute to this being friendly and great to work with.

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