Think back to last year's resolutions--can you even remember what you resolved to achieve?
Change isn't easy, and when it comes to New Year's resolutions, most people spend more time planning their goals than pursuing them. It's the exact reason why fitness centers seem so packed in January and desolate by March.
But this year, if you're resolving to lose weight, eat healthier, read more books, or improve your life in any other way, consider doing it differently with the help of technology.
1. Tell your social network
Make yourself accountable for your goals by exposing them to your social networks like Facebook or Twitter. Let your friends know what your goals are and how you plan to achieve them. If you want to lose weight, for example, update your status and say "This year, I plan to lose 15 pounds by exercising three times a week."
2. Block out time and set reminders
If your resolutions require that you set time aside--like going to the gym--take advantage of your smartphone's calendar and schedule time in advance. This way, you'll be less likely to skip out on your commitments when someone asks you to make conflicting plans.
Then break each resolution down into smaller steps and use your smartphone to set reminders or "due dates" for these minigoals. By doing so, you make your resolutions seem more achievable, and the due dates will encourage you to stay committed.
3. Look into dedicated gadgets
After a few weeks, when you've established good habits and deemed your resolution realistic, consider rewarding yourself with a dedicated gadget that will help you achieve the goal. For example, if you are resolving to read more, an e-reader like the Nook or Kindle can motivate you to stock up on more books.
4. Find a community
It's easy to feel discouraged when you're pursuing something alone. But with the Internet and its bountiful communities, there's no reason to tackle your resolutions in isolation. If you want to read more books, join a Web site like Goodreads. Or if it's a weight-loss goal, check out places like SparkPeople and CalorieCount.
Even if these people aren't your friends IRL (in real life), observing their progress and exchanging advice will keep you feeling positive about all the hard work you do.
Alternatively, start your own community by creating a Facebook group. Give it a fun name and invite friends (and their friends) to join the group. Not only will you hold each other accountable and swap tips but you yourself will also be more motivated by being the group leader spearheading the cause.
5. Start a blog
Since people who keep a weight-loss journal are twice as likely to shed pounds than others, try using a blog to further your goals. If the goal is to lose weight or perhaps stay on budget, the blog will help you monitor progress and hold you accountable for what you did (or didn't!) do.
If your goal is project-oriented, like taking a photo each day, use the blog to post what you've produced. For example, many Tumblr blogs are dedicated to the "365 Day Photo Challenge" which requires you to post one photo per day.
Otherwise, if your goal is lifestyle-oriented, use the blog to reflect on your daily progress and use the notes to evaluate what you could do to improve, or simply bask in the glory of your success.
With these measures in place, you may end up joining the small group of people who successfully follow through with their New Year's resolutions. When the goal-planning is complete, your final task is simple: just do it.