Apps for your austere New Year's resolutions

Faith Merino · December 31, 2012 · Short URL:

These apps will help you stay on the wagon at least until Valentine's Day

Now I know it’s New Year’s Eve and we’re all excited to booze it up tonight and then plunge into our austerity plans tomorrow (I’m going to give up coffee this year…we’ll see how that goes), but the key to success with any goal or resolution is to pace yourself. Baby steps.

Having said that, I never pace myself. I have an annual tradition of overdoing it on New Year’s Eve, waking up the next day with mascara smeared all over my face, and then deciding on the spot to jump headfirst into a life of asceticism and self-restraint. I become a very boring person for a few weeks, and then Valentine’s Day rolls around, and BAM—I’m off the wagon with an “I’ma eat errthang in this restaurant and get drunk with mah man!” It only gets worse with the Easter candy…

Studies have shown that people tend to flake on their New Year’s Resolutions about 2-3 months in. A full quarter of resolutions are broken within the first week, and 80% of newly resolved gym-goers drop out after eight weeks. So do yourself a favor and get some apps to help you along your quest for self-control.

This year, my resolutions span the usual gamut: get my finances under wraps, lose a few pounds, eat healthier, and be more involved with my family, or some such nonsense. They all fall under the “get shit together” umbrella. So here are the apps I’ve compiled for those common goal categories.


This is one of those year-round deals—build out your savings, add to your retirement plan, beef up your portfolio, etc. There are some really useful apps for the financial novice and guru alike, including…

LearnVest: while this is technically a personal finance service for women (to the extent that the content and articles are largely geared toward women), it’s really ideal for anyone who wants to get their financial house in order—particularly for those who are new to the world of finance. The sleek, easy-to-use app comes with just about everything the site has—including the articles, which I love. With a focus on your current spending as it’s happening, the app tracks your transactions and auto-filters them into folders that show you where your money is going. It also comes with budgeting tools and priority goals.

 Personal Capital: this one is geared more toward the seasoned investor, with a handy snapshot of all of your accounts in one place. You can use it to track your spending, but you can also use it to get a better picture of your portfolio and how diversified it is, whether you’re losing money on mutual fund fees, and so on.




We Americans are all slovenly, overweight, and sleep-deprived. And it’s no wonder—since we’re all subsisting on diets of soda and Cheetos. So chances are, you have a health-related resolution this year. Fear not. There is an overabundance of apps for that.

MyFitnessPal: I fell in love with this app while trying to lose the rest of the weight I put on while gestating my gargantuan 10-pound baby last year. The tools and calculators are fabulous—and it easily has the best food/calorie directory ever. But it also has a unique social angle that lets users network and make new friends, which adds accountability to the mix. It’s that social accountability that kept me going through Jillian Michaels's sadistic 30-Day Shred.

Medicinal Plants: this one is great for those of us who are in desperate need of a detox. I’m actually on this big herbal kick right now. I bought this book on herbalism (I know…) and I was reading all about the amazing healing powers of Elder, and then after realizing I have to get my hands on some Elder, I was like, “what the hell is Elder?” Is it a tree? A shrub? (Answer: both!) This app is a useful herbal guide with gorgeous color photos and information on each plant.

Healthy Recipes by SparkRecipes: this app is great for those of us who are strapped for cash and time. It comes with a handy recipe search engine, as well as a list of categories, ratings, nutrition info, and more. What makes it particularly awesome is its handy dandy cooking technique videos.



Family…yadda yadda…

Last year, I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions because my son was two weeks old and I was in survival mode. This year, I’ve come to the conclusion that he and I need to get out more, which means joining some kind of play group. God, that sounds awful…but it has to be done. He needs some baby friends, and I need some mom friends. (All of my friends are young and childless with amazing abs.)

Meetup: I started checking out Meetup toward the end of my maternity leave, when I was just teetering on the brink of insanity. And then I went back to work, and all the rushing around made me forget all about my existential crisis. The app is really useful for anyone who wants to meet new people or try new things. You can find everything from book clubs and mom groups to hiking groups and movie clubs. Or you can start your own club! It’s great for finding family activities as well.

I hope all of those apps help you meet your goals (if not, then you only have yourself to blame). Either way, Happy New Year’s from VatorNews!


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