MakovskyThursday, January 8, 2015
With 2014 a thing of the past, many people, myself included, look ahead to reinvigorating their health in the New Year. Yet, despite good intentions, we often fall short. A 2014 study conducted by the University of Scranton found that only 75% of people who started the year with a resolution made it past the first week; by six months only 46% of people remained; and by year’s end only 8% of people who started with a New Year’s resolution actually completed their goal. Pretty discouraging!
So what’s the secret to follow-through and success?
The first key is to set goals that are attainable. According to psychologist Lynn Bufka, “small attainable goals throughout the year, rather than a singular overwhelming goal” increases odds for success.
Second, hold yourself accountable (and get a little outside help from fun-to-use technology!). Tracking progress can be the toughest part of keeping a routine in order to reach goals. But with new technology, tracking health habits has never been easier. So, with that in mind, here are my top picks for the health technology to support success in the three most common New Year’s health resolutions.
New Year’s Resolution #1 – Losing Weight
Every year losing weight ranks among the top of the list for New Year’s Resolutions – New Year, new you! – but it’s also one of the hardest to keep. Luckily, for all who have stated this as their 2015 New Year’s resolution, one app that shines above the rest in terms of setting fitness goals is Human, a mobile app that tracks all your daily movement. It tracks calories burned from everything you do including walking up stairs, riding a bike, running or even just walking down the street, and the best part – for every 30 minutes of cardio you do a fitness tracker kicks in and recognizes you for a job well done.
New Year’s Resolution #2 – Eating Healthier
Many people see the New Year as an opportunity to make changes to their diet and watch their calorie intake. This year, try supporting your good intentions with diet tracking app Fooducate. The app offers multiple options including a health tracker that allows you to input your target calories for the day and then, based off what you eat, keeps you updated on how many you have left. The app also features a food scanner that can search labels and will alert the user when it notices if a product has potentially problematic ingredients such as MSG or added sugars. The final feature of the app that, in my opinion, sets it apart from its competitors is that it offers an in-app forum that allows users to discuss different eating habits and find out from other dieters best techniques for staying on track with their goal.
New Year’s Resolution #3 – Quitting Smoking
Perhaps the most challenging resolution to keep, physiologically speaking, is to quit smoking. In response to the tremendous need for support, dozens of mobile applications are available for smokers looking to quit – but the top downloads share one key factor in common. Apps like Quit Lite and My Last Cigarette – Stop Smoking Stay Quit, instead of tracking how many cigarettes you smoked that day, track other things associated with not smoking: how much money you saved, or how much tar you did not inhale, or more importantly, how much longer you could live smoke-free. The positive reinforcement these apps provide – reminding users of the reasons they resolved to quit in the first place – could be the push you need to make 2015 the year you go smoke-free!
So with the start of 2015 here, and resolutions set, remember the two keys to success: it is not always about the big goal, but the small steps and string of minor accomplishments that lead us there – and, no one can do it alone! Take advantage of the great new technology available to give your inner resolve a boost.
– Christopher Loblundo