If January is the time to start new year’s resolutions, then February is the time to break them. According to YouGov, over a third of people who made resolutions have fallen off the wagon by the second month.
But that doesn’t have to be you. Using a host of tech tools, we’ll show you how you can stick to your resolutions throughout the whole 12 months and make 2019 your best year ever.
1. Use an app to make it ‘appen
Apps are an incredibly useful tool to help build good habits. Whether it’s a dedicated app for a specific activity, or just setting goals for yourself in Google Calendar, they can help keep you on the straight and narrow, and turn your life around in the process. Whatever your goal, chances are there’s an app to help.
Reading can open your mind, expand your vocabulary and open you to other people’s life experiences. It’s also proven to help reduce stress. The Good Reads app has a Reading Challenge feature which should keep you motivated. And if time is an issue, check out Audible instead, and listen to audio books while you drive, cook, clean and more.
Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health, with a host of benefits for both you and those close to you. But it isn’t easy. The NHS Smokefree website is full of tips and advice for motivation, while the accompanying app will help rein in your cravings.
Walking is a great way to stay healthy, build your muscles and to lose weight. It’s free, it can lead to some great views, and it can be a brilliant way to meet people too. But best of all, it doesn’t require hours of sweating in a gym – just 10 minutes of brisk walking a day can make a big difference. Download the NHS’ Active 10 walking tracker to get started.
Still feeling the pinch of Christmas? You could do with saving some money. The best way to do this is to take the decision-making out of your hands with an app that automatically puts some money aside for you – all you have to do is approve it. They also look at your regular outgoings like bills and make suggestions for how you can save money. Chip is a good place to start, while Cleo helps you budget by telling you when you spend more or less on certain things like transport or eating out.
2. Take it day by day
One of the biggest mistakes people make when setting resolutions is to think too big. Instead of worrying about losing a stone, for example, you should focus on what little steps you can take each day towards achieving that – cutting out cake in the afternoon, say, or that extra glass of wine with dinner. And if you do fall off the wagon? Don’t throw out the entire resolution altogether. Instead, reframe it as a minor setback and get back into good habits by focussing on small, day-to-day steps.
Daily Challenge is an app that can help by setting you a different goal every day, be it boosting energy, increasing your mindfulness or relieving stress. And it’ll tell you exactly how to go about each of these. Use it every day, and soon you’ll have built an arsenal of techniques for battling the stresses and strains of everyday life.
3. Keep a motivation list
Most resolutions are long-term, which leaves plenty of time for self-doubt to creep in and motivation to wane. One way of staying motivated is to have a motivation list on your phone – this could consist of the reason(s) you want to achieve your goal, be it for personal satisfaction or to prove something to someone.
Google Keep is one of the best note-taking apps for iOS and Android devices. You can ‘pin’ notes so they stay at the top of your list, instead of getting lost among the shopping lists and to-do lists that inevitably dominate.
Evernote is also a good option, and lets you add voice recordings and pictures too. Tempted by that cream bun? Get your child or grandchild to record a message saying why they want you to be healthy. Suddenly it doesn’t look so tempting.
4. Call in the experts
Whatever your goal, chances are you can’t achieve it alone. While it’s you who will have to do the work, there’s no harm in getting some advice from the experts.
Ted Talks are a great place to start. They cover all manner of subjects, and can be enlightening and entertaining in equal measure. Check out Derek Sivers on why you should keep your goals to yourself, Reggie Rivers on why you shouldn’t focus on your goals, and Matt Cutts on why you should try something new for 30 days.
You can also explore Ted Talks on a specific topic.
Struggling to get started on a goal? Check out Tim Urban’s hilarious look at procrastination. Want to quit smoking? This one should help. And if you want to lose weight, there’s a wealth of talks to watch.
5. Find a group
Whatever your goal, you can guarantee that plenty of other people want the same thing. Mixing with like-minded people can help inspire and motivate you. Plus you might get some tips out of it.
Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are very handy for finding like-minded people in your local area – just search for ‘local running clubs’ or ‘bridge clubs in Stockport’, for example. There should also be plenty of support groups nearby to help you stick to your diet, stop smoking, quit booze and more. Remember: help is out there, you just have to go looking for it.