By Brian Gresham

As the New Year has begun, and we are only a month deep into the thick of things, I find myself ensuring I will keep up with this year’s goals that I have set to make sure I am on track of things. I use the term goals and not resolutions; resolutions seem out-of-reach, distant goals that tend to fall by the wayside. I prefer to take things that I am already working on; I just want to work harder at them.

Once I check through my list to make sure I am keeping up with my reading, writing, creative outlet, and my workout regimen, I look for creative ways to keep my routines fresh and far from monotonous. For example, I put a book on top of the television and cable box remote the night before–it still takes some discipline, but this serves as a visual reminder to read at least one or two stories before I proceed to mindless television. If my goal for the day is to go for a run, I will put the television and cable remote in my running shoes the night before as another visual reminder.

However, I continually look for creative ways to up the ante and keep ideas and goals moving along. This month I have decided to seek ways to improve your performance with technology that is, or soon will be, available to help keep you on track with some popular New Year’s goals.

First, let us tackle the goal that most people seem to set, but find themselves partaking in less and less as the days, weeks, and months go by–fitness. I recently discovered a unique contraption that made its way to the Customer Electronics Show (CES) 2014 in Las Vegas last month, presented by the Customer Electronics Association–the TAO WellShell.

Tao LogoThe TAO WellShell can be used anywhere. It is a small gadget, the size of a flattened computer mouse that fits between your hands. It is a mobile gym and trainer that offers up isometric resistant, records data, and produces a performance analysis.

The product is not yet available but will have an Android and iSO app available for feedback, tracking, and monitoring.

More information on the upcoming TAO WellShell can be found at http://tao-wellness.com/.

Looking to read more but do not have the cash to spend, the space for extra books, or just want to sample that book you have been eyeing, then OverDrive Media Consol is for you.

OverDriveMediaConsoleLogoBUse the Library Finder that allows you to locate a library with a digital collection near you and save it for easy access. Download and enjoy e-books and audiobooks from your library, wherever you go. Use the built-in browser or your browser of choice to find, check out, download digital titles, and read or listen to in the OverDrive Media Console app.

The app is available for every major desktop and mobile platform, including Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones and tablets, Kindle, NOOK, Windows 8 PC and tablet, Blackberry, and Windows Phone.

For more on this great app, visit the Overdrive Media website.

SavedPlusAnother popular resolution in this economy is to save extra money where possible. I have run across a few apps that assist with this process. One of the unique ones that I have run across is SavedPlus. It allows the user to determine a percentage of every purchase that he or she would like to save. For instance, if you set your savings percentage to 10% and make a purchase of $100, then an additional $10 is transferred from your checking account to your savings account.

For more on this app and which banking institutes it works with, check out their home page.

These apps might not be the ideal performance improvement tech apps; however, they have the potential of improving aspects of your performance.

If you have any apps you would like to see reviewed or ideas come to life, feel free to drop me a write-up of your favorite app or an idea at publications@ispi.org.