You don't order food, look for a job or even check out local real estate without using technology, so why embark on a life-changing New Year's resolution without a little digital backup to help you along the way? According to U.S. News and World Report, 80 percent of resolutions made each new year are not kept. In fact, most people abandon their self-improvement plans by February 2018.
That may sound bad for resolution-makers; it doesn't have to be – not if you use technology to sidestep the common reasons people bail on their carefully laid plans. Below are some of the most common New Year's resolutions for business owners as well as recommendations for innovative tech that makes changing your life easier.
Improve attitude, set goals, increase motivation
The new year is a time to focus on minimizing stress and boosting motivation, and there's plenty of health tech out there that's focused on mental health.
Happify: The Happify app hopes to help people overcome negativity and stress and become more resilient and grateful. After all, happier employees are up to 12 percent more productive, according to the University of Warwick.
This science-based app starts users down the path to happiness by first having them take an assessment test that provides a current "happiness score." Then the app uses the information gathered during the test to create a program intended to boost happiness through games, tools, information and coaching. By helping users gain perspective and focus on the positive, happify aims to boost user happiness long term. According to Happify, and based on user happiness scores before and after using the app, "86 percent of frequent users get happier in 2 months."
Coach.me: Coach.me is a cross-platform system that includes a mobile habit tracker (free), one-on-one habit coaching from more than 700 live coaches (starting at $15 a week) and career-focused leadership coaching (starting at $249 a month). Whether you want to set personal goals or change careers, Coach.me can help you get there in 2018.
The Mindfulness App: With a five-day guided introduction to meditation and dozens of guided and silent meditation sessions (ranging from three minutes to 30 minutes) The Mindfulness App is an excellent fit for veteran meditators and those who are just starting out. Users can set the app to send mindfulness reminders and receive affirmations. Best of all, The Mindfulness App is free to use (but there is a paid version available with additional features).
It's probably no surprise that saving money is a popular New Year's resolution. And what could be more important for small businesses? Over the years, Americans have gotten worse at saving money, and even those who have average or above-average incomes are increasingly saving less and spending more (mostly on credit). For many, the new year is the perfect time to get serious about saving, and there are lots of resources out there.
YNAB: YNAB, which stands for You Need A Budget, is a popular online money-saving program that teaches users how to stop living paycheck to paycheck and save money for the future. YNAB is great because it's not just a tool for tracking spending, it's also an educational program that teaches you how to budget, how to prioritize spending and saving, and how to cut expenses you don't really need. YNAB even offers classes on personal finance basics. YNAB is free for the first month and then $6.99 a month after that, and according to the site, "On average, new budgeters save $600 by month two and more than $6,000 the first year."
Mint: Mint connects to all your financial institutions to make it easier to track all your finances in one centralized location. However, Mint is primarily a tracking tool and not a full educational system. Through Mint, users can see where they spend their money, which is broken down into helpful visual charts. They can also track and pay bills – in fact, you can even set alerts and reminders for bill-paying – check their credit score and get tips for improving it, and set savings goals.
Getting healthier is a goal for many resolution-makers, which may help your business as healthy employees are more productive. Some common aims include losing weight, getting more active, sleeping more and eating a healthier diet. For people who are already health nuts, New Year's resolutions often include specific fitness goals like running a marathon or decreasing one's body fat percentage by a specific amount.
We bundled all the health-related resolutions together for the sake of this guide, since there's so much overlap between them. So if your goals for 2018 include getting in better shape (whatever that means to you), here are a few tech essentials to help you stay motivated and on track.
MyFitnessPal: One of the most popular calorie-counting apps around, MyFitnessPal makes it easy to log the food you eat throughout the day. You can select foods to add to your log from the app's massive library, scan barcodes to add packaged foods and even create custom recipes for homemade fare that you eat on a regular basis. If you're more into nutrition than weight loss, you'll be happy to know that MyFitnessPal also calculates daily vitamins or nutrients, so it's a good fit for the weight loss and overall health-focused set.
Fitness Blender: If your 2018 plans include getting off the couch and trying new physical activities, Fitness Blender is a great online destination. This free website offers thousands of fitness videos that you can easily sort by body focus, duration, difficulty, equipment and more. There's also an online Fitness Blender community where you can post about your goals, ask questions, share tips, and connect with others.
SkulptScanner: If you're already an athlete and looking to get to the next level of fitness, check out SkulptScanner. This innovative handheld device gives you the power to analyze your body fat percentage by body part and overall. If you opt for the $99 bundled plan, you'll automatically receive a custom-tailored workout plan to address your weakest areas and build more muscle overall.
Fitbit: There are lots of wearable fitness bands out there, but Fitbit is the gold standard. Fitbit bands come in varied designs and sizes, and the Fitbit app is excellent. Through the Fitbit app, users can track physical activity and calories burned, log weight, log food, and even view trends over time, including sleep trends. If you have a New Year's resolution buddy who also has a Fitbit, you can engage in physical challenges with them, and if you don't, the Fitbit forum is a great community to keep you motivated.
According to multiple surveys over the past five years, reading more is one of the most frequently touted New Year's resolutions. In that vein, here are three great tech tools to help you crack open a few classics and get your read on.
Kindle: If you don't have a Kindle already, get one. There's no easier way to download library books, buy books and stay on top of all your favorite publications in one convenient (and lightweight) place.
Audible: If you have a long driving commute, or simply prefer to consume your books auditorily, Audible is a fantastic app for finding and listening to audiobooks. You can try Audible for free (for 30 days), and subscriptions start at just $14.95 a month.
GoodReads: GoodReads is the book lover's social network. It's a stellar place to discover books you might like, review books you've read and follow friends (and celebs) and see their book recommendations. This site is especially valuable for New Year's resolution readers who want to get more into reading but aren't sure where to start.