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Mobile Tech Tools for Mind/Body Resolutions

Welcome to 2016!
According to research by the University of Scranton, 45% of Americans made a New Years resolution for the year 2015. However, only 8% of those were actually successful in achieving them. What category would you fall in?
The top resolutions for 2015 were:

Type of Resolutions (Percent above 100% because of multiple resolutions) Data
Self Improvement or education related resolutions 47%
Weight related resolutions 38%
Money related resolutions 34%
Relationship related resolutions 31%

Source: https://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/
With so many resolutions around self-improvement and weight related topics, I was drawn to pulling together some resources found in smartphone applications. Most of these tech tools are free, easy to set up and explore through. I have only listed those I have personally used and enjoyed. Note: I am an iPhone user, so these apps may or may not be available on other devices. What other mobile apps would your recommend? Please include them in the comments below!


meditation experienceOprah & Deepak 21 Day Meditation Experience

This app is like an iTunes playlist of meditations you can download individually or entirely from purchased experiences. There is a catch – while this app is free, the meditations do cost. However – every two or three months Oprah and Deepak offer a free 21 day meditation experience and you can complete 21 sessions of meditation for free. Explore (here) when these offers are available.


This app declares itself, “a personal trainer for your brain.” The company’s ultimate goal is to get the world meditating. While this program also comes at a cost, the app is free and offers a 10 day trial. I explored this trial last spring between stressful writing sessions for my dissertation. Headspace has a unique tracking, goal setting and even social components.


This FREE app and experience is based around what mood you are in and/or the type of session you’d like to experience. You can even base the app around goals such as losing weight or quitting smoking. I have only played around with this app a few times, but keep it on my phone because of the ease of use.


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While many gyms and studios may have their own mobile apps, I discovered a number of fantastic classes through the Mind Body. From yoga, spinning and even dog obedience classes – you can search by distance what classes are near you. This is has also been a wonderful tool when I am traveling.

Map My Runmapmyrun

For years I resisted apps that tracked and shared my running – part of this was because why would I want to run with my phone when I have an iPod? Well gone are the days (for me at least) of an iPod and yes I now run with my phone. So – this makes the use of the social based fitness applications work for me. It has wonderful tracking tools, as well as maps to find running paths/trails/loops (again very helpful when I am traveling). If you want to take further advantage of this app, look to include other exercises, as well the food log.

Apple Health Apphealth-app-icon-1

With the latest IOS updates, I resisted this app – being a little annoyed that users “had” to keep it on their phone. However, while in Europe this fall I discovered the app has a very easy tracking for steps and stairs. I also recently discovered how important it is to fill in your medical ID information, which a responder can review in an emergency by clicking “medical ID” on your iPhone passcode screen. Read (here) to find out more about this.

Nutritionshutterstock_329188340 (1)

myfitnesspalMy Fitness Pal

To be honest, my philosophy on eating is = I work out so I can eat what I want. However, I do love a challenge. From time to time I will track my calories or even limit my calories to explore the difference. It was also through these challenges that I discovered what nutrients I was obviously lacking and that I need to drink more water. A great mobile app that does this is called My Fitness Pal. I enjoy the ease of scanning bar codes that will have all health information. It is also easy to find restaurant dishes, even from smaller establishments.



sleep cylceSleep Cycle Power Nap

Research has proven the benefits of naps, but at specific periods of time based around your sleep cycle. Power Nap aids your napping technique with three setting for power nap (20 minutes), recovering nap (45 minutes) and one full sleep cycle (120 minutes). This paid app has given me back years of energy, especially on days of intense writing or reading. It also monitors your body movements, so it will notify you what you actually slept.

Sleep Cyclesleep cycle full

This app takes a bit more commitment, as the makers declare that you need to sleep with it on or next to you at night to fully work. If you are willing to try it, the app is pretty fantastic. Like Power Nap, Sleep Cycle monitors your body activity (hence why it needs to be on or directly by your body) and will also report how long and when you went through sleep cycles. I discovered a number of things about my sleep patterns with this app! Which leads to me why I downloaded the next app.

sleep pillowSleep Pillow

I’m not the greatest sleeper – and especially when there are bumps in the night – I won’t fall asleep or will continually wake up. When I get desperate I have used the app Sleep Pillow, which has both free and paid versions, with ambient noises. My favorite are the ocean and lightening.


Whatever your resolutions for 2016, know that there are technology tools available at little to no cost. Let’s make sure that you are one of the 8% that actually meet your goals this year! These mobile apps are just one way to help.
Screenshot 2016-01-04 09.15.07Other ways I have found to help maintain and achieve your resolutions include:

  • Set realistic goals
  • Declare goal(s) to others
  • Find an accountability partner
  • Track your progress
  • Give yourself small and large rewards

Curious what my 2016 resolutions are? Here is the short list:

  • 2016 word = Play
  • “Mindful-filling” each morning before work
  • Focus on publishing research
  • Complete a triathlon
  • See all of my immediate family members

What other mobile apps would your recommend? Please include them in the comments below!

Happy New Year – here’s to a a fantastic 2016!

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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Rebekah Tilley

Assistant Vice President, University of Iowa Center for Advancement

Rebekah Tilley is the assistant vice president of communication and marketing for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement (UICA). In that role she supports fundraising and alumni engagement efforts for the university, including its CASE Gold winning Iowa Magazine, and serves UICA in a variety of strategic communication efforts.

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