Whether you want to read more or spend less, reduce your weight or increase your steps, apps can help you turn your New Year’s resolutions into lasting habits.
To get started, head to the App Store if you’re an iPhone user or the Google Play store if you have an Android to download the apps that match your goals. And remember, persistence is key. Experts say it takes at least three weeks and as long as three months to make a new habit stick.
"You have to build up to your goal, otherwise you end up sabotaging yourself,” says Sharon Good, a New York-based life coach. Apps can help you gain traction in a few ways: Some ask you to log your daily progress toward a specific achievement; others connect you to a community of users. They also can offer creative ways to achieve goals you might otherwise avoid, for instance, by letting you practice a new language from home rather than traveling across town for a weekly class.
No matter the goal — or the app you use to get there — Good says that mindset is key. In other words, don't just tell yourself you should do something. Remind yourself why you want to in the first place.
Eating smarter and exercising are classic resolutions that can be tricky to keep. For success, try a two-pronged approach: Download one app, such as My Fitness Pal, to track your calories and nutrition, and a separate exercise app, like Johnson & Johnson’s 7 Minute Workout, to follow along with professionally guided fitness routines.
Or take the time to get familiar with your phone’s preloaded fitness app, Apple Health for iPhones and Google Fit for Androids. These health hubs measure things like daily step count and sleep schedule and can be paired with wearables such as the Apple Watch or Google’s Wear OS Watch to measure heart rate, record workouts and more.
If you struggle to get motivated, something like the Charity Miles app offers an extra incentive. For every mile of “movement” — walking, biking, running and dancing are all fair game — the app’s sponsors will donate a small amount to your choice of charity. More than 50 are available so far. Family and friends can also sign on to sponsor you through the app’s “pledge page” feature.
Whether you want to track your retirement spending or set specific savings goals, apps like Mint or Personal Capital give you a bird’s-eye view of your finances from daily expenses to home loans to investment growth.
These secure apps let you link your cards, bank accounts and more to track spending and savings in real-time. Colorful charts and graphics make it easy to visualize your financial progress.
Having trouble making a dent in the pile of books on your nightstand? An app like Goodreads can help.
Users compile reading lists, review and rate the books they finish, and scroll through customized recommendations. If you prefer audiobooks, consider the LibriVox Audio Books app, which offers unlimited access to more than 50,000 works of fiction and nonfiction in the public domain. Public library card holders also can sync their accounts to the Libby app to access their library’s collection of audiobooks and e-books from afar.