Bethlehem Gronneberg Founder and CEO, uCodeGirl | Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow | PhD Candidate | Lecturer of Computer Science | YWCA Woman of the Year in Science and Technology
“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.”-J.P. Morgan
We will soon usher in 2021— it is a new dawn, it is a new year and a new opportunity to hit Ctrl+Alt+Delete (reset) on our old and not so productive habits.
Historically though, staying the course on a new plan hasn’t always been a smooth journey. In fact, according to the U.S. News & World Report, 80 percent of our new aspirations chronicled as resolutions in January are quickly abandoned by February or shortly thereafter. What could potentially be a game changer, in this day and age, is the plethora of technological resources at your disposal to strategize and tackle your set goals. You don’t have to go it alone anymore. An increasingly diverse array of tech tools ranging from specifically targeted apps, wearables, virtual reality mediums, digital assistants supported by Artificial Intelligence, accountability partners such as notifications, scheduled reminders and social media peer groups use Richard Thaler’s nudge theory to help us act in the broader sense of our self-interest.
Here is a list of four GoTos I compiled to help us stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong as we adjust to our new normal and strife to be a force for good.
1. Habit Changer Apps: Maybe you used a swear jar before to kick your bad habit or had a friend call you when you skipped the gym. These eye catching, easy to use and customizable habit tracking apps can be your commitment to reach your goals. stickK is designed by behavioral economists from Yale University to help you kick unwanted habits or keep a new one by depositing money to be sent to a friend, a foe or a charity of your choice everytime you fail to keep your goal (kinda like a swear jar). Made for both iOS and Android devices, it is also available on wearable devices like Apple Watch. Popular in 2020 were Habitica, Streaks, Momentum, Coach.me, Habitshare and 42 Goals.
2. Re-skilling, Up-skilling Tools for Employment: With unemployment soaring amid COVID-19 and no sight of relief in close range, training individuals to adopt an entirely new skillset or transition to a tech career of employment has taken center stage. Even though one of the highest sought after skills remains technological, it is not for everyone. My Next Move: O*Net Interest Profiler, What Career Is Right For Me: Career Aptitude Test, CareerExplorer: Career Test and Self-Directed Search are some of the sites compiled by muse.com to help you assess your skills, strengths, preferences, recommend possible future careers and growth opportunities. Whether you have unique talents to share, are looking for ways to make extra money or you have to step away from your 9 to 5 corporate job, there are online marketplace dedicated for freelancers in gig economy such as fiverr, Upwork, Simply Hired, Toptal, PeoplePerHour and TaskRabbit.
3. Self-Care Gadgets: Practicing mindfulness, staying Zen, and alleviating stress is necessary for this season of uncertainty and this unpredictable world. When the good old stress ball or fidget spinner is just not enough, wearable technology comes to the rescue. The Sona bracelet wants to “train your resilience to stress” and has five resonance breathing meditation sessions to keep you focused and calm. The company says it keeps tabs on your overall stress levels through monitoring your heart rate and physical activity. There are a spectrum of wearables such as The Pip that uses the pores on your fingertips to detect stress signals and convert them into visualizations on your phone so that you are self-aware and regulate your activities. Thync was developed by a team of neuroscientists from MIT, Harvard and Stanford and employs electronic pulses to stimulate your brain to elevate your mood and lower your stress. Apps like Calm or Headspace offer guided meditation lessons.
4. Sticking to Budget: Save a little more this year. Using apps like Mint and EveryDollar helps you stay on budget by automatically importing your spending transactions and tracking against your savings. There are also AI-powered personal financial apps that combine artificial intelligence and behavioural science like Cleo, Eva Money, and Olivia. ai. Robinhood is great for managing stock portfolios and Qapital is great to save money towards goals and “fund your future”.
5.Read More with Libby: You already know about Kindle, Audible, Goodreads and Hoopla as great tools to get your read on. But did you know about Libby? You can use your phone or favorite reading medicum to access thousands of ebooks and audiobooks for free, right from your local library.