Friday 5: Free iPhone Apps to Help with New Year’s Resolutions
I’m a notorious quitter who had never before followed through on any of the crazy resolutions I had imagined might improve my life: I never started doing push-ups every morning (yeah right, like that was ever going to happen!); I never started that oil painting of Dry Falls in Eastern Washington (though I did buy an expensive art kit that I never opened); and I certainly never tried being nicer to people. I abandoned the entire resolution effort because the sense of defeat I felt in not accomplishing what I had promised was worse, I felt, than the aspect of my life I was trying to improve.
For many, a New Year’s resolution is an endeavor undertaken with anticipation. (In fact, the U.S. government maintains a list of popular resolutions.) But even the most resolute need help now and again. Thankfully, “there’s an app for that.” There are several iPhone apps on the market now that can help users meet their goals for the New Year. Perhaps with one of these apps — and with hell freezing over — I too might, for once, follow through on a New Year’s resolution. Then again, probably not. But for you — someone who is far more dedicated than I am — here are five apps for you to consider using next year as you undoubtedly follow through on your plan to a better life in 2014.
1. Fitocracy — “I will get in shape!”
Losing weight is perhaps the most common New Year’s resolution. And the key to losing weight, we all know, is surgical treatment. But for those unwilling to go under the knife, weight loss depends on the ability to stay motivated. Fitocracy is a fitness app that helps motivate people by making fitness an online game that you can play with yourself or against friends. Users can track their work out, “level up,” earn points, and unlock achievements. Fitocracy was named an App of The Year by Men’s Journal.
2. Betterment — “I will manage my finances!”
I’ve always felt the most financially stable person is the person with no money at all, i.e., people like me. But for those with money, this real-time finance app will help those who’ve made a New Year’s resolution to get their finances in shape. Users can check their balance, investment portfolio composition, and their investments’ rate of return. Users can also deposit and withdraw money, manage portfolio allocation, and review goals and account activity. The Wall Street Journal called Betterment “a high-quality, low-cost, customer-service-oriented experience.”
3. Hipmunk — “I will travel!”
Feel trapped? If so, then perhaps your New Year’s resolution is to travel in 2014. Hipmunk can help. This app — which, in full disclosure, my little brother helped develop — features an adorable chipmunk for its mascot and helps users compare travel prices from all the top travel sites. It’s understandable that Time called it one of the “50 Best iPhone Apps” because it’s fast, easy to use, and can actually help you save money.
4. EasilyDo — “I will get organized!”
For the person who is making a New Year’s resolution to simply “get it together, man!” this app will be a start. EasilyDo is a personal assistant and automation machine. The app proactively reminds users of birthday, organizes contacts, checks traffic, and even gives back rubs. (Actually, it doesn’t give back rubs, but it does notify users of bad weather and tracks packages.) This app is a time-saver, which Business Insider called one of the “13 Useful Apps You Need.”
5. Skype — “I will keep in touch with friends and family!”
At the end of every holiday gathering, someone is always bound to say, “Next year, I’m totally going to keep in touch more.” If you’re that person, then don’t overlook the Skype app. Skype allows users to keep in touch through voice and video calls with friends and family across the globe. Users can also send video messages and share photos. Perhaps the best feature of Skype is that it runs not on WiFi (though it can), but instead works on the 3G network, which allows you to keep in touch on the go.