Each December 31, my childhood friends and I used to jot down New Year's resolutions and then hide them until the next New Year's party. What better way to forget about our life-changing goals for 364 days! It should be harder to escape your resolutions if you track them online. Here are some free places to start:
31 Left invites you to commit to one resolution at a time--and donate to a nonprofit of your choice if you fail. You can post publicly if you dare. When February strikes, 31 Left will send an e-mail either to congratulate you or ask that you pay up. I resolved to practice yoga "semi-weekly," which is vague enough to allow me to wiggle out of the $75 I pledged to an antislavery nonprofit. But since I've also decided to send more money to charities in 2007, maybe I should donate no matter how many times I wind up striking a pose.
Hassle Me doesn't make you pay if you slip up. Instead, it will keep reminding you of goals whenever you think you need a peck. Just type in your to-do item, time interval, and e-mail address, and the Hasslebot sends an e-mail nudge. It's a better deal than a $3 "Quit Drinking" ringtone.
Most tiny to-do list services are too simple for me. Remember the Milk, on the other hand, integrates your lists within Google Calendar and tracks locations of chores on Google Maps. I added a Remember the Milk gadget to the Google homepage that I check every week or so. This thorough service highlights tasks that are due or overdue, and it comes complete with keyboard shortcuts.
Getting in shape tops so many lists of resolutions. Traineo helps you track exercise habits with the support of its members as well as from someone in your life who's willing to do a bit of coaching. I didn't like that it asks for your height and weight before explaining whether or not your vital stats will remain anonymous. But once Traineo requests e-mail addresses of your potential Motivators, you can make your information private. Similar in purpose, SparkPeople also offers exercise demonstrations and recipes. Daily Plate aids you with counting calories and keeping a food diary. FitDay does the same, both online and on your desktop.
To help you grapple with tough events or to change deeply entrenched habits,
Daily Strength acts as an online group support system. It puts you in touch with other people who are dealing with heavy-duty life-altering situations, such as substance abuse, divorce, and terminal illness.
This year, I swear that I'll finally hang up the set of 1930s tropical cruise ship menus that I framed. I could take that resolution a step further and join DecorNextDoor, which lets you share interior design tips with strangers. You can rate other people's furnishings a la Hot or Not--although more decor submissions are needed, because I'm tired of rating the same ho-hum red chair.
If you're still recovering from a holiday shopping binge, you might want to prepare 12 months early for the next onslaught of gift-giving. MetaWishList and Wishlistr keep track of the things you really want. Get your friends and family to sign up and share their desires, and everybody involved might be able to avoid fruitcakes by the end of the year.
For more digital assistance with New Year's resolutions, check out these downloads.