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It’s that time again! Time to create resolutions — and then forget about them before Valentine’s Day.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way, friends.
You have the technology right at your fingertips to help you reach this year’s goals. Here are five ways you can use tech to help you keep your New Year’s resolutions.
1. Share Your Resolutions Online
According to the Whole Life Challenge Guide to Making New Year’s Goals That Stick, “[T]elling your friends and family what you’re working toward can be beneficial since in-the-know loved ones can help leverage your personal accountability (plus, it’s fun to celebrate successes with others).”
Use your social media platform of choice to announce your resolutions. This will help you stay accountable, and maybe also help you find a workout buddy, a book club, a place to exchange recipes, tips on quitting smoking, or support for any of the positive changes you want to make in your life this year. If people make fun of your goals or make an effort to thwart them, you can unfollow them or mute them.
2. Turn on “Do Not Disturb While Driving”
One of the unhealthiest habits I ever had was checking my phone in the car. I used to check my notifications or respond to quick messages at stoplights. I’m not proud of this habit and I recognize it was dangerous to others and to myself.
If you have this problem and you have an iPhone, go to Settings > Do Not Disturb and scroll down to “DO NOT DISTURB WHILE DRIVING” and then choose “Automatically.” That means that whenever you’re driving and you try to look at your phone, you will see a warning that says, “It looks like you’re driving.”
If you’re not actually driving, you can tap “I’m not driving,” If you are driving you still have to tap “I’m not driving” to use your phone, which means you’d be lying to your iPhone and who wants to lie to their iPhone? Not me.
Here’s what else happens when you turn this function on:
- Text messages are silenced and won’t appear on screen.
- All notifications are silenced (except emergency alerts, timers, and alarms).
- Phone calls will come in only if your phone is connected to your car’s Bluetooth speakers.
- Siri will read and reply to all your replies and the screen will stay dark.
NOTE: Your phone will also automatically respond to text messages with an auto-reply that says you’re driving. I usually turn this off. I don’t make a habit of replying right away to every text message I receive and I don’t always need people to know I’m driving. Also, even though you can customize the reply, I always find auto-replies to be a little off-putting when I get them.
3. Enlist a Robot
Until the robot apocalypse actually happens, robots are our friends. (At least that’s what I tell myself.) And robots can help you with your New Year’s resolutions.
If your goal is to save money this year, do it right after you buy yourself a robot vacuum. I use the Neato Botvac Connected D6, but Roomba vacuums from iRobot are great too. The awesome reviews site The Wirecutter recommends the Eufy RoboVac 11S. Even if your goal this year has nothing to do with having a cleaner home, the robot vacuum will save you time cleaning so you can spend time achieving your loftier goals.
Other bots I like:
- The Echo Show: I have one of Amazon’s smart assistants in nearly every room of our house, but my favorite is the Echo Show in the kitchen. If your resolution is to cook more, it can show you recipes. If your resolution is to learn more, it can show you a word of the day or play audiobooks from Audible.
- Trim: This Facebook Messenger Bot connects to your accounts to negotiate your bills so you don’t have to. Trim will also help you cancel subscriptions, help you find better car insurance, and give you spending notifications so you don’t have to waste time manually checking all your accounts. If your resolution is to get your finances in order, I recommend Trim. Be warned it’s not free — they take a percentage of whatever they save you when they negotiate your bills.
- Smart Scale: A smart bathroom scale can connect to your phone through an app to help you track your weight over time. I use the Yunmai Smart Scale because it also measures body fat, BMR, BMI, and more. Here are the scales The Wirecutter recommends.
4. Track Your Progress
One way to keep your resolutions longer is to keep track of them. I have an app for that. Productive lets you choose the good habits you want to track and then you get to decide when and how often you want the app to remind you about them.
When you’ve completed the task, you get the satisfaction of swiping to say you’re done. Productive also works with Siri (another favorite bot of mine) to simply talk to your phone to tell it you’ve completed that good habit for the day.
My favorite part of Productive is the Life Log that shows you all your habits, your perfect days when you’ve completed all of your habits, your best streak, and more.
5. Delete at Least One Social Media Account
Nobody’s new year’s resolution has ever been, “Spend more time on social media.” I know my first tip was to use social media to get support for your goals, but more often than not, scrolling mindlessly through our feeds can keep us from spending time doing the things that make us happy, healthy, or more connected to other people.
If you use Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or another social media account, consider getting rid of at least one this year. If you’re not ready to delete your account entirely, consider deleting the app from your phone or at least tracking the amount of time you use the app to see if you might be able to reduce the minutes per week that you spend using it.
Good luck with your goals, everyone. Share them below and we can help support each other.