Obvious-Incubated Lift Brings Its Smart Goal-Tracking And Self-Improvement App To The Browser And Mobile Web

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Back in August, Lift launched the first rendition of its snappy-looking iPhone app that aims to help people build healthy habits and achieve their goals. Initially incubated and seed funded by Obvious Corp., the hybrid accelerator and seed vehicle created by Twitter co-founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone and early Twitter VP Jason Goldman, the startup added $2.5 million from Spark Capital, SV Angel and Adam Ludwin from RRE, among others, in November.

Today, Tony Stubblebine, Jon Crosby and team are making their goal-tracking app available to everyone by bringing it to the browser. Up until now, Lift has been iPhone-only, but beginning today, users will be able to sign up for an account and use the app across Windows and Android phones.

The browser version of Lift includes many of the same features that have been available on mobile, including tracking, streaks, graphs, progress and community support, as Stubblebine explained in a blog post this morning.

As we’ve written previously, Lift is among a new set of startups experimenting with the best ways to present behavioral design on mobile — to “find the right incentivization and motivation structures” that can help people better achieve their goals.

Many companies have opted to take a health-centric approach to activity tracking, offering monetary rewards or social graph-leveraged peer pressure to help people unlock healthier lifestyles. Using methods inspired by the Quantified Self Movement’s penchant for data tracking, psychology and behavioral research — along with cheerleading and positive support from its community — Lift is taking a more general approach.

It’s not intended to just be a health-tracking app, although it works in many health-related contexts by helping users keep track of say, the number of push ups they managed in any given week. The team doesn’t want Lift just to be a “tracker” in the same way that many Quantified Self enthusiasts have come to see health trackers as a system bereft of intelligence where users can simply keep tabs and notes about what people do on a daily basis.

And, rather than simply being a habit tracker, which sounds like another chore that people have to suffer through, and because it’s not automatic or daily — the focus of many habit trackers. Instead, users can create or join existing “habits,” using the app to record those habits when and if they meet them. All activity on the app is public, and users can offer support to others (and receive it in kind) when goals are reached.

The idea is to make it simple to record your progress for any and all of your regular habits or activities and get pushed along by the positive reinforcement of community applause. As Lift sucks in more data on your aspirations and progress, it populates groups of charts and graphs with that data, giving users a visual sense of just how well (or not) they’ve been doing when it comes to sticking to their goals.

I like to think of it this way: You know when you make all those brave New Years Resolutions about how you’re going to get in shape and be a better son/daughter/husband/wife/sister/brother/mother/father, stay in touch with friends, be kinder to animals and re-tweet Rip’s articles more regularly? Well, usually, those resolutions are attacked with gusto for about a week before life gets in the way and one month later, you’ve driven by the gym once.

Lift is the app that helps you keep track of all those life goals and remind yourself how close you are to getting there. As Stubblebine writes: “You can’t change what you don’t measure and tracking your progress is the first step toward achievement.” And the second step, going beyond goal tracking, is to make the community foundation deep enough that it becomes a legitimate source of answers, accountability and positive support.

In terms of what Lift is launching today, beyond progress and quick tracking, Lift for the Web includes a “Me” tab that allows users to view trend charts in bar form among others. [See below.]

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Lift for the Web is also a product of responsive design, meaning that it’s optimized for mobile use as well, adjusting in size to work with the format and screen type of any mobile device, phone or tablet.

In terms of what’s up next: Lift says that a native Android version of the app isn’t quite ready yet, but it’s on the way. In terms of features, Lift is also testing “expert guidance and accountability in the form of groups,” which Stubblebine says one can think of like “training plans.”

Skeptical? For more about the “Science of Lift,” find it here. But, with its responsive design, Lift (at the very least) keeps the bar high in terms of the clean look and appeal of its simplicity. The team is taking great care not to just create another blunt instrument for health tracking, as seen by the “intelligent” push notification system it launched late last year (care of Matthew Panzarino of TNW), and its user experience is all the better for it.

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