Originally published on The Erriah Group's blog in January 2014. The Erriah Group was a startup consultancy that I worked for.

“Vision without action is just a dream, action without vision just passes the time, vision with action can change the world” – Nelson Mandela.

New year, new you? Every year, people have optimistic and often naive expectations of the person that they will become at the dawn of a new year. Gyms see dozens of “resolutioners” in January, most of whom fall off track by March. The solution to keeping your resolution? Try these tips and apps to keep you on track:

 The solution to keeping your resolution? Try these tips and apps to keep you on track:

  1. Keep it simple and attainable. If your resolution list extends beyond 5 – 10 goals, you may become overwhelmed and lose focus. Try writing down several of your most important goals and make a separate list of “backburner” goals to revisit later.
  2. Make a plan to achieve your goal. Think about what you want to achieve and then work backwards to figure out the steps you need to take to get you there. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, think about the lifestyle changes that will help you meet your goal (finding an exercise routine that doesn’t bore you, drinking a lot of water, seeing a nutritionist- which, by the way, might be completely covered under your health insurance).
  3. Hold yourself accountable. Goals without action and accountability are abstract. If you are trying to clean up your sailor mouth, keep a swear jar and put money in it every time you curse (note - the money should go to a charity or family member – you shouldn’t reward bad behavior!). If you are trying to lose 20 pounds by July, set incremental deadlines to keep you on track (lose 3 pounds by February 8th, etc). Write your deadlines on a calendar, set reminders in your phone, etc. If possible, find a friend with similar goals – teamwork makes the dream work.
  4. Believe in yourself. It sounds super cheesy but if you don’t believe in yourself, who will? A positive attitude goes a long way. Negativity and doubt will make you become a self fulfilling prophecy.
  5. There’s an app for that. Utilize technology to help make your resolutions a reality.
    • LittleBit - LittleBit is a goal-setting app that encourages you to complete small and simple tasks every day until they become a habit. This app is currently only available for Apple products; currently on sale for $1.99 and normally priced at $2.99
    • Refuse to pay for apps? Try the Way of Life  or Everest apps for free.
    • Mint – Trying to be more financially responsible? Mint is an award winning app that connects to your accounts and gives you detailed and categorized itemization on what you are spending money on. With a simple click you can view all of your transactions for “Gas & Fuel,” “Shopping,” “Grocery,” etc. This free app is accessible on your computer and available for mobile on Apple devices, Android devices, and Windows 8 tablets.
    • Quit Pro: Your Smoking Cessation Coach - Quit Pro helps smokers to understand why they light up and when by having the user track every cigarette smoked and when they had a craving. The app helps users identify when they experience maximum temptation. This free app is available on Apple and Android devices.
    • Moves - Using GPS and your device’s accelerometer, your running, jogging, and cycling are tracked without the need for a separate pedometer. If you do have an iPhone 5s, you can also track all of your daily movement. Available for $2.99 on Apple and Android devices.
    • Argus – If you have an iPhone 5s, this comprehensive fitness app has received rave reviews. Utilizing the 5s’ M7 coprocessor and motion detection technology, this app includes a step tracker, calorie counter, GPS reader, food diary (including pictures), and much more. Available for the iPhone 5s for $1.99.
    • Substitutions - This app offers alternatives for foods you’re trying to avoid. It also gives tips for ingredients you can swap while you’re cooking. Available on Apple devices for $.99. A similar app called Food Substitutes is available on Android for $.99.
    • EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry – EatingWell is a respected publication for smart and healthy foods. This app features hundreds of professionally written and tested recipes with full nutritional info. You can filter by category, main ingredient, and cook time. This free app is available on Apple and Android devices.
  • Duolingo – Named Apple’s iPhone app of the year in 2013, Duolingo currently offers 6 languages with the lessons mostly set up as games in which you can earn (and lose) experience points. This free app is available on Apple and Android devices as well as on your computer. Your progress in your account is stored on the cloud so you can pick up where you left off if you switch devices.