5 tips and tech gadgets to help your New Year's resolutions stay on track
Whether you're planning to save money or eat healthier, some tech and tips to help
Whether you feel like 2018 dragged on, or you're looking at the calendar in disbelief, there's no getting around it. It's a new year and 2019 is here to stay. For many of us, a change in the calendar brings about a renewed commitment to making positive changes. For some of us, it's getting more exercise. For others, it's dropping a habit or picking up a healthy one.
No matter what you may have selected for your resolution, chances are, you're going to have trouble sticking with it. You just have to enter a gym in March or April to know how many people have let their best intentions lapse come spring. Some research suggests only 8% of resolutions are actually successful.
But with a few helpful tips and some neat tech, you could count yourself among the 8%. We've got a few ideas on how to keep some of the most popular resolutions on track.
Apps, gadgets and ideas to keep your resolution year-round
1. Get better at budgeting and save money
This perennial resolution is a popular one, especially coming on the heels of holiday bills for so many people. And while newer technology can help make budgeting easier, most experts agree that the first step to staying on track is an age-old one: make a budget. Many people don't do a great job of tracking monthly expenses vs income, saving for an emergency, or for future goals like travel. The good news is that there are some tools that can help if this is at the top of your 2019 to-do list.
Consider using an app on your smartphone to keep your budget at your fingertips at all times. This list from The Balance breaks down some of the best recommendations for 2019 by the type of budgeting that you want to do. If your biggest problem is saving, consider a smartphone app that automatically rounds up your purchases and puts the extra money in savings for you; there are a few options out there.
Making a budget is all about knowing what you're making, and how you're spending it. With that in mind, make it a habit to track your electricity use in MyHydro. You can see your electricity use down to the hour, and start making plans to reduce your usage where you can. Just one more way you can save money this year.
2. Get more exercise or reach a fitness goal
There's a reason gyms all over the world put memberships on sale in January: they know getting healthier or losing weight is top of mind for many people, and they also know that most of us will stop showing up by March. Before you shell out hundreds for a gym membership that you may not use, you can try some at-home tips this year with a little tech help.
Personal trainers, nutritionists, and physicians will often tell those trying to eat a better diet to keep a food diary, and that's because it works. Seeing how you're doing can be motivating for change.
Fitness trackers can do the same for your exercise. Most models allow you to set personal goals, track heart rate, elevation, and other items that can help you kick into gear. Whether your goal is to dust off the bike in the garage or simply to start getting closer to the fabled 10,000 steps a day, consider a tracking device. Most are relatively inexpensive; this round-up from PCMag compares some of the highest-rated options by feature and style.
3. Cut the clutter, and use less in general
Maybe you're motivated to use less plastic, drive less, and go green, or maybe you just want your home to have a fresh start by clearing out the clutter this year. Finding ways to reduce are popular goals. Why not get some help from the experts before you start? This round-up of popular decluttering books is sure to have one that speaks to you. And if you really want to declutter: consider using an e-book version like Kindle or Kobo or check the book out of your local library, rather than adding one more book to your shelf.
If your decluttering leads to a pile of small appliances and electronics that you no longer need or want, don't forget to recycle them.
For those who are looking to use less across the board: consider starting a Team Power Smart reduction challenge as a way to keep yourself motivated when January 1 is a distant memory. If you cut your electricity use by 10% over the year, you can earn a $50 reward.
4. Explore a new place: travel more
Maybe you have a bucket-list location in mind, or maybe you just want to make a point to see more of your own hometown this year. If travel is one of your goals, here's a little inspiration for you, in the form of the top travel destinations for 2019 from CNTraveller. And for anyone looking for something a little closer to home, our list of 150 great places in B.C. is still a great place to start.
Once you have your destination set, smartphone apps can help you make the most of your trip. For those heading further afield, translation apps like Google Translate top the list for recommended apps. If language isn't your primary concern, downloading your airline's app (they probably have one) can make check-in a breeze, and ensure you stay updated with any flight changes.
5. Ditch an unhealthy habit, or make a healthy one
Finally, if your resolution is all about habits, turn to tech to help make or break them. A simple reminder app or alarm on your phone can remind you to get up from your desk and move around; there are specific apps to help you stop smoking, track and improve your sleep and even to drink more water.
If the healthy habit that you want to introduce in 2019 is cooking more meals at home (cutting down on takeout and processed food), don't forget to reach for the small appliances. Our favourite is the Instant Pot but air fryers, toaster ovens and even your microwave can help make it easier to make meals at home.
Whatever your goals are in 2019, here's hoping you can reach them with a little help from your smartphone and some smart tech.