Long the subject of late January guilt and remorse as one New Years’ resolution after another falls by the wayside, our yearly promises to ourselves might get a new lease of life as our smartphones and PCs keep us on the straight and narrow.
There are a host of apps, websites and tools to help you stick to resolutions and while many promise the Earth, Knox Community Health Service dietician Lisa Renn advises a little background checking – especially if your tool of choice is health related.
“Anyone can tweet, blog or create a website,” she says, “alarmingly, many provide health and nutrition advice when they’re not qualified to do so. Always make sure the advice is given by a qualified health professional.”
Renn also suggests running the app or site you’re interested in past your health professional is also a good idea, saying there’s no better advice than tailored information.
Of course, you also shouldn’t expect an app to do the work for you. “If these devices help people learn how to be accountable that’s great,” Renn says. “But I don’t believe there’s an app that can stimulate motivation yet!”
So, armed with knowledge and determination, here are some great starting points.
Set a weight loss goal, download the app and record your food intake and exercise. Logging what you eat can be as easy as scanning a barcode, and you can track your progress minute by minute. You can also enlist family, friends and peers to log in, give you words of encouragement or share in your success.
John the Sloth
If you need inspiration about what to change in your life, crowdsource it. This website lets you browse a whole community of users who are posting their own resolutions or progress, and if you see one you like, you simply click to adopt it as your own. It also helps you break resolutions down into smaller, manageable, time-relevant steps.
Start a Resolution
There’s no better way to stick to your guns than to have someone coaching and encouraging you. Post your resolution to this website, and the person who joined before you automatically becomes your champion. You in turn do the same for the person who joins after you, paying the karma forward.
The theory behind this service is that it takes 21 days to form a habit, and forming the habit that will lead to your resolution’s goal might be all that’s stopping you getting there. The site emails you for 21 days to ask how you did the day before and starts again for 21 more days if you slip up.
No grand design, no detailed scheme. Sometimes you just need someone to say ‘have you…?’ to realise your plan. But instead of regular missives you might get into the habit of ignoring, Hassle Me emails you at random intervals, making it harder to sabotage yourself by planning around it.