Historically, communities with their various cultural taboos, acted as societal controls and helped its citizens curb harmful behaviors. Granted, while come taboos were used as instruments of oppression, others did and do help one restrain oneself unto positive outcomes. In the New York Times article by Stephanie Rosenbloom, I Resolve. World, Don’t Fail Me Now, Rosenbloom deal with New Year's resolutions:
Certainly, you don’t need cyberspace to share your resolutions. But the potential humiliation of failure is more potent online. Social networking sites also enable you to formalize and, in many cases, regularly track your goals, which makes it harder to blow them off. Some sites reward you with a badge on your Facebook page or a congratulatory message. Nearly every site makes it easy to tell friends about your ambitions as well as to help find strangers who share your goals. The latter is useful if you don’t want to discuss your resolutions with friends and family.
A site that I started using recently, 750words, has assisted me in journaling daily. The site, create by Buster Benson offers stats and analysis of one's writing. This feature is what drew me to use the site as I am on a year long personal data collection and analysis venture to test the value of personal data analytics. In addition to the 750word site, starting in March I will be using another site created by Benson, HealthMonth.com. There, one can set up rules to help change behavior in either a public or private manner. This site, along with others on the web, act as both a daily motivator and reminder of the goals.
In summary, the visible nature of these sites assist with self-imposed, virtual taboos that help motivate me.