Aaaah… New Years Eve. That magical time of year that brings with it a clean slate and the opportunity to create some massive change in our lives.
Or does it?
Well… not really. After all our commitments to better discipline, healthier choices and explosive productivity have been made, no more than 8 percent of people successfully achieve their resolutions every year (1).
In fact, New Years Resolutions has become quiet a burden for a lot of people. Something you do just for the sake of it, even though all your past failures has made you feel like any real change is impossible for you.
But it’s not. You see, what separates the 8 percent who make their resolutions stick isn’t superhuman levels of willpower or some innate drive that helps them move mountains.
No, what separates them is their strategy for change. Because once you’ve uncovered a system that works for you, it’s actually quite simple to use it over and over again, year after year, to make all your most desired goals a reality.
This is why I find the science of human behavior so fascinating — it continually finds out and tests these strategies so that we can take the best of the best and try them in our own lives.
How Coach.me Helps Keep Your New Years Resolution
One service that cleverly leverages the power of behavioral science and effectively helps you create your own strategy for change is coach.me. I’ve been using this app for years and I recommend it to anyone who’s serious about creating sustainable change in their life.
Over the years, it’s helped me establish and maintain habits like regular exercise and stretching, daily meditation, studying, reading and listening to audiobooks as well as writing at least 500 words a day (which has allowed me to regularly write articles like this one). There are several reasons why coach.me is such a powerful tool:
- It provides you with a trigger. As I’ve written about many times before (for example in The Ultimate Science-Based Guide to Creating Habits that Sticks), one of the most crucial components for making a habit stick is a trigger. Simply put, this is a cue that reminds you to do your habit. I have my entire workday planned out in coach.me so I always know what I’m supposed to be doing. This helps me avoid decision fatigue so I can spend my mental energy on more important tasks than figuring out what to do next.
- It gives you immediate and long-term rewards. Whenever you check in on one of your habits in coach.me, the app gives gives you an immediate reward by telling you your current streak and giving you a high five when you reach certain milestones. This is a great way to give yourself a small reward which helps to reinforce your positive behavior.
- It tracks your progress. Coach.me logs all your habits and keeps track of how long your current streak is in each of them. This is very helpful because rigorously tracking what your habits tends to provide you with greater self-control for maintaining it (2). The streaks coach.me tracks is especially helpful as you won’t want to break them — especially when you’ve managed to build a long chain of successful check-ins.
- It has built-in social support and accountability. The Hawthorne Effect states that we tend to work harder and perform better when we know that we’re being observed (3). You’ve probably noticed this yourself: It tends to be much easier to push through a hard workout if a friend or trainer are counting your reps than if you’re alone in the gym. In fact, it’s easier to even show up at the gym at all if you know someone is expecting you to show up. If you can relate to this, it doesn’t mean you’re lazy — it just means you’re human. We’re a social species and as such we need other people to support us when we’re going after our goals. The coach.me app solves this by letting users give each other ‘props’ and commenting on others check-ins. If you want some extra support, accountability and guidance, you can also hire a coach.
- Each habit has a Q & A section. If you get stuck, you can ask others how they dealt with the obstacle you’re facing in the Q & A-section of the particular habit. You can also help others by sharing your own advice.
How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions: Getting Started With Coach.me
If you’ve never used coach.me before, here’s a quick startup guide so you can start using this great tool to keep your New Years Resolutions this year. You can use coach.me on the web or on your phone using the iPhone or Android apps. Get started by registering an account on the coach.me homepage or through the app. Once you’re in, it’s time to set up your habit(s). Go to the dashboard click the + symbol on the top right. Here’s how that looks on the web, on Android, and on iOS respectively:
You’ll see several goal categories. Tap on a category to see popular habits related to that goal:
Here we’ll choose ‘Get Fit’ to see the plans and habits in that category:
You can search for habits, browse sub-categories or select habits directly from the list. Here’s we’ll scroll down and choose ‘Exercise’ – a basic habit with lots of participants. By choosing popular habits such as this one you ensure you’ll have plenty of opportunity to harness the power of social support and accountability in reaching your goals. Tap ‘Join’ to add the habit to your dashboard:
Once you’ve added the habit to your dashboard, you’ll see several options to make the most of the Coach.me features:
Here’s what each option does:
- Get Props – Here’s where you can set privacy on this habit. Turning on privacy will hide your choice of this habit, and any check-ins and notes for it, from other users. Note, however, that if you post anything in the Q&A for this habit, your posts will be public, so someone could deduce that you are participating in it.
- Set a Weekly Target – There are some habits you might want to do less than 7 days a week. Here’s where you can set your goal for the number of times a week you intend to complete it.
- Get Reminded – Set reminders for when you’d like to get an email or device reminder for this habit.
- Hire a Coach – Here’s where you can find coaches to help you stay accountable and reach success with your goals.
When you’re happy with how the options are set, it’s time to get down to business and start checking in.When you’ve completed your habit for the day, tap on it to get to the habit detail screen. You’ll see a big grey circle with a check mark. Tap that to check in, and it will turn solid green. You can also make a note about today’s check-in:
As you check in during the day, you’ll see your dashboard change to indicate what’s already been done. On iOS, checked items will drop to the bottom of the list:
Sometimes you might need to go back a day or two to add check-ins. You can back-date check-ins for the past week. On the web or Android, click/tap the down-arrow next to “Today” to select a different day. On iOS, you can tap the back arrow next to the date to move back a day at a time:
… And that’s the basics of Coach.me — add your habits and start checking in daily. It’s a very simple and user-friendly app and if you run into trouble you can always check out the Coach.me FAQ or ask me.
Hopefully I’ve piqued your interest about the coach.me platform. This app has been a huge help for me personally as well as my coaching clients when it comes to creating and maintaining new habits. If you decide to give it a try, I’m sure you’d be surprised by the results!
Coming Up: Advice From My Fellow Coach.me Coaches!
This article is the first in a short series on how to (finally) keep your New Years Resolutions. I encourage you to stick around, because in the next couple of days, I’m setting the stage for my fellow coach.me coaches to provide you with their best advice on how to approach 2016 to:
When you sign up, you’ll also get a free copy of my ebook ‘Free Ebook: The Science of Willpower – Proven Strategies to Beat Procrastination & Get Big Things Done‘ so you can get to work on your New Years Resolution with resilience and resolve this year.
I’ll see you on the other side! 🙂
- New Years Resolution Statistics
- Better monitoring of food quantity makes self-control easier
- What Is the Hawthorne Effect?
The instructions for getting started in this article were borrowed from the coach.me support pages.