New Year’s Day is over, and now begins the slow decline in motivation for my New Year’s resolutions. It’s just so much easier to commit time and energy to self improvement when I’m on vacation. Once I get back to work and back to my to-do list, finding the time becomes a lot more difficult, and resolutions are the first thing to go.
Luckily, we live in the age of information technology. If you can make it work for you, technology can make sticking to your resolutions a lot easier. Here are my favorite tools for simplifying some of the most common resolutions.
This year, my main resolution is to run a half marathon. But I’m not a runner. At all. And I’ve never really trained for a race. So I’m taking the age old advice of breaking my goal into smaller pieces to make it easier to attain.
My first step is training for a 5K in March, and I found a 5K training program called “Couch to 5K” that makes it incredibly easy. By using interval training and breaking it down week by week, this program builds up stamina without burning you out. It promises to prepare you for your first 5K in 9 weeks flat.
To make it even easier, I downloaded the Couch to 5K iPhone app. This is the first application for my smart phone that I’ve actually purchased (I usually only download the free ones), and it’s so worth it. The app tracks your progress and links a timer to your iTunes playlist so you can listen to music while keeping with the program. If you’re hoping to run more in the New Year, I absolutely recommend it.
There are a ton of websites out there that make tracking diet and exercise a lot easier. Two of my favorites are FitDay and the Daily Plate. They’re both free, and they offer food diaries, fitness tracking, and a community for support. Simple calorie trackers make it easy to identify your diet downfalls, and fitness tracking helps you determine how many calories you’re burning with your daily exercise.
I love my busy life, but I really miss having the time to read for leisure. Lately I’ve been using Shelfari to motivate me to keep up with my reading list. In the past, I would see tons of books that looked interesting, but I never had a place to keep a list. Shelfari’s visual bookshelf gives you a place to list what you’ve read, what you want to read, and find recommendations for new books from readers like you. You can see my last 10 reads in the widget on the right sidebar. The rating and reviews feature lets you keep track of your favorites. By making reading a fun challenge, this website may be the motivation you need to become well read.
Manage your money better.
If you’re not using Mint.com to track your spending, this should be your first priority. Mint automatically syncs with your bank accounts and credit cards to give you a full picture of where your money is going. It also allows you to create budgets and automatically track spending based on categories. The free iPhone app lets you keep track of your spending on the go. When it comes to managing your money, this is 75% of the battle.
If you’re looking for a better way to manage your to-do list, try Remember the Milk or Evernote. Both of these free programs allow you to keep an electronic to-do list, sync it with your smart phone or home computer, and stay on top of what needs to get done.
What did I miss? How are you using technology to accomplish your goals?