5 Ways Technology Can Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions
The New Year tradition of formulating resolutions and abandoning them a few weeks later dates back to the days when ancient civilizations adopted a calendar system. Throughout the ages, little has been done to address the abandonment of New Year’s resolutions; we know that the positive spirit of the season often results in setting unrealistic goals that fail to take into account that humans are creatures of habit.
Most resolutions made at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve involve positive change on a very broad level. Losing a significant amount of weight, for example, tends to be a resolution that does not address certain obstacles such as motivation, costs, lack of time, etc.
Thankfully, the advent of mobile technology and its wide adoption can help us in terms of sticking to our New Year’s resolutions. Here are five ways tech can be used in this regard.
Fitness, Health and Nutrition
A general resolution such as “I am going to be healthier next year” can be kept and achieved with the help of wearable computing and mobile apps. Motivation and willpower need to be addressed first; once that is accomplished, the next step is to come up with a strategy that incorporates technology.
Wearable devices that track and collect information on physical activity can be applied to fitness goals. For example, a smart watch that counts daily steps can determine if we need to increase our level of activity; likewise, feedback about our sleeping habits can prompt us to get better rest. Personal apps such as Pocket Yoga and Workout Trainer provide exercise guidance and motivation while apps like NutriScore 2 Go offer diet counseling similar to Weight Watchers.
One of the problems with New Year’s resolutions is that they often create additional tasks that we forget to fit into our already busy schedules. We live in an era of multitasking, which is a lifestyle that demands organization and requires assistance to get many things done. Thankfully, smartphone apps can help us coordinate and juggle our many activities efficiently.
Just about every mobile operating system includes task manager or calendar apps we can use to schedule events and set reminders. Simple resolutions can be programmed into these apps, but more elaborate and ambitious promises for the New Year may require project management apps such as Trello or Basecamp.
With the United States economy in full recovery mode, buying a home will likely become a New Year’s resolution as popular as giving up smoking in 2016. For most of us, buying a home will require that we eliminate some debt and save up money for the down payment and reserves; this is something that can be more easily accomplished by using an app for personal finance.
Mint has been one of the most popular personal finance for a few years, and it integrates with thousands of banks for the purpose of tracking spending, saving and managing income. For most of us, tracking our daily expenses is a tedious task that takes up considerable time; apps such as Mint and BillGuard make it seamless while helping us achieve financial goals.
In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world we’re constantly engaged in life-long learning, whether to stay competitive and employable or merely for personal development. Technology provides flexible and adjustable solutions that can easily be integrated into our lifestyles.
Cognitive New Year’s resolutions such as learning a foreign language can be greatly advanced with the help of smartphone apps. Two popular mobile apps for language learning are DuoLingo and Rosetta Stone; they are recommended for beginner to intermediate learners, offering daily lessons that keep users constantly engaged. Another fun and positive resolution is to become more well-rounded by reading; to this effect, mobile apps that feature insightful articles and investigative reporting can help us become better informed about the world around us. Longform, Byliner, and the New York Times app come to mind.
For a more structured learning experience, we can turn to a range of online education resources. A great way to integrate education into our life is to take an online course such as MOOCs, which is growing in popularity and is widely available. Life-long learners sometimes require more flexible educational experiences, so just-in-time learning is another form of education technology that can easily be integrated into our busy schedules, as it provides learners with lessons on demand. Technology has also made learning more efficient and accessible with online courses, with credible higher learning institutions like the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University offering a variety of courses at your convenience.
Our decisions to better ourselves cognitively can easily be followed through by the use of technology, as it secures more efficient lessons, filled with meaningful activities and purposeful assignments.
Lifestyle and Well-Being
One of the most positive resolutions we can make is to be happier in the New Year. There is no single mobile app that can help us achieve this; most of us will require a combination of apps and some introspection into what makes up happy in life.
If stress is a major obstacle on our road to happiness, meditation apps such as Headspace and Relax Lite can help. We can add a fitness goal to improve upon this resolution, and we can use an app such as Pocket Yoga to help us. We can use our calendar apps to schedule more family time, and we can plan trips with our loved one with apps such as Expedia and Gogobot.
In the end, our resolutions for the New Year are not only dependent on motivation; they also require time management, organization and guidance. The tools to help us achieve our resolutions are already in our hands, we just need to use them accordingly.