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How wearables can help keep your New Year’s resolutions

Thu Jan 05 11:15:00 EST 2017

How wearables can help keep your New Year’s resolutions

As 2017 gets underway, many consumers will be thinking about how they might banish their bad habits this year. Wearables are a useful sidekick in this endeavour — once considered niche gadgets for techie first-movers only, they’ve firmly entered the mainstream.

And it’s just as well, given Brits’ track record for sticking to New Year’s resolutions. Despite our best intentions, most of us break our promises. According to research by ComRes published by Bupa on New Year’s Eve 2015, roughly a third of UK adults make resolutions in a bid to better themselves, with two-thirds of adults slipping up in January. Most of these solemn oaths target three areas: health, work and money.

One problem is that people set themselves targets that are far-fetched. Another is that our determination subsides as the days and weeks pass. Luckily, wearable devices can actually help their owners stick to commitments.

It goes without saying that health and fitness are the main areas that bands and watches can encourage owners to stick with it. They can monitor the user’s heart rate, track movements, and buzz or ping when they sense that the wearer is slacking off. But wearables can help the weak of will with other pledges too. Here’s some of the most innovative wearable technology for determined New Year’s resolution-makers.

Quit smoking

Smoking is a habit thousands pledge to kick every year. While there is a host of non-smart solutions out there, from nicotine patches to cold turkey, there’s no perfect solution and quitters often struggle. It makes sense then that technology companies are getting in on the act.

US-based Chrono Therapeutics has created a device that can be attached to any part of the body at night to deliver craving-reducing doses of nicotine while the user sleeps. The idea is to prevent early-morning cravings, which are considered a major cause for quitters lighting up.

The smoking cessation programme lasts 10 weeks, beginning in most cases with a high nicotine strength that slowly reduces.

Get that promotion

Doing better at work, and being rewarded for it, is another key driver of New Year’s resolutions. But people’s determination to succeed can wane in the cold, dull days of January. Luckily, there’s a range of apps promoting office greatness.

Workflow, an app for the Apple Watch, helps to drive up efficiency by connecting apps and devices together, meaning wearers can do more work from the wrist instead of reaching for a phone or laptop.

It enables users to sort emails, schedule calendar events, add reminders, track expenses and save information to the cloud. Piecing these business areas together could help you improve productivity and impress the boss with your organised approach.

Manage your finances

You can’t manage your finances without tracking your spending — and the more easily you can see what comes in and what goes out, the better.

bPay by Barclaycard works across a range of wearable platforms, from a wristband to a simple sticker. It enables quick, no-nonsense payments of up to £30 with a simple tap, yet it can also provide greater visibility of your money.

bPay devices, also including a handy key fob and bPay loop which attaches to your watch, can be integrated with the bPay mobile app. This provides detailed spending information direct to your smartphone.

Sit up straight

According to the NHS, nearly everyone will experience back pain at some point in their lives and a major cause is bad posture. So, many of us will resolve to improve how we stand, sit and sleep in the New Year to prevent nasty back conditions.

One California-based technology firm, Lumo Bodytech, has invented a wearable device to help people stick to that goal. The Lumo Lift is a small sensor that attaches to clothing and connects to a smartphone app.

Users start by adopting their perfect posture and setting it as a target. The device then buzzes gently when you slouch. As you’d expect, it also tracks daily activity and everything is logged digitally for reference.

Get a better night's sleep

Stress, late nights and young children can all contribute to a poor night's sleep. But the Sleep as Android app aims to help manage sleeping patterns better.

Compatible with Android Wear devices, it is a smart alarm clock with sleep tracking functionality. It provides information about periods of deep sleep, sleep deficit and snoring statistics to show the wearer. It also records sleep talking and even helps wearers avoid jetlag.

The app integrates with Google Fit and S Health for a rounded approach to health and fitness.