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iPhone App Helps You Actually Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions This Time

A European start-up has made a simple goal-setting app, just in time for the New Year.

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If decades of analogue failure at meeting New Year’s resolutions has got you down, then try a new a tool for the digital age. A European start-up called Motivapps recently released a coaching tool, Goal-Setting Workshop, for iPhone and iPod touch, just in time for 2011.

Of course, there are already a wide range of apps that can help you with specific New Year’s resolutions. If you want to get fit, download one of the countless personal trainer apps; if you want to save money, get one of the countless budget apps.

But for a more organized resolution experience, one that takes you from the conception of your goal through its completion, Goal-Setting Workshop might appeal. The app works in four stages: first you brainstorm ideas, then you narrow them down to a small list, then you commit to a few, and then you get motivated to meet those goals.

Most apps on the market currently “are just glorified to-do lists,” Tomasz Kolinko, the app’s maker, tells Fast Company. (Kolinko says he got the idea for his own app after kicking a nasty habit of drinking a half-gallon of Pepsi every day.) To-do lists are fluid things, with tasks added and dropped at whim. Goal-Setting Workshop is about getting serious about a few goals, and finding concrete ways to get there.

“The Goal-Setting Workshop focuses on that initial moment when you are
motivated,” says Kolinko. “It guides you through the process of setting your
resolutions. It asks you questions and requires you to really take time
to reflect on the answers. You end up with a list of nine resolutions
that make sense to you and a short list of first steps to perform.”

It’s hard to say how effective the app is at turning slackers into strivers. (Our favorite New Year’s resolution tool to date, though an old one, is Stickk.com.) Kolinko does seem to have given a lot of thought as to what works, and doesn’t work, in New Year’s resolutions. He encourages users to set reasonable, even fun, goals for themselves: “In many cases people choose for their resolutions things that they
should do and not the things that they are excited to do. They write
down ‘quit smoking’ or ‘lose weight’ while they should write ‘Go bungee
jumping’ or ‘Master the art of cooking healthy and tasty food.'”

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We’re also intrigued by another app from Motivapps, the recently updated “Blow Up the Frog.” It’s billed the “world’s first frog blowing simulation,” featuring “relaxing natural sounds including frog farts.” This app is only useful as a New Year’s resolution app if your New Year’s resolution is to inflate virtual frogs by blowing into your iPhone’s microphone.

[Image: Flickr user lel4nd]

About the author

David Zax is a contributing writer for Fast Company. His writing has appeared in many publications, including Smithsonian, Slate, Wired, and The Wall Street Journal.

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