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Tech tips for tracking personal goals

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National Self-Improvement Month in September is a great time to start positive change in our lives. Some of the most common goals people make include becoming more fit and healthy, finding a purpose in life, acquiring skills for success, improving personal relationships, developing a deeper level of commitment and a higher level of self-esteem. While these goals might seem daunting and difficult to achieve, technology can be used to help you stay on track with your personal goals.

Obstacles can often get in the way of reaching our goals. Smartphones and mobile technology can help diminish some of those barriers by signing up for a daily inspirational quote, monitoring time spent on social media or utilizing the calendar app to carve out time to achieve your goals.

U.S. Cellular recommends the following tips to keep personal goals on track that can be used in honor of National Self-Improvement Month and throughout the year:

Get inspired. Looking for inspiration and new ideas? TED Talks offers collections on topics including A Better You and Personal Growth and Relationships. A great place to start is with the TED Talks Playlists, which features the most popular talks. Or maybe a daily inspiration to start the day is all that is needed. ThinkUp: Positive Affirmations (available for free on iOS and Android) can provide users with personalized affirmations for everything from careers and relationships to fitness and weight loss. The app also connects users with a community of others to share recommendations for developing a positive mindset.

Watch the time. Ever get the urge to just lie in bed and scroll on social media all night? According to a recent U.S. Cellular survey, 62 percent of smartphone users are updating their status on social media at least once a day. Be mindful of your time and focus on things that will help you reach your goals, including a good night’s sleep. The iOS app Moment monitors the amount of time spent on your iPhone and iPad each day, and the results may be shocking. If using the device too much, a set daily limit will turn it off once reached.

Plant a tree. The Forest app (available on iOS for $1.99 and Android for free with optional in-app purchases) helps users set down their phone so they can concentrate and stay focused on a particular task at hand, such as working, studying or spending time with friends. When users need a reminder to focus on that task, they can plant a virtual tree in the app, which will grow if the app is left open. If users leave the app before the designated amount of time, the tree dies. Every successful tree that’s grown gets added to the forest and earns coins. When users spend the virtual coins in the app, they are then converted into donations so real trees can be planted in places that need them.

Focus on happy. Spend time on activities that make you feel happy and alive and allow you to move toward goals you have set. It’s helpful to carve out time in your calendar app each day to help achieve those goals. According to U.S. Cellular’s survey, only one-third of smartphone owners use their phone for appointments and events. The calendar app is free, easy to use and is already installed on your mobile device, such as the iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy S9.

(Matt Kasper is director of sales for U.S. Cellular in New England.)

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