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Want To Make Those New Year’s Resolutions Stick?

Need help with your 2009 resolutions? Let the Web lend a hand.

By Barry Myers 

With the holidays now behind us, it’s time once again to turn our attention to that annual tradition of making – and hopefully this time keeping – our New Year’s Resolutions.

Well, The Online Mom is here to help! We’ve selected a few of the most time-honored resolutions and have come up with some terrific web sites that can help you achieve your goals. But first, some quick tips on the art of making New Year’s Resolutions in the first place.
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Our single favorite approach comes from respected management expert Peter Drucker, who has created the S.M.A.R.T. process for making those resolutions.

  • Specific. Instead of “lose weight,” try “lose 12 pounds by August.”
  • Measurable. Instead of “be better about staying in touch with old friends,” try to “reconnect with one old friend every week.”
  • Achievable. "Be the perfect employee/mom/sister/spouse" is an admirable goal, but is it really achievable? Make your resolution something that’s possible, like “be more patient with my children.”
  • Realistic. Resolutions should not be confused with aspirations. Learning how to milk a cow, for example, is probably not that realistic for someone who lives in the middle of Manhattan, but visiting a farm might be.
  • Timely. Since these are New Year's resolutions, set goals that you can reach within the next 12 months.


Health and Wellness

If the focus of your resolution is to lose weight, eat better, or exercise more, there are some great web sites that can help:

At the Daily Plate, you can look up and track the caloric, fat and carb content of the foods you consume, and keep a fitness journal.

Traineo.com gives you tools to track your workouts, weight loss and more, while also allowing you to have weekly reports sent to up to four “motivators”, who can then harass you if you slack off!

In addition to offering several essential trackers for things such as exercise and water intake, DietTV has a diet finder that lets you plug in what you want from a diet and then comes up with menu suggestions to match your goals.

Developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, DeterminedToQuit.com provides numerous resources to help you quit smoking, including, progress charts, support messages, and video blogs from other quitters.

Finances

This year more than ever, it’s safe to assume that being smarter with your money is at the top of a whole lot of resolution lists.

We already featured Mint.com, an excellent personal finance management tool, in a recent Web Site of the Week article. But tracking your money is certainly not the only way the Web can help you with your finances. There are also some great online money-saving tools:

There’s no need to wait for the Sunday newspaper when you have Coupons.com. Go to the site, find your desired coupon, print it out, and off to the store you go.

In addition to offering tons of printable coupons divided up by style of shopping, CoolSavings.com provides numerous free sample listings.

In the social realm, there’s Mallicious.com, where users post new deals they come across each day and the community votes them up or down, similar to the hugely popular news site Digg.

Cellfire is one of several new mobile services that deliver coupons directly to your mobile phone. Just show the cashier the coupon and it can be scanned right off your phone.

If you are lucky enough to have a few extra dollars to invest, Investopedia, which was acquired by Forbes in 2007, is a terrific site for novices and more advanced investors to learn about investing wisely.

Green Living

Just because it’s fashionable, doesn’t mean that striving to do your part to make the planet more livable isn’t a wonderful resolution for 2009. Here are a few sites that will help.

On COzero, you can calculate your carbon emissions and find ways to reduce and offset them.

Carbonrally is a fun site that lets you form teams to compete in challenges to reduce your environmental impact with others in your area or worldwide.

At 41Pounds.org, you can stop 80-95% of unwanted catalogs and junk mail. The name comes from the approximately 41 pounds of junk mail the average American adult receives each year.

Several great sites like dotherightthing.com, GreenerOne, GreenDealsDaily, and GoodGuide will help you become a more environmentally responsible consumer by providing information on how green different companies are and help you find great deals on earth-friendly products and services.

Earth911 is an excellent resource for local recycling information and Freecycle is an amazing “reuse” site that keeps products out of landfills by finding a new home for stuff that still works but is no longer wanted by its current owner.

For a sense of community alongside your activism, you can connect with like-minded, environmentally conscious people at 2People, a social network aimed at building the public mandate for solutions to global warming.

If you’re a socially active single looking for that special someone in 2009, try EthicalSingles, an online dating site for environmentally and socially responsible people.

Giving Back

Volunteering or contributing to a good cause is one of the surest ways to feel good about yourself, while making the world a better place in 2009.

NetworkForGood, BringLight and ChangingThePresent are all excellent hubs to learn about a wide variety of charitable organizations and make donations. All charities listed on theses sites are certified.

At DonorsChoose.org, teachers list the things they need for the classroom and try to find people to help them raise the money to get it.

Just enter your location and VolunteerMatch.org will find volunteering opportunities in your area.

A similar concept to the charity-inspired LiveStrong rubber bracelet, CareBadges.com lets you put a CareBadge on your social profile or website to raise awareness of your favorite cause and get people to donate.

FirstGiving.com is a site for promoting any non-profit fundraising event, including marathons, bike rides, etc. that raise money for charitable causes.

At GoodSearch.com, a search engine powered by Yahoo, giving to charity is as easy as entering a search term. Fifty percent of all ad revenue goes to charities chosen by the users.

Tracking Your Progress

With so many terrific tools at your fingertips, you’re probably more inspired than ever before to be ambitious and aggressive about your New Year’s Resolutions. That’s great of course but with more resolutions than usual, you might need assistance tracking your progress. Luckily, there’s help on the Web for that too! At Joe’s Goals, it’s super easy to create a workable, interactive chart to monitor how you are doing.



Here’s hoping you achieve all your 2009 resolutions, whatever they may be, and have a happy, healthy, and prosperous year.


Barry Myers has been helping consumer technology brands communicate with consumers for over 12 years. Most recently he was a co-founder of DigitalLife, the country’s biggest consumer-facing technology conference and exposition. He’s currently hard at a work on his own niche social network. Barry lives in Manhattan with his wife, two-year old son, and twin cats Al and G.



Comments:
Comment by FrancineL, posted 1/10/2009, 1:04 PM:

This is great information, I have found that the only way to keep my New Year's Resolutions is to start small - if they're overly ambitious (i.e. to lose 25 pounds its harder to keep it in focus, but if I think I want to lose 1 pound every two weeks, its easier to achieve. Now for that scrapbook I have been meaning to finish for the last 2 years......
Comment by Brad, posted 1/10/2009, 12:56 AM:

Nice job! Love the SMART philosophy for New Year resolutions. Now I know why I never keep mine!
Comment by Jessica, posted 1/9/2009, 6:58 AM:

Just started looking. I love the things I have seen so far. Sharkie
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