Let's face it. Making a New Year resolution is very easy and keeping them is next to impossible. We are all creatures of habit and the flipping of a calendar is hardly a reliable trigger for habit change.
That said, there is nothing wrong with trying to keep a resolution going for as long as possible and there are a number of mobile apps that will make your efforts a bit easier.
Here is a rundown of a few apps that will help you keep some of the most common New Year resolutions.
Goal: Getting Fit
- MyFitnessPal (iOS and Android) - I love this app. This is a very easy way to track your caloric intake and expenditure. MyFitnessPal has a great database of food nutrition information and has a very handy bar code scanning feature. Use this app for a week and you will be amazed at how much you will learn about the food you eat and the activities you perform. I have personally found weight-loss success with a combination of MyFitnessPal and MapMyRun (below).
- Fitocracy (iOS) - Want to make your workouts fun? Fitocracy is a workout tracking tool that also challenges you to excel through gamification and peer motivation. I just installed Fitocracy and am looking forward to trying it out in my quest to shed a few holiday pounds.
- Fitness Buddy (iOS and Android) - So you are eating right and going to the gym, but what exercises should you be doing to burn those calories and shed those pounds? Fitness Buddy is a great place to find out. This app has a database of over 1,000 exercises and shows you, in detail, how to properly perform each. It also 45 workout routines and allows you to create your own custom routine. An invaluable tool in getting you to that weight loss goal.
- foursquare (iOS and Android) - If you are keeping your resolution, there is nothing wrong with a little bragging. Use this location-based app to check-in to your gym and show off your new dedication to fitness. After all, who doesn't want to become the mayor of their gym?
- YouTube (iOS and Android) - Yes, YouTube. You would be amazed at the massive amount of fitness-related videos on the social video behemoth. From Pilates to yoga to weight-training, you can find videos for just about everything you need to get fit on YouTube. Add a Chromecast (affiliate link) to your TV and you can workout along with your favorite YouTube video from the comfort of your own living room.
Goal: Running a Marathon (or a 5k)
- MapMyRun (iOS and Android) - MapMyRun is a great location-based running app. Not only does it track running routes and mileage, but you can also find out how many calories you burned in each run. I have found that a combo of MapMyRun with Calorie Counter is a great way to measure and log my calorie intake when I run.
- Other Good Running Apps:
Goal: Staying More Organized
- Evernote (iOS and Android) - Evernote is possibly the best all-round organizational app out there. Simply put, this app is just a great collector of all of your "stuff." Notes, tasks, photos, voice recordings- just about anything is fair game for Evernote. Evernote also has a bunch of integrations with other networks, apps and devices. An essential app for anyone trying to get more organized.
- Pinterest (iOS and Android) - Generally, I find that social networks make my life less organized, but Pinterest is a bit different from your average social network. Pinterest is great for organization in two ways: 1) It helps you bookmark and organize future projects; and 2) It helps you discover new organizational ideas. I can't tell you how many times I have seen some sort of storage or cleaning idea on Pinterest that I have tried at home. It is amazing what other people think of.
- Google Chrome (iOS and Android) - Yes, an Internet browser can be an organizational tool. Google has done a great job at tying all of their apps together with a single Google login. Chrome is a great example of this. When you are logged in to your Google account, anything you browse or bookmark on your desktop will be available on your tablet or phone (assuming you are logged in to your Google account on those devices as well). Chrome even autofills information in the address bar or form fields based on info you may have entered on your desktop. Another great feature is that you can open up the same tabs across devices, so if you have three important tabs open on your desktop and have to run into a meeting with your tablet, you can easily open up the same tabs on your tablet.
- Scanner Pro (iOS and Android) - Sick of having to store hard copies of documents and receipts, but need to keep them on file for business purposes? Scanner Pro is your answer. With this app, you can use your mobile device to scan an item and store it digitally as a PDF. You can also send via email or to a printer and there is built-in cloud storage support.
Goal: Finding a New Job
- LinkedIn (iOS and Android) - One of the best ways to find a new job is to network with key people in your desired companies and industries. As a former Operations person in a growing business, I can tell you that hiring isn't easy. It is actually a huge pain and can be very expensive. Hiring agents love when they have someone in mind for a job opening. It is such a time and money saver. Some of my best hires have come out of people connecting with me when I didn't have an immediate position open for them, but had one open up over time. Use LinkedIn and Network. Network. Network!
- Job Search (iOS and Android) - Job Search is the mobile version of Indeed.com. For those of you not familiar with Indeed, it is basically an aggregator of job postings from across the Internet. It pulls jobs from company career pages and a bunch of the major job boards and stores them in a searchable database. Using Job Search, you can search and view job listings. Who knows, you may just find that dream job by doing a little browsing on your phone!
Goal: Reading/Writing More
- Dragon Dictation (iOS) - Do you find that ideas come to you when you are nowhere near your computer? Of course! You can't control where inspiration may hit you. Dragon Dictation is a great app for recording your ideas wherever and whenever they come to you. Dragon takes your recording and turns it into a digital document, email, text, tweet and even Facebook status so you can save time and never lose a thought!
- Feedly (iOS and Android) - Feedly is my favorite RSS reader now that Google Reader (RIP) has left us. It is a great tool for monitoring a bunch of your favorite websites and organizing the ones that you want to read. If you like to keep up with many new sites or blogs, RSS is definitely the best way to go.
- Kindle (iOS and Android) - Kindle is another great cloud-based, cross-platform app. You don't have to have a Kindle device to enjoy Kindle and Amazon's amazing library of downloadable books. There is a Kindle app for just about ever mobile device and even a great Chrome extension for desktop. With Kindle, you can quickly purchase a book, start reading it on your tablet, bookmark your place, pick it up in the same place on your phone and then finish the book on your laptop. It is a great way to knock a few pages off here and there. You will be amazed at how much faster you can get through a long book this way.
- Google Drive (iOS and Android) - Much like Chrome, Drive is a great cross-device Google app. Drive allows you to create a spreadsheet, document, presentation, etc on one device and easily work on it on a different device. Drive is one of my favorite apps to use when I take off on one of my famous brainstorming walks. I just type my initial thoughts in a Drive doc and then take off with my phone and continue to write down whatever comes to mind. Seamless.
Goal: Save Money
- Mint.com (iOS and Android) - Mint is an awesome app for keeping track of your expenses and maintaining a budget. Mint connects to your various accounts and organizes your expenses. It pulls information automatically, so there very little data entry required on your end. It is a great way to track your actual spending and visualize where your money goes so you can tweak your spending habits.
- Coupons.com (iOS and Android) - This app is the mobile version of the Coupons.com site. Using this app, you can browse all of the same coupons you will find on the website, clip and then either send to a printer or to someone via email. If you haven't jumped on the couponing train yet, you are probably spending at least 20% more on just about everything you buy than you should. Trust me, the few hours a week that couponing will take you will save you a boatload of money. Always look for a coupon/sale combination in everything that you need (or will need) to buy and you will be amazed at how much you save.
Goal: Travel More
- Kayak (iOS and Android) - Kayak is a do-everything travel app. Book hotels, look-up flights and find car rentals right from your mobile device. You can also perform valuable travel tasks from the app like look up your flight status and baggage fees.
- TripIt (iOS and Android) - TripIt simply makes traveling easier. The app collects and organizes all of your travel information so you have everything (confirmations, flight info, itineraries, etc) all in one place. No more fumbling around for this information. It is all right there on your mobile device!
- Tripomatic (iOS) - Tripomatic is a travel-planning app with a huge built-in database of attractions and destinations. Based on where you intend to travel to, the app will give you a number of suggestions for places you will want to visit and maps them out on a custom map for you. Going someplace new in 2013? Tripomatic will help you hit all the key spots so you can get the most of your visit.
- GasBuddy (iOS and Android) - With gas prices fluctuating so much these days, GasBuddy is a very helpful app for travelers. GasBuddy crowdsources gas prices and helps you find the lowest price around you. To keep prices as up-to-date as possible, app users are rewarded with real and virtual prizes for reporting gas prices. Gas prices are (relatively) low right now, but we all know they will go up during the course of the year and when they start pushing $4 a gallon again, GasBuddy will be a very valuable tool for travelers.
- Airbnb (iOS and Android) - Airbnb is basically a marketplace where people with space are connected to people who want to visit. On Airbnb, you will find some amazingly unique places that you can book a stay at. There is a community aspect to Airbnb and users are encouraged to review the locations they stay at giving you an idea of what others have thought about a place you had in mind. Airbnb not only books your stay, but it also generates an itinerary that includes directions to your destination. There is also a feature that helps you find last-minute accommodations if you are a "spur of the moment" type.
Goal: Stay In Touch with Loved Ones
- Facebook (iOS and Android) - Yes, I am suggesting Facebook as a way to keep a resolution. Seriously, is there a better way to keep in touch with friends and family than Facebook? Through Facebook, I have reconnected with countless people who I am ashamed to have grown distant from. It is a great way to stay a part of someone's life despite busy schedules or long distances.
- Skype (iOS and Android) - Like Facebook, Skype is a great social tool to quickly say hi to someone you haven't had recent contact with. Video is much more personal than text, so Skype is a great way to say hi personally. Have a relative that isn't able to make a birthday party? No problem. Just Skype them in and they can take part in singing happy birthday like they were there.
- Other Good Communication Apps:
Good luck with your resolutions everyone and Happy New Year!
App Image Credit: iTunes
Gym Image Credit: miamism