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Tracking New Year Resolutions on Your iPhone

A lot of people set New Year’s resolutions, but few keep them for very long. Here’s how to increase your chance of success with your resolutions. All you need is an iPhone.

  1. Get a copy of Goal Meter. It’s a simple goal tracking app I designed. Simple is very good for goal tracking. You really don’t want to deal with scheduling goals and notifications and historical charts and calendars. All that stuff is a distraction. You’ll see why later.
  2. Choose resolutions that can be easily quantified, such as: Lose 10 pounds, Sell 100 More Units, Save 5,000 Dollars, Pay Off 10,000 Dollars of Credit Card Debt, Spend 200 Hours Practicing (Guitar, Piano, Hockey, whatever…), Write 50,000 Words in my Novel.
  3. Enter your resolutions into Goal Meter and choose an Increment. This is the number by which the meter will increase or decrease whenever you hit one of the buttons. You might want to track financial goals in increments of $100, writing goals in increments of 500 words, while a few hours of exercise each week could easily be tracked in increments of 1 hour or less (maybe each half hour). Choose whatever works for you.
  4. When you make progress toward your goal, hit the plus or minus button as appropriate, and watch the goal meter fill up and change color from red, to orange, through yellow, and finally to green.

Research shows that what can be measured can be managed. It’s not just an empty business aphorism — it really works. But you don’t want to waste time tracking too much data — only track what is essential.

Simple is Sophisticated

Why is Goal Meter so simple? Why doesn’t it have historical charts, or alarms, or whatever? The answer is, the simpler the app, the more likely you are to actually use it.

We’ve all been in situations where someone — maybe ourselves — has an enormous task to do, and plans and plans and gets organized and designs the perfect system… but the project never gets done. It’s focusing on the wrong thing. Like all the clients I had as a graphic designer, who wanted a logo and business cards and brochures and a web site… but didn’t have a business plan. They didn’t even know what their business was going to be and they wanted to buy business cards! Talk about putting the cart before the horse!

Trust me on this. I have years of experience in personal development, watching myself and others grow. What ultimately matters is your taking action on your New Year’s resolutions, however you accomplish that. Tracking your progress toward your resolution in a simple, visual way, is very helpful. Tracking a dozen other metrics is not.

How it Feels

The beginning of your goal is the hardest part. The bar is so thin and so red. Maybe it’s a big goal, and when you hit the plus button the bar barely moves.

Then one day, you notice that it’s no longer red. It’s red-orange. And it’s tall enough that it’s hitting the bottom of the buttons.

You get used to the sight of progress. You can actually see the subtle color changes. It’s slow — it’s always slow — but that’s reality.

One day you feel frustrated. You’ve worked so hard but your goal seems just as far away as ever. Then you take a look at your goal meter. You remember that have been making progress. All the work you’ve done is adding up to something after all. You don’t feel so frustrated any more.

Then one day the bar is green and the last few steps are a fait accompli, like riding down the Champs Élysées on the last day of the Tour de France. The last slice of black is filled up and you hear the applause (literally).

Resolve to Start Now

New Year’s resolutions fail because of inaction, but also because of a lack of support and encouragement. Every time you use Goal Meter, you’re not just tracking a metric, you’re encouraging your future success.

This year, resolve to achieve your goals. Define them, measure them with Goal Meter (the cost is a whole 99 cents), and manage your way to success.

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