Modern technology gives us many things.

Given up on your New Year’s resolutions? Alexa smart speakers can get you back on track

If you made some ambitious New Year’s resolutions and have already lost motivation, then maybe your Amazon Alexa device can help you get back on track.

Research by Amazon found that 61 per cent of Australians who set goals at the start of the year failed to meet these resolutions after just three months into the year.

Reasons for giving up included a lack of motivation (52 per cent), being too busy (36 per cent) disorganisation (19 per cent) and forgetfulness (19 per cent).

“It is no surprise that so many of us say their resolutions and goals falter after three months or sooner,” says clinical psychologist and author Rebecca Ray.

“The new year holiday period for many of us is a time for overindulging, or completely switching off, which means we are more likely to set lofty ambitions which may not be achievable.

“By setting goals a few months into the year, you should have more clarity on what’s important and manageable day-to-day or week-to-week to set realistic goals, and ultimately see more results.”

But accountability is key. The research shows two thirds of Australians say being held accountable by someone else and being reminded daily is important to help them succeed.

And it’s here where personal AI like Alexa can play a part.

“Around a third of our Aussie customers with Echo devices are utilising Alexa alarms and Alexa routines day-to-day to help keep them on track,” says Kate Burleigh, Country Manager for Amazon Alexa Australia.

“However, only a tenth is asking Alexa to set reminders, which is a very powerful way to hold yourself accountable to your goals.

“By simply asking ‘Alexa, remind me to put the bins out every Sunday night’ or ‘Alexa, remind me to pay the electricity bill’, you can get the support you need to build daily habits. There is so much that Alexa can do to help you reach any goal.”

Dr Ray says converting goals into actions requires forming an automatic behaviour or habit.

By asking Alexa to set reminders, routines and alarms it makes triggering good behaviours even easier.

Alexa can provide audio and visual cues and reminders that will be like crossing off tasks on a list.

“A habit is something you make a conscious decision to do once, then you stop thinking about it because it becomes automatic,” added Dr Ray.

“Around 40-45 per cent of what we do every day is done out of habit. Very little willpower is necessary for habits because they’re woven into the fabric of our lives.

“Tech support systems, like Alexa, can really help you to do the things you want to do to thrive. By setting cues in your environment that help trigger automatic behaviours, you can develop a routine that becomes automatic, helping you achieve your goals.

“The reason habits are so powerful for wellbeing is because they need minimal willpower once they are in place – all thanks to the activation of the habit loop.”

Dr Ray say choosing specific goals is helps on the path to success. For example, “go to bed by 9pm” rather than just “get better sleep”.

Dr Ray shares six tips on the proactive steps to help set your goals:

Be focused and keep it simple. Start with one goal that’s a priority which you can weave into your routine. Once that habit has been created, you can move onto the next.

– Choose specific goals that can be put into action. While ‘improve fitness,’ ‘eat healthier’ and ‘sleep more’ are great goals that many people may set, these goals can be hard to achieve. Instead, choose specific goals that you can put into action like going to bed by 9pm every night or eating two vegetarian meals a week. Use Alexa to help by setting a bedtime routine or getting recipes inspiration via the Taste integration.

– Don’t just set an alarm, set a reminder.  Setting alarms will prompt your brain to activate the habit routine, and you can help this further by setting a reminder with Alexa. Not only will this sound at the designated date/time, but it will also say what the reminder is for, like ‘get ready for Pilates’ or ‘pay your phone bill’. The more cues, the more likely the habit will switch on and strengthen.

– Remove the decision making. For example, set a weather alert to proactively decide if you are working out indoors or outside, removing a decision from the process to make getting into the action simple. You can help yourself also by preparing workout clothes the night before so they’re ready to put on before you have a chance to even think about it.

– Get inspired and get in the zone. Have some fun with your goals – create a workout playlist that gets you in the zone or ask Alexa for a recommendation on a new recipe to try using what’s already leftover in your fridge.

– Be rewarded. It’s also important to reward yourself after taking action towards your goals to mark that behaviour in your brains as one worth repeating.

Amazon’s range of Echo Dot and Echo Show products along with a wide range of Alexa skills make it possible to set routines, reminders and alarms using voice commands.

The areas Australians want to improve according to the Amazon Alexa research is health and fitness (70 per cent), mental health (64 per cent), finances (62 per cent), relationships (53 per cent) and sleep (48 per cent).