Another year has come and gone. Even as we acknowledge that our 2015 resolutions were forgotten sometime around February 3rd, we commit once again to a new set (or new versions of the old set) of resolutions that we’re determined not to let lapse this time around.
Technically, January 1st is just another day, but it signifies so much more. We designate it as a day of renewal – a turning point wherein we shed our bad habits and replace them with behaviors designed to make us healthier, wealthier and happier in the new year.
Of course, making a resolution is the easy part; keeping one is quite a bit trickier. Fortunately, we have access to technological tools designed to solve this exact problem. In fact, most of us carry devices in our pockets and purses that can provide all the information, motivation and tracking we need to stay on task past that early February roadblock.
No matter what you resolve to do this year, a mobile app exists to make sure you have everything you need to keep it. Here is a list of nine apps for Android and iOS to help you dominate your New Year’s resolutions in 2016.
Resolution: Lose weight
According to a Nielson’s poll, the top two New Year’s resolutions in America are to get fit and shed a few pounds. And why not? Who doesn’t want to feel better, look better and reduce many of the risk factors for chronic diseases?
Physical fitness basically requires a combination of two things: exercise and diet.
- To add more exercise to your daily schedule, you don’t need to pay for a fancy gym membership. Try downloading JEFIT. JEFIT is an incredibly versatile and free app that lets you create personalized a workout routines, track and record your results, and browse thousands of exercise options. And it reminds you when you need to get moving!
- The other side of the coin is diet, and the free MyFitnessPal app can help you keep track of what you eat and the number of calories you consume. Many people scoff at counting calories, but if your goal is to lose weight, you have to make sure you aren’t consuming more fuel than you can burn. With MyFitnessPal, you can set a daily calorie goal, which you can easily track on your mobile device of choice with every meal.
Resolution: Fix your finances
Let’s face it, we can all use a little more cash in our pockets. We work all week and then when payday finally comes, all that hard work seems to evaporate into a cloud of receipts and bills.
A wealth of applications are available to help you track your money and plan for financial freedom. Many of them provide similar services, but here are two which could potentially be gold mines
- Our favorite free app for tracking expenditures, managing debts and constructing a budget is Mint. Mint connects directly with your financial institutions, allowing you to track balances and expenditures from nearly any account, including checking and savings, and credit cards and other debtors. Mint helps you track bills so payments are never forgotten, and it includes a debt-repayment planning tool to help you clear the path towards saving. It’s a powerhouse of an app with the right price tag for anyone seeking financial self help.
- For those who are willing to pay a little to fulfill their financial goals, there’s YNAB (You Need a Budget). YNAB provides full budgeting control, easy account-statement reconciliation, and all the tools, reports and guidance necessary to establish responsible spending habits and stick to them. You can try YNAB free for 34 days (without providing your credit card number), and if you’re sold at the end of your trial period, it costs as little as $5.00 a month to keep going. If you’re ready to look at your money in a whole new way, that expense is a worthwhile investment, as YNAB has every tool in the book for successful budgeting and saving.
Resolution: Learn a new skill
Whether it’s learning to speak Italian, make your own sushi, program a computer or build furniture, everyone could stand to pick up a new skill. A year is ample time to perfect a craft, and with some dedication and organization, your new passion might even be the start of a new career!
- Learning a new skill requires practice – lots of practice. Wonderful Day is a simple iPhone app that provides a visual reminder for each day a task is completed. It’s a simple idea with powerful results. A visualization displays a green dot to represent each day that a task is successfully completed, while a red dot means a day was skipped. The goal is to only see a line of green dots. It is a powerful method, even championed by Benjamin Franklin, with a 21st century upgrade to help keep those resolutions top of mind.
- If learning a new language is on the agenda, you’ll find dozens of apps competing for the role of tutor. Duolingo stands out as one of the most fun and effective ways to practice language skills. With Duolingo, you never feel burdened with huge vocabulary lists to memorize; instead, the app makes a game out of each lesson. Users attempt to navigate a variety of challenges which require reading, writing and speaking whatever language they’re studying.
Resolution: See new places and live it up!
One of the most exciting parts of starting a new year is imagining where the year will take you. Assuming that last year you already managed to complete all the previously mentioned resolutions, you are now healthy, wealthy, fluent in a new language and ready to explore some new and exciting places!
If travel is on the agenda for 2016, check out these three indispensable apps for making it affordable and keeping your plans organized.
- SkyScanner is far and away our favorite app for finding a cheap flight, hotel or rental car from wherever you are to wherever you want to be. If the destination is not as important as the journey, just search for all flights leaving from the local airport on a certain date, and the best deals on flights will be sent right to your phone. The next step is to pick a destination, buy the ticket and start a new adventure.
- Once a destination has been chosen, you will need an itinerary. Tripomatic is an amazing new app that automatically populates a list of the most popular places to visit in whatever destination you choose. Simply select the spots that look interesting, and Tripomatic will generate a map and a schedule to follow, so your time is used as efficiently as possible.
- Finally, you will need a nice place to stay while on your adventure. With the cost of a weekend stay in a hotel prohibitive for many budget-conscious travelers, booking a personal-vacation rental home is the current vogue. Airbnb is an accommodation-crowdsourcing app that will help you find a cozy, affordable place to rest your head while fulfilling your adventurous resolution. Rentals are available pretty much everywhere, from secluded cabins in Norway to condos in Manhattan. You can even put your own place up for rent on Airbnb and let some other adventurer help defray some of your travel costs while you’re gone!
No matter what your resolution is this year, somewhere out there the perfect mobile app is waiting to help you reach it. So give yourself the boost you need to make your dreams a reality in 2016 and discover just how much you can accomplish in 366 (it’s a leap year!) days.