Have you ever heard about the show local gyms put on in January each year? Every Courthouse, Planet Fitness, and others are preparing for their annual tradition: dragging out all the extra machines from storage, buffing each surface to sparkle, and plumping up their membership prices. These businesses are simply taking advantage of the natural flow of things–our innate human tendency to link a new year with a new routine of healthier habits. Which parent among us has not made the promise of working out more in the new year? The saddest part is that all those extra machines will be back in storage, and the gym will offer specials to draw in new clients before we even reach Valentine’s Day. Making a promise is one thing, but keeping a promise is a whole other issue. Read on for helpful tips and tricks to set resolutions that will last throughout 2024!

There’s an App for That

It is not tough to imagine that app developers may struggle to develop unique content lately. There are a few exceptions to the rule, but there is an app for every situation and interest. Weeding through the mass of them to find the one that suits your personality can be the most challenging part! With that knowledge at heart, here are a couple of great examples of apps that can help manage resolutions with fun and success: 

If you are interested in setting new habits, running the gamut from studying to happiness to diet to exercise and more, I encourage you to reinforce your individual goals by tracking them within the 21 Days Challenge app. As the title denotes, it takes a full 21 days of consistent action to establish a new habit. This diverse app offers kind reminders and an intuitive, rewarding interface that can be personalized in many different ways! Do you flourish best with some structure and daily motivation? This app can help you achieve many healthy habits in a playful, positive manner that focuses on progress toward your goals over 21 consistent days.

Addiction to technology is a common problem in today’s world, but clever app designers have taken advantage of that exact problem–turning it into a game! Focus Plant features an adorable fantasy world full of plants to be grown. The trouble is, they can’t grow without water, and the user cannot earn any water unless the phone is locked and put down! Each time you successfully complete a focus session, you’ll earn a water ration with the opportunity to water the plants you already have or start growing new ones. In the game’s strictest setting, you cannot use your phone for anything more than five seconds without ruining the session and losing all rewards! The sessions can be customized to allow certain app usage during focus time, such as the notepad or calculator, and even what style of focus timer you would like. For example, when setting the app for a 30-minute countdown and leaving it alone to complete a few household chores, the user will return to animated congratulations and ample rewards! Even if you do not get a kick out of growing the plants, simply using the customizable focus timer options will yield results toward your goals.

Resolution Buddy

Keeping yourself accountable to goals can often lead to lame excuses and frequent stumbles. Just like alcoholics do best with a sponsor, it is wise to reach out to a friend or family member about your New Year’s Resolutions. Having another loved one who is knowledgeable about your commitment will help you stay honest. This is particularly important if you are trying to cut something out of your life, be it sugar, caffeine, online shopping, or screaming at the kids. Establish your intentions clearly with someone else you trust so they can remind and assist you with it. Changing habits is no easy task, but a resolution buddy is a source of accountability and support in the struggle. It is important to note that your goals and your buddy must be reasonable about the situation. Our imperfect nature guarantees screw-ups, so structure every check-in, whether daily, weekly, or monthly depending on individual needs, about what was done right first and foremost. Frequently assess if the resolution has become unreasonable, unattainable, or unfair. Get to the truth of what is the most important core piece of your goal and what needs to be done to reach it. Resolutions may morph a bit as time passes, making the resolution buddy input even more critical. There are no clear right or wrong answers in making and keeping resolutions, but a meeting of two minds can help make more sense of it all. If a willing or trusted friend/family member is tough to come by in your current circles, consider making some talk therapy appointments.

Adjust Your Living Space

Touching back on the fact that it takes 21 days to start a habit, consider the negative habits set up as part of a routine without anyone realizing it! The contents of the bedroom or fridge, the cluttered or absent filing systems, and even the arrangement of furniture can contribute to unhealthy habits that have permeated everyday life. If you commit to positive change this year, scrutinize how the physical space you live in can be adjusted to promote it. Resolution reminders could take many different forms depending on the goal’s focus, but here are some general examples: if better eating is your intention, it is a good idea to cleanse the junk food hiding in the cupboards… those tempting items you might go digging for in a weak moment. If you are focused on incorporating more exercise, toss a blanket over the screens and stash remotes in another room, eliminating the ease of quickly crashing on the couch. If strict deadlines have been set, so you finally finish writing that novel, snag a dollar store calendar and some stickers, make those deadlines shine, and hang it in a prominent place you pass by frequently. If better posture is your goal, place small sticky notes of your favorite color throughout the entire house, a few in each room, in places you glance at naturally. That brief flash of color is a reminder to adjust the position for a straight back! If a healthier budget is desired, remove any automated settings for payment info on all the electronics, or restrict card use entirely and have a ration of cash allotted for each need. If studying or completing tasks is a personal struggle, tidy up and stock a specific space in the home that is only used when focused. Inform those who share the home that they are not to disturb you in that space, and keep it clear of distractions (like snacks or electronics) and away from a busy window. Make the most of your resources to set yourself and your loved ones up for success in 2024!