Fitness chat: phone apps help bring success | Health and Fitness

Have you ever heard the expression “New year, new you?” It can stir motivation to establish New Year goals for self-improvement. One of the most popular New Year resolutions or goals is to become physically active or physically fit.

However, did you know that less than 10 percent of Americans successfully achieve at least one of their annual goals? Some factors include setting unrealistic goals, trying to accomplish too much too soon and underestimating the amount of energy that is required to develop new routines and habits.

The good news is that technology can help increase the probability of success through fitness focused application software or “apps” for smart phones and computers. Here are some free apps that may help you achieve your fitness goals for 2014:

For setting goals

43 Things – described by the creators as the most popular goal-setting tool.

GoalsOnTrack – described by the creators as a personal success system that will help you really accomplish goals by getting the right things done.

Lifetick – described by the creators as goal setting the way it should be.

For tracking progress

MyFitnessPal – features include food and exercise tracking tools.

RunKeeper – features an activity tracker for runs, walks, bike rides and hikes.

Don’t Break The Chain– based on a motivational technique inspired by Jerry Seinfield of picking a goal and marking off the calendar days as you work toward the goal.

For motivation

Peer Pressure– tracks your progress and shares that progress with your friends.

Carrot– features alarms and other electronic reminders and incentives to motivate you into action.

StickK – enables users to form commitment contracts to help them achieve their personal goals.

These tools rely on the fundamentals of behavior modification; creating an environment that stimulates change through rewarding and reinforcing positive behaviors. Much like the star on your childhood chore chart encouraged you to do your chores. Many of these Apps also link to social media such as Twitter and Facebook enabling friends to hold each other accountable.

Small steps, recognized and rewarded along the way, result in big changes.

Which leads us to the question, what small steps can you start today to help you make progress toward becoming more physically active or physically fit in 2014?

Stephanie Norton-Bredl is the Associate Executive at the Auburn Valley YMCA and may be contacted at

Bruce deJong is a group exercise instructor at the Auburn Valley YMCA and may be contacted at