New App Helps Break Bad Habits in 2012
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
December 28 2011 03:34 PM ET
Making resolutions for the new year is common, and breaking them is nearly as common. According to the company MeYou Health, 88 percent of those who make New Year's resolutions fail to keep them.
To break the cycle, MeYou Health has launched a free “Anti-Resolution” app that encourages users to forgo the big resolution and instead commit to a small daily action. The company argues that small actions, done over time consistently, will add up to the big result people want.
But MeYou’s science adviser, Dr. Nate Cobb, urges users to be patient. “If the habit took a long time to form, it will take considerable effort to change,” he told TechNewsDaily. “It is hard work and something you'll need to consciously work at.”
The app helps users identify the situations that prompt undesirable behavior and look for ways to replace them. For instance, if you want to quit smoking , you could try a one-minute hand massage whenever the urge to light up strikes, change to a nonsmoking venue when you go out with your friends, and reach for a stick of gum in situations when you’d usually reach for a cigarette.
Everyday actions are also provided for big goals such as losing weight, managing stress , making more family time, and saving money.
The app walks users through a series of small changes designed to build new habits over time. Pick just one and the app will send you daily reminders to help you stick to it.
For people who have more than one habit to break, Cobb recommends tackling one problem at a time unless the two behaviors are linked.
“If you want to drink less and smoke less —both of which you typically do when out at a bar — then they’re probably linked and can be addressed as such,” he said. “If they're not linked, however, it's better to take them one at a time and not bite off more than you can chew.”
The Anti-Resolution app includes single-click sharing to Facebook and Twitter, potentially adding a layer of peer pressure to help users achieve their goal.
“The app's social sharing capabilities transform your social networks into support systems,” Cobb said. “If you tell your friends you'll quit smoking, they’re more likely to hold you to it, and you’re more likely to succeed.”