June 28, 2011
By Megan Neunan
WASHINGTON (Army News Service) — “A lot of times we push off getting back to stuff because we can’t get to it. The goal-setting now is right there in your pocket,” said Sam Rhodes, the action officer responsible for a mobile-phone app that sets resilience goals.
The free app for iPhones and iPads, developed by Rhodes and a team at the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, Ga., and the Signal Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon, Ga., was released one month ago. It is the i-version of the Resilience Goals Book under the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program.
The app allows Apple users to set goals within their personal beliefs and then set up e-reminders to stay on top of them. It can be downloaded at http://www.apple.com/itunes/affiliates/download/.
Soldiers can also email what they tap out directly to first-line supervisors.
“It’s the first thing a Soldier can help himself with,” Rhodes said of the App and setting goals. “I think it provides a high degree of structure that everyone needs — I found that I needed — as we return from war and prepare to go to war.”
Rhodes retired as a command sergeant major, with 30 months of a 32-month tour in combat, and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, in 2005. Now he works for the Directorate of Training and Doctrine at Fort Benning.
He said goal-setting is the number one way to enhance Soldier performance, and people who know about the App have latched on to the approach. Downloads to iPhones and iPads doubled from the product’s first to second week, from 196 downloads to 411.
In just three weeks, 552 users downloaded the app.
The hard-copy goal book has been out for more than a year, and, since December, could be downloaded as a 44-page PDF too. Design and development of the mobile application started in January. Rhodes explained the point of going the I-Pad and mobile-phone route.
“I don’t want to say we targeted younger Soldiers, but if younger Soldiers use something, the older generation of Soldiers — (ask) guess what we have to do? Just like email,” he said.
The Resiliency App exhibits a trend toward the innovative use of existing resources to help Soldiers. At least, that is Rhodes’ thinking. He only wishes goal-setting were emphasized when he returned from theater.
“I didn’t have any of that,” he said, but added that since the Army realized what was happening with post-traumatic stress, it has been great about helping Soldiers.
Rhodes specifically mentioned the App as a small way to combat increasing suicide rates in the Army, but was careful to emphasize it benefits the general population, not just PTSD sufferers.
A search in the App Store for “Goal Setting — Comprehensive Soldier Fitness” will turn up the Resiliency App on iPhones and iPads. The genuine App is represented by the CSF logo, with “Goal Setting” in yellow letters backed by an Army star.
“I was in a classroom and talking to about 60 people the other day,” Rhodes said, “and 50 percent of them had an iPhone and 50 percent of them had a Droid. The biggest question was ‘when can I get this on the Droid?’ My buddy’s got it already.’”
An Android-compatible version will be released sometime in July, Rhodes said.