ZOE Habit Tracker: What have we found so far?

Download the free app now to join over 65,000 contributors who are already taking part — it’s not too late to sign up.

At ZOE, our mission is to understand and improve health for everyone, whether that’s through the ZOE Health Study or our work on nutrition and the microbiome.

Over 75,000 of you have already signed up for the ZOE Health Study Habit Tracker, and it’s time to reveal what we’ve learned so far. 

What’s the most popular new habit?

When you sign up for the Habit Tracker, you’ll pick one of seven healthy habits and track how following your new habit affects your mood, energy, hunger, sleep quality, and health symptoms every day. 

You’ll also be able to log whether you stuck with your new habit on the previous day. 

So far, the most popular new habit has been daily activity. Nearly a quarter of you are looking to incorporate 20 minutes of activity into your daily routine.

Regular physical activity is linked with a range of health benefits, including better mood and sleep, stronger bones and muscles, a lower risk of heart disease, and better gut health.

What about the other habits? Here’s what you picked:

  • Eating during a 12-hour window: 15%

  • Deep breathing for 5 minutes: 14%

  • Eating more plants: 12%

  • Drinking less alcohol: 11%

  • Going to bed 30 minutes earlier: 9%

  • Standing up and stretching for 5 minutes every hour: 9%

  • Another habit: 8%

You can choose how long to track your new habit when you sign up. The most common duration so far is 6 weeks, which nearly 17,000 of our contributors selected. 

Which new habits are you sticking with?

So, 3 weeks into the new year, are our contributors incorporating their new habits into their daily routines?

It turns out: Most of you are sticking with having your meals and snacks within a 12-hour window. This means that you’re fasting for the remaining 12 hours every day.

So far, 86% of our contributors who picked this habit report doing it every day. 

Looking at the data from the remaining new habits, we can see that around three-quarters of our contributors are sticking with: 

  • deep breathing for 5 minutes

  • eating more plants 

  • drinking less alcohol 

  • standing up and stretching for 5 minutes every hour

At the other end of the spectrum is going to bed 30 minutes earlier. Our data show that you’re finding this the trickiest habit to adopt.

Of our contributors who signed up for this new habit, 55% are sticking with it, on average.

Changing our habits can be challenging. That’s why we’re suggesting micro-changes, because making small changes is more likely to be successful. 

We’ll be working to figure out why our contributors found certain habits easier to incorporate into their daily routines. 

If you picked “going to bed 30 minutes earlier,” and you’re not quite clocking in at half an hour, don’t worry. Bringing your bedtime forward by any amount is a good start.

“Sleep is really important for good health — and your metabolism and response to foods. Many of us don’t get enough,” Prof. Tim Spector comments. “So, it’s worth seeing if bringing your bedtime forward by half an hour works for you.”  

It’s not too late to sign up for the ZOE Habit Tracker and help us study the science of habit changes.