For many people, a new year provides a good excuse to begin something different, or to simply try again. Lose weight, get fit, save money. Sure, these are a few of the most common resolutions people make at this time of year, but they are also some of the more commonly broken New Year's resolutions.
It doesn't have to be that way. We've gathered some of the best apps to help you stick to those goals. All you need is an Android or iOS device and some motivation.
A GPS driven app, RunKeeper allows you to keep track of your workouts, view your progress, and share your stats with friends. Login and create a profile and select an activity, such as running or swimming, create a goal, and the app will load a recommended training schedule. Tap the activities tab to view details about your workouts, or share your stats with friends through Facebook and Twitter to keep you motivated. Runkeeper provides charts and bar graphs to illustrate your progress and integrates with several other app services such as Garmin and Fitbit.
We couldn't help it—we had to give Strava an honorable mention. Like Runkeeper, Strava (there are two: Strava Run and Strava Cycling) lets you keep track of your workout progress and monitor how others are performing too.
Losing weight always tops the list of most popular New Year's resolutions. Lose It, an app designed to help you lose weight by tracking calories, provides an easy way for you to chart progress. Start by entering your current weight and a goal—lose 15 pounds, for example,--and how many pounds a week you want to lose. The app will crunch the numbers and spit out a daily calorie budget. Lose It also gives users a way to export daily and weekly reports through email as well as the ability to print them.
For $39.99, you can purchase a premium account, but the free version goes a long way; the app's interface is simple and streamlined making it easy to navigate.
Perhaps your focus this year is on eating healthier, and not necessarily on losing weight. If that is the case, Fooducate provides a unique way to track your nutritional choices. This app allows you to do two main things: scan the barcode of a particular item to get nutritional information and browse food categories to help make healthy choices. From the "Home" screen, select "Scan", and then angle your phone's camera to read the bar code on an item. The app scans your selection, and then gives it a grade as well as breakout of nutritional information, such as calories and carbohydrates. We tried scanning Trader Joe's Organic Fuji Apples; the app gave the item an "A" and also provided a list of alternatives. Press menu button to create shopping lists, browse food categories, and get daily tips, too.
Healthcare legislation, middle-class tax cuts, immigration policies---there are a number of issues facing 2013 that could directly impact your finances. If you're just beginning to learn how to budget your money, or if you're looking to improve upon the way you manage your finances, Mint provides a comprehensive solution. This app allows you to create budgets and track your spending by integrating your accounts, including credit cards and loans, into one place. To begin, log on to the Mint.com website to create a budget plan. Once you do so, the app will reflect the allocations you select.
Unfortunately, the app does not sync smoothly with every account; several store cards, such as Banana Republic, are not supported and on some occasions added accounts do not update as quickly as we would like. Still, Mint's clear-cut graphics makes it easy to follow where your money goes and provides a comprehensive overview of your finances.
Handwritten to-do lists, notes scratched on post-its— we all have a slew of ways in which we keep track (or don't) of things we need to do. In the end all those scattered lists amount to a heap of wishful thinking and soon-forgotten tasks. A one-stop digital solution may be in order, and that's where Wunderlist comes in.
This productivity app provides a simple, elegant way to keep track of your priorities and lists across all your devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac computer, web, etc.). Select a category, such as "Private," or" Work," or even "Movies to Watch," then add your notes or tasks. Press the star button to set a due date or a reminder, or select the edit button to scratch off that "to-do." (When you check it off, it will view as complete in all your apps.)
Alternative apps like Evernote, which also give users a way in which to keep track of their to-dos, provide more options such as the ability to take photos and add voice notes, but if your goal is to create a clear list of actions to complete, Wunderlist is a good, no-frills option. It was the top pick in our to-do list app showdown.