This is a reflective time of year for many of us. We take time to review our accomplishments and challenges from the past and then look ahead to our goals and intentions for the next 12 months. I like to be “unplugged” during part of this time, to re-connect with family and nature, and remember that life is about being in service to people — ourselves and others — in a way that increases our learning and helps us evolve toward our potential.
As the new year comes and we ramp up our daily lives once again, I look for technologies that will help me and others in the new year. Here are three of my favorites for 2010.
For many years I have been interested in the intersection of people, nature, and technology, and at the end of 2009 I discovered MindBloom, the perfect digital companion for anyone who is interested in achieving your own significant life goals. Paul Ingram and the crew at MindBloom have done a superb job of moving goal achievement to the next level. An immersive natural metaphor creates a reflective space you can easily enter and exit within a couple of minutes… or linger for a while if you have some pondering to do about what’s important to you. I’ve been using the service for about a month now and I highly recommend it as a way to keep what’s important to you front and center throughout the year. It’s unlike anything you’ve seen in this space before. Do yourself a favor and give it a try — there’s a 14 day free trial and they have a great deal of half off the annual subscription right now.
As a Christmas gift, my family gave me a Garmin Forerunner 405 sports watch. I have to admit, I was skeptical at first, but this thing is quite impressive. Press a couple of buttons and it tracks speed, pace, heart rate, elevation gain, etc. If you’re like me, that information doesn’t matter much when you’re out on a walk or a run, but once you get home, the data syncs wirelessly with your computer (unfortunately through a USB “ANT” device instead of bluetooth, but it works well enough) and the Garmin site shows you a map of where you’ve been, how far, your average, high and low pace, calories burned, etc. I wore it skiing the other day and it tracked my entire day of activities… including an increased resting heart rate at altitude. At my age it’s time to start paying attention to my heart health, so I’m grateful to have this “set it and forget it” device that can give me a baseline for what “healthy” means for me and then makes visible any variation from my norm. It even has me thinking I’ll run a marathon one day!
Finally, I just started using the LiveStrong iPhone app as an experiment. It’s essentially a calorie counting application, but it makes the process fairly easy and gives me useful information such as calorie target for the day, calories burned from exercise (you enter the type and amount of exercise), and calories eaten from food. After using it for a couple of weeks, you have a library of foods you commonly eat and searching for something that’s not on the list is a fairly quick process. It’s all tracked and private (if you want it to be), and the software can help you with your particular health and weight goals. It even made me re-think my portion size for tonight’s dinner… now that’s something!