Apps for your New Year's resolutions

Faith Merino · January 3, 2011 · Short URL:

Quit being such a flake and achieve your goals this year with these apps

It’s that time of year when we make New Year’s resolutions we have no intention of keeping.  We’re always strong right out of the gate, but at some point along the way, our resolve fizzles away and we start making excuses.  “I don’t have time to go to the gym today”—I just said this one out loud a couple of hours ago.  “I’ll take out one more credit card to hold me over until I can get back on my feet.”  “I’m going to be nicer to my mother.”  Whatever the resolution, we all know how it’s going to end.  Stop deluding yourself!

This year, take charge! 

I’ve compiled some apps to help you follow-through on your promise this year.  Let’s start with the most common resolution.

Weight Loss

We all know how this one ends up, so skip the self-motivating pep talks and jump straight into the action. 

  1. iMapMyFitness (iPhone, Android, Blackberry)

One of the more popular workout apps, iMapMyFitness allows you to set your stats (height, age, weight), set a fitness goal, and share your workouts and milestones with friends.  Once you create an account, the mobile app uses your phone’s GPS to map runs, walks, biking routes, or hikes.  Or you can visit the website ahead of time to use the site’s advanced topographical maps to plan out routes.  The app’s social features are probably the most compelling part.  Everyone knows that when it comes to weight loss or training, there’s strength in numbers.  Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find friends who are down with the idea of getting up at 4 a.m. to go on a morning run in near freezing rain to shake off that Christmas weight.  This app allows you to make new friends who have similar fitness goals and even live in the same city, so you can share your favorite routes or plan a group run. 

  1. Nike+GPS (iPhone)

This app is geared more toward runners.  Using your iPhone’s GPS and accelerometer, the Nike+GPS app measures calories burned, pace and distance, as well as where you slowed down and sped up.  It also visually maps out your route on Google Maps and allows you to see how far you’ve run by tapping on the map.  The app can be used for both indoor and outdoor runs, whether on the pavement or on a treadmill, and even in areas where your phone can’t get a GPS signal.  Additionally, the app has a “Challenge Me” feature that uses data from your previous runs to calculate a new goal, typically in increments of 5%, but you have the option of customizing and increasing the goal if you’re feeling particularly masochistic.

  1. Lose it!  (iPhone)

This app focuses more on calorie intake for those with enough strength and resolve to not eat the holiday treats in their pantry right now.  Once you create your account, you can set a weight loss goal and the app will calculate what kind of calorie budget will get you there based on your height, current weight, and age.  You can also modify that goal to reach it by a certain date.  For example, let’s say you want to lose ten pounds by March 1.  The app will calculate how many calories you should be consuming each day and what kind of exercise regimen you should adopt to reach that goal by your desired date.  I like this app because of its easy-to-use interface, which makes it really simple to stay on top of your daily calorie budget.  The app has a database of different foods and you can also choose from a list of foods you’ve already eaten to calculate how many calories you have left.

Getting on top of your finances

This is one I struggle with, as I have a tendency to round down when calculating how much money I’ve spent (ex: $132 becomes $130).  So here are some apps that I recently started using to keep better track of my finances.

  1. (iPhone, Android)

I love  I created an account on the Mint website a while ago and love getting email updates showing where I’m spending money and how much is leftover in my monthly budget.  I’m always terrified of looking at my bank statement because I know it’s going to ruin my day, but with Mint, I can stay on top of my expenses with each purchase.  The app allows you to check your budget on the go and find how much you have left to work with and what will put you over the top.  The only thing I would recommend is that you create your account on the website before you jump to the app, since you have to sync all of your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, etc., which can be a little time consuming on the iPhones itty-bitty buttons.

  1. Bloomberg (iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Nokia)

The Bloomberg app allows you to keep track of your stock portfolio or find stocks by entering company names on the go.  With this app, you can read the latest news headlines, get market updates and stock quotes, and view stock charts on the go.   The app also allows you to view full stock charts by turning your phone on its side to get the full effect.  The app has faced some harsh criticism from users who love the features, but hate the ads. 

General organization

My New Year’s Resolution this year was simple and to-the-point: Get s*** together.  I wrote it on my fridge so I don’t forget.  Losing weight, getting your finances in order, being nicer to your mother—it all comes down to getting your s*** together.  So here are a couple of apps designed to do just that.

  1. Siri Personal Assistant (iPhone)

The voice technology that serves as the foundation of the Siri app was so promising that Apple acquired the company earlier this year.  This app is delightful.  By simply speaking a command into your phone, Siri will come back with a list of results and further actions you can take.  For example: it’s Monday.  You have back-to-back meetings, and you have to pick up your clothes from the dry-cleaners, pick up some more dog food, and take the kids to soccer practice.  Oh, no!  You forgot it’s your anniversary!  You have to make a reservation at that restaurant you and your significant other love so much.  With Siri, you simply speak your command into the app: “Table for two at Crush 29 for today,” and the app uses your phone’s GPS to find the restaurant you’re referring to and give you the option of selecting a time and reserving a table with one tap.  Siri is—without a doubt—the new frontier of mobile search technology, and it’s awesome.

  1. Todo from Appigo (iPhone)

Who uses daily planners anymore?  With Todo, you can create a list of things you need to get done and you can sort those lists according to date, time, location, and urgency.  You can also create reminder alerts, create default features for recurring tasks (like monthly bills or weekly grocery shopping), and set up projects and checklists.  You can also create an account on Appigo’s Todo website and then sync the information with your iPhone so that you can keep track of your daily itinerary online and on the go.

With these apps, you should have no trouble for sticking to your goals this year.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find an app for being nicer to your mother, so you're on your own there. 

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