Every year a friend or colleague will ask you about your New Year’s resolutions and you’ll shrug, laugh and remember the ones you failed to keep from last year. But what if we can use artificial intelligence to set better goals and create a plan to keep them? I decided to find out.
To help I turned to Google’s AI chatbot Bard. It said New Year’s resolutions can be a great way to make positive changes in your life. So then I was curious if Bard could help me craft the ultimate New Year’s resolution list — it had to be interesting, ambitious, but above all, doable.
Opting for a three-step approach I wanted Bard to first help me identify four key areas that I could focus on for the coming year to keep the resolutions as holistic as possible.
Next, I would need to narrow down the specific goals for each aspect of my life and emerge with a practical guide to tackle the goals in bite-sized chunks. I explained all this to Bard and we were off!
Choosing the key areas
Without a say in the matter, I felt I wouldn’t be invested enough in the resolutions to stick to them. So I had Bard suggest a list of eight different areas from which I’d choose four to zoom in on.
“Consider the areas that are most important to you, that you feel need the most attention, and that you're most motivated to change,” Bard told me.
So I went for resolutions on the themes of physical health, relationships, fun and recreation, as well as personal growth. I dropped mental health, career, financial health, and spirituality.
Setting the goals
I was happy with the initial progress and opted for a somewhat similar route for the second step, that is, asking for two specific goals from which I’d choose one for each key area.
Here’s where I encountered a pleasant surprise! Bard understood where I was going with my “give two to choose one approach” but also added a little note under each action item explaining how it would improve my life.
For instance, Bard said that enrolling in a pottery class (the specific goal) would ignite my creativity, spark joy, and provide a sense of accomplishment outside my usual routine. Hard to argue with that.
From the list of options I received, I opted for a solo backpacking trip to boost my physical health, organize a surprise family reunion, learn to juggle and learn a new language.
Charting the course
Lastly, I needed a little bit of help to organize all of this and to do so in a budget-friendly manner. Bard’s first reply came with some pretty obvious advice: immerse yourself in the language by interacting with native speakers.
However, I’m confident that with a little more back and forth I’d be able to get a richer reply and come up with a more comprehensive plan for the New Year.
If you’re tempted to give resolutions a go this year but are short on time, having a quick chat with Bard may spark some ideas about what you can accomplish and how to go about doing that.
Manage your expectations and if it all goes south by February, blame it on the AI and give it another go the following year.
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Christoph Schwaiger is a journalist who mainly covers technology, science, and current affairs. His stories have appeared in Tom's Guide, New Scientist, Live Science, and other established publications. Always up for joining a good discussion, Christoph enjoys speaking at events or to other journalists and has appeared on LBC and Times Radio among other outlets. He believes in giving back to the community and has served on different consultative councils. He was also a National President for Junior Chamber International (JCI), a global organization founded in the USA. You can follow him on Twitter @cschwaigermt.