Apps to help you keep your new year resolutions
Technology to the rescue of all those broken promises...
Yeah, yeah, we've heard it all before. "This time, I'm really going to stick to my new year resolutions. This time it's going to be different." Only trouble is, these tend to be promises made in the midst of the heady wooziness that is the festive party season. By the time the austere glare of January has arrived, those pledges don't look so appealing. You're going to need some help.
This selection of apps is (virtually) guaranteed to make you a better person - and at the very least give you a better shot at keeping your resolutions until at least the end of January.
Dashlane Password Manager & Secure Digital Wallet
If you're like 99% of the rest of the population, you're using the same password for a whole bunch of important online accounts. And why wouldn't you? After all, who's got the time, energy or brain power to create individual passwords for every single sign-in they use online? Trouble is, insecure and repeated passwords make you a prime target for hackers and identity thieves, which is not a fun way to start the new year. This free app takes all the effort out of securing your online accounts, generating, remembering and autofilling unique and secure passwords for every account you use.
Learning a second language is one of those things many people would love to do, but just don't have the time for. There are bundles of apps available that aim to make it easier; Duolingo is undoubtedly one of the best. It breaks down the process of learning a new language into easily achievable chunks, and gamifies the whole experience so that learning doesn't feel like a chore. The result is an app that you can dip into for five or 10 minutes whenever you get the chance, and come away feeling like you've genuinely achieved something.
Goodbudget Budget Planner
Unless you are ultra-disciplined, it's nigh-on impossible to keep track of your finances without keeping some kind of budget. Goodbudget uses an 'envelope' system that helps you set targets for the different things you spend money on. You then track what you're spending on a day-by-day basis to stay on budget. Give the free version a go to see if it works for you before stumping up for the premium offering.
Charity Miles app
Getting fit is always top of many people's resolutions, and there are tons of apps to help you do that. This one comes with a neat USP - it rewards you every time you go on a run, walk or bike ride by making a donation to the charity of your choice. Sitting on the sofa instead of braving the January weather suddenly feels like a much tougher decision...
Ask Jerry Seinfeld how he got where he is today and he'll point you in the direction of an app like this. Yep, turns out the stand-up comedian is a huge fan of creating 'productivity habits' - where you pick a task and then mark off how many days in a row you manage to keep it up. The idea is that, before long, you'll be desperate not to break your streak - and suddenly the task has become a daily habit. This free app makes it easy to track your habit streaks - and thus boss your new year resolutions.
Touted as a 'gym membership for the mind', Headspace is all about mindfulness, stress relief and basic chilling out. It takes you through a process of meditating for 10 minutes every day, with lessons to help you get started and stay on track. The app is free, but once you've gone through the beginner stages you'll need to pay for a subscription to progress.