Making a New Year’s Resolution—slightly buzzed on the energy of a new year, slightly buzzed on the Champagne of a new year—is the easy part. But by now, after working out two whole times or skipping exactly one cigarette break, you may have stalled out. Here’s what to do to get back in gear.
#1 Bet On Yourself
Making your long-term goals compatible with your short-term temptations can be difficult, so Yale economists Dean Karlan and Ian Ayres founded stickk.com to help bridge the gap. In their studies, financial loss is the best way to change behavior—which makes it an intriguing way to cement a resolution. Pay up (to a charity, rival political party, friend/enemy) every time you eat after 10 p.m., step outside for a smoke, or text your ex-girlfriend. Soon you’ll find that late-night pizza is much worse when you have to also hand over $5 to a cackling buddy who is loving that you aren't meeting your goals.
#2 Put a Dongle On It
Constantly misplacing your stuff? Acquaint yourself with TrackR, a keychain dongle that uses Bluetooth and a phone app to help you find your keys, wallet, or whatever you stick it on/throw it in. Keep one on the things you commonly lose, and your phone can make them ring when they get stuck between couch cushions.
#3 Save Money Without Actually Saving Money
There’s a reason people like auto-debit features—it’s easier to adjust to less money when you didn’t have that money in your bank in the first place. Alternatively, the Acorns app fills in nicely. It works two ways: First, by donating the “change” from each of your credit card purchases.
Like the change jar at your parent’s house, this number adds up without you ever noticing the loss. Second, it donates a flat amount every day, week, or month. You won’t notice $10 leaving your wallet each week, but you will notice the $500 in your account when it comes time to buy Christmas presents. Even better, leave the money in safekeeping with Acorns’ investment strategies and let it grow without moving a finger.
#4 Start Fixing Your Diet By Figuring Out What Your Diet Is
By now, you've probably got a good idea of what a healthy diet looks like. But instead of planning what you're going to eat, force yourself to look back at what you already ate. Whether it's a full solution, like using MyFitnessPal, or a simple one, like writing down everything you eat in a Google Doc, start by tracking. Because no one wants to write, “2:30 am—entire pizza” in their log.
#5 Fix Your Posture (And Not Just Sit Up Every Time You Remember to Sit Up)
You ever hear someone talk about posture—and then catch yourself sitting up for the rest of the conversation? Many people dream of better posture, but it’s the ultimate habit: it’d be much harder to focus if your brain kept yelling, “Stand up straight!” The Lumo Lift fills in and becomes that nagging voice. It works by clipping onto your undershirt, and it vibrates every time your posture starts to slouch. The app also tells you how much you're improving each day. With practice, you'll walk around looking as tall as you actually are.