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A New Year – A New You: Websites and Apps to Help Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions on Track

A New Year – A New You: Websites and Apps to Help Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions on Track
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BY MYRA FAYE TURNER

When people ask me why I don’t make my bed in the morning (well, hardly ever) I tell them I don’t see the point since I’m just gonna mess it up again at night. That’s how I feel about New Year’s resolutions. Why should I make them when I know dang well I’ll probably break them before the end of January? And I’m not alone; according to one report only 8% of people who make resolutions actually stick with them. Furthermore, only 14% of people fifty and older achieve their goals, as compared to 39% of people in their twenties.

Popular resolutions include:

  • Losing weight/ getting healthy and fit
  • Better time management/ getting organized
  • Sticking to a budget/ better financial management
  • Learning to deal with stress/ relax more
  • Learning a new skill

For 2016, I decided to give resolutions one more shot. I feel I may have a fighting chance if I take advantage of the plethora of websites and apps to help keep me on track. After a bit of digging around, I found these resources to be extremely helpful.

Coach.me

Coach.me is a goal setting website that helps you track your progress on whatever activity you want to work on. You can easily connect by signing in with Facebook or creating a new account. From your dashboard, click the large + sign to add a goal. You can select from one of the pre-set activities or type in your own. Categories include personal growth, getting fit and increasing productivity. You can also find others who are working on similar goals and connect with them. You can also hire a coach. If you have a questions or concerns, you can post it to discussion boards and get answers from other registered members.

Just remember to return each day to check off that you have completed your task (at which time you’ll get a virtual high five!). You can follow along as others work on their goals. This will keep you motivated and you can also add your own coaching to help others. A downloadable app for the Android phone is available in the Google Play or Apple store.

My Fitness Pal

If you’re logging calories as part of your weight loss plan, the MyFitnessPal website and accompanying app boast 5 million foods in their database — including popular fast food and chain restaurants. If you need to calculate the amount of calories you burn, you can do so by logging in the amount of time spent on various activities. The site also contains useful blog posts and a community to help you stay motivated. It’s easy to create an account, by linking to your Facebook or simply use your email. After filling out a few questions, a personalized diet and exercise profile will be created. Once you have enough information in your profile, you can create charts to see your progress visually, for extra motivation. You can download the app for Apple , Android or Windows phones.

Mint

If you’re trying to stay on top of your financial affairs, Mint can help. The website and accompanying app, brought to you by Intuit (makers of TurboTax, Quicken and other financial software), pulls all of your financial information into one place. You can see at a glance when bills need to be paid and you can use the app’s bill pay option to take care of payment. Your Mint account will keep track of your bank and credit card accounts. There are over 20 types of alerts you can set up, including bill reminders, notification of fees assessed or if you’re in jeopardy of going over budget. You can also create budget and savings plans. The app is available for download for both Apple and Android devices.

SkickK

StickK is another goal setting site but with a twist. The site was created by behavioral economists at Yale University with the premise that people are more liable to achieve a goal if they are willing to put something at stake, such as money. Registered users create commitment contracts where they first define a goal, then set a date to achieve it. And finally, users are asked to put something on the line in case they fail. So if you want to stop smoking, you might agree to give your spouse or a friend, $1 every time you light up. You’re not required to risk money if you fail. For example, you might agree to wash your friend’s car, babysit for a neighbor, or clean your parent’s house, etc. After you create your profile and your commitment contract, you have the opportunity to network with other users. The contract reminds me of the “cuss jar” that was popular when I was a teen, where you had to put a quarter into it every time you cursed!

AARP’s Life Reimagined ReNew Year Program

You can sign up for this goal setting program through your Facebook or LinkedIn accounts or create a new account with your email and a password. From your dashboard you can engage in pre-designed programs in several categories such as wellbeing, work, or relationships. The program allows you to set goals, receive reminders and get encouragement as you work through the self-paced programs.

Samsung’s S Health

I discovered this app when my phone died recently and I had to replace it. My new phone had the app already waiting patiently for me to install it, so I decided to give it a shot. The app was initially released and available only to users of Samsung Galaxy phones running versions 5.0 or higher (Galaxy S3 and up). But now some non-Samsung Android phones can also use the app.

It’s an all-in-one fitness tracker with many useful applications. I especially love that it has a pedometer to count my steps while I walk in the morning, as well as throughout the day, anytime I’m physically carrying my phone. When I reach my daily goal of 10,000 steps (and at regular intervals thereafter), I receive a congratulatory alert. I also receive alerts after I walk 30 minutes and again after one hour. I notice I’m more active since I started counting steps, which can be hard since I work all day at home on the computer and can sit for hours without taking a break. Other useful applications include a pulse monitor, stress tracker and various training programs. For instance, if you’re thinking of doing a 5k run in the future, there are programs that will help train you to reach that goal. Concerned about your caffeine intake? There’s a tracker for that, as well as ones to track your food, water, diet and weight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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