Apps to Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions
For the next few weeks, there will be no escape from magazine covers that champion a "New Year, New You" (or friends who have vowed to start green juicing). But whether you're the type who makes and breaks resolutions quickly or has steadily improved your life year after year, you're probably resolving to resolve something.
Resolutions are generally the same year in and year out: lose weight; quit smoking; get a better job; save money; etc. But how do you finally achieve them without putting too much pressure on yourself?
How about an app? PCMag found a few to help you reach some of the perennially most popular resolutions. Because many have a social component, you most likely won't be journeying down the road alone, particularly if you're on a treadmill surrounded by the hordes of people who just joined your gym this month.
1. Be a Better Person
Being a better person is often at the top of resolution lists. But just how to achieve that has baffled philosophers for centuries. The closest you'll get as far as apps go is Grid Diary (iOS), which lets you take stock of and journal your day via helpful prompts to focus on gratitude, family, and friends. The prompts are customizable so you can set what's important to you. Journey is a good alternative for Android users.
2. Lose Weight
MyFitnessPal (iOS, Android) makes calorie tracking easy, with a database of over 6 million foods. If something's not there, enter it manually or scan a UPC code. But it's the integration with fitness trackers and apps that really makes it a winner, giving users an overall picture of calories in, calories out. If you want a more formal program, you'd do well to join the time-tested Weight Watchers and use its accompanying app, which includes 24/7 support from a coach.
3. Get Fit
Trainers are expensive. Unless, that is, they're Nike Master Trainers, who offer free, video-guided workouts in the Nike Training Club app (iOS, Android), which covers all fitness levels and offers plenty of variety.
When you don't have enough time for a full workout, try J&J Official 7 Minute Workout (iOS, Android). The app's name is a bit of a misnomer but in a good way: there are a range of workouts, from seven to 32 minutes each, which were developed by the director of exercise physiology at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute.
4. Eat Healthier
If you're concerned about the quality of your food, download Fooducate (iOS, Android), which gives every food in its database a letter grade for nutrition. If you're seeking a healthy alternative to favorite splurges, scan a product bar code and the app will offer up suggestions.
The only way to know exactly what you're eating is to make it yourself. With SparkRecipes (iOS, Android), you can search the database of over 500,000 recipes to find the ones that fit your taste and nutritional needs. If you're not skilled in the kitchen, there are video demos and plenty of tips.
Maybe 2019 is the year you go vegan or vegetarian. There are plenty of apps to help you make the adjustment in what and where you eat.
5. Improve Health
It's a cliche, but your health is everything. But it can be overwhelming to get one clear picture of your medical history. FollowMyHealth (iOS, Android) is a good place to start for a repository of basic health information, a way to track medical appointments, and a source to share with (and in some cases communicate with) your physicians.
When you need a doctor on a non-emergency basis, Doctor on Demand (iOS, Android) comes to your phone or tablet. You can see a physician immediately or schedule an appointment. Prescriptions are sent to a pharmacy near you. Doctor on Demand accepts insurance but also accommodates the uninsured.
6. Quit Smoking
Aside from the fact that it's difficult to text and smoke at the same time, your phone can help you put down that cigarette for good. MyQuit Coach (iOS) creates a personalized plan to help you quit smoking. Android users can do the same with Stop Smoking.
For additional motivation in the form of meditation, supplement a stop-smoking app with Quit Smoking With Andrew Johnson (iOS, Android). The Sean Connery-sounding hypnotherapist is soothing and effective.
7. Get a Better Job
Mid-winter is when you're most likely to feel stuck in a rut. One of the best ways to rid yourself of that feeling is to find a new job. LinkedIn (iOS, Android) lets you manage how employers see you and puts you in touch with colleagues and employers past, present, and future. It also lets you job hunt without tipping off your current boss.
You'll want to make sure that your resume is in top shape if you do get a call. Use Resume (iOS) to make sure it -- and you -- look your best on paper (or as an attached Word doc). You won't have to worry about format, fonts, or anything except filling in your details. Android users can try CV Owl.
If your connections and resume snag you an interview, make sure you're prepared by reading up on what interview questions you're likely to get asked and even the scoop on whether the company's a place you want to work. Glassdoor (iOS, Android) has reviews of workplaces from current and past employees, salary ranges, and the lowdown on what it might otherwise take you months at the water cooler to learn.
8. Spend Less Money and Save More
With a budget taken care of, what about actually setting aside some savings? Try Acorns (iOS, Android). The app takes into account your income and spending and then finds how much you can spare and socks it away into stocks and bonds.
9. Use Time Better
Get a handle on your habits with Productive (iOS). You can watch your progress as you build good behaviors. It's a helpful way to not just see how you spend your days but decide how you want to spend them. Smarter Time is a similar product for Android users.
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10. Self Improvement and Personal Growth
Therapy is one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself. Yet it can also bring up its own issues such as cost, inconvenience, and even worries about the stigma of seeking help. Fortunately there are many online therapy apps to try that reduce and eliminate some of these concerns.
Meditation is another way to bring more peace to your life amongst chaos. Even a few minutes a day can make a difference and there are apps that let you practice wherever you are, even on that crowded train going nowhere fast.