One of the more recent trends in personal growth is the use of technology for accountability. As of 2018, there were over 300,000 healthcare-related apps available, and new ones are being developed almost daily.
Wearable devices such as fitness trackers, monitors, and web-based apps have revolutionized self-care, and have created an environment where the newest BYOD (bring your own device) at work is your health tracker. Using technology (think of an app on your smartphone) as an accountability partner is becoming more common. Is your phone the best solution to keep you on track? Let’s find out.
The Pros to apps being an accountability partner
Today’s apps are user-friendly, with an easy to navigate interface that makes input quick and easy. Apps use reminders and notifications to encourage and support the user in reaching their goal.
Using an app-based accountability partner is convenient. You enter in your goal, add some target dates and milestones and the app does the rest. As you work toward your goal, you update your progress with a few short taps. After you log in your progress, the app is ready to celebrate with you as you meet your goals, or gently prod you when you haven’t.
Today, some 30 million Canadians have smartphones, which is roughly 70% of the population. An app-based accountability partner is literally at arm’s reach and is instantly available when you need an encouragement boost. The app keeps track of your progress, so you don’t need to carry a notebook, remember what you did or put information into a spreadsheet. A few clicks and you’re done!
Even apps that charge for usage are typically inexpensive, while the majority of apps are free.This makes it possible for even the most budget-conscious consumers to enjoy the benefits of accountability.
Notification reminders, badges, stickers and social media postings are all used to encourage, applaud and motivate the user to press toward their goal. Particularly for a tech-savvy generation, using apps to stay accountable makes perfect sense. Even for the tech-challenged, however, apps typically have a gentle learning curve that guides the user through the process.
The Cons to apps being an accountability partner Not everyone is a fan of the trend towards app-based accountability, however. Turning a critical eye towards app-based accountability programs reveal some drawbacks to the idea of using technology to keep yourself on track.
Lack of privacy
On a dismally frequent basis, news stories about data and privacy breaches steal the headlines. Consumers’ personal information, previously assumed to be stored securely, is hacked and leaked by nefarious groups on an alarming scale. Tens of thousands of people can be affected at once, making privacy one of the largest concerns people have. Uncertainty about how data is handled and safeguarded can quickly deter individuals from using a mobile-based app.
Despite the regular notifications and fun, cartoonesque features an app may use, many people feel the lack of human interaction is a downside. While cheery messages and motivating messages may make participants smile, a majority of people prefer to have an actual conversation with a live human.
Easy to dismiss
Because the automated app is technology-based, it is easy to disregard any motivational nudges or reminders you may receive. Simply ignoring the reminders or dismissing them altogether is painless and easy to do. Unlike a human accountability partner, the app will leave you alone if you ignore or dismiss the reminders.
Is an app-based accountability partner the right choice for you? It depends on what works for you. Do you want the face to face interaction of a live person, or can you discipline yourself to respond to the gentle nudges of technology? Not sure? Try both and determine which method is most effective for you.
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