It's only a week in, but be honest. How's your New Year's resolution going?
Mine, not so great.
I'd hoped to start saving more money (just ordered food last night instead of cooking at home — oops).
I was going to manage my time better (I'm currently swimming in deadlines).
And I really wanted to eat healthier (see that above-mentioned ordering food for an idea of how that's going).
But most of us end up in the same boat with resolutions ... or else maybe we'd have New Decade's resolutions rather than annual ones prompted by overtapped bank accounts and cookie-induced muffin tops from the holiday season.
Luckily, there's an app for that.
Yup, there's an app for almost everything these days, and as much as some are gimmicky, others can really help you accomplish your goals. Check these out:
Track your family's income and expenditures, quickly and easily. Set budgets and savings goals. Get nice little reminders when you go over your restaurant budget for the month. Couldn't most of us use a little more financial discipline? I started using Mint to keep track of my bills last year, and now I don't know how I'd keep my bills straight without it.
Admit it ... do you kind of love making lists? And checking something off after you've accomplished it? Maybe it's just me. But this to-do list app makes it super-easy to plan anything from tonight's dinner to a big project at work on a family vacation. You can add reminders and due dates even assign tasks to other people.
Cozi is perfect for those days when things are so crazy you can barely remember which kid plays hockey and which one does swimming. Create a calendar for all your family's events and then share it with the entire family — and send them reminders when they have to be someplace. It even includes a family photo album and journal so you can keep track of the special moments.
Health and Exercise
Do you vow every year you'll "get in shape"? Sworkit is sort of like that personal trainer who makes sure you actually stay on task. It has tons of 5- to 60-minute exercise videos (5 minutes! So none of those "I have no time" excuses) that are targeted to your personal fitness goals, whether that's to build strength, slim down or just improve your fitness. You can sync your workouts to MyFitnessPal (see below) and the Apple Health app, and there's a version of the app for the Apple TV, so you won't be stuck working out to a smartphone-sized video.
Still sneaking in little handfuls of your kids' Goldfish and the occasional Oreo that "doesn't really count"? We're all guilty. This handy little food-tracking app shows how innocent snacking can rack up big calories. It can also sync with the Apple Health app and a lot of the popular exercise apps to help coordinate your diet and exercise goals (and save you from having to track the same thing in two different apps).
FoodPrint Diet by Nutrino
While they're both food trackers, MyFitnessPal is more about losing weight, whereas Nutrino is focused more on eating healthier. It suggests foods based on your personal preferences and fitness goals (sick of kale? Avoid ever seeing it in your meal suggestions) and offers full nutritional support for pregnant women and people managing diabetes. One of the coolest features is that it offers healthy meal suggestions at local restaurants to help you stick to your goals when you go out.
Want to learn a new language this year? Duolingo is a free app that turns language learning into a game. With languages ranging from the popular Spanish, French and German to the more obscure Welsh and Irish — and even Klingon and High Valyrian — there's something for everyone. And with languages like Chinese and Japanese in beta, they're adding more all the time.
I've been studying Irish on Duolingo for a couple years now, and I've learned important phrases like caithimid bándearg ar an gCéadaoin ("on Wednesdays we wear pink") and ní roghnóidh mé an taobh dorcha riamh ("I will never choose the dark side").
The Great Courses
Imagine going back to school, but only taking classes in something you were actually interested in and never having to take tests or do homework. The Great Courses lets you download audio and video lectures on all kinds of subjects, some available for free, and learn cool new things on your own time. And the iOS app supports Family Sharing, so up to six family members can nerd out to your courses on their devices, too.
Is one of your resolutions to read more, or to keep up more with the news? Or maybe just to save paper by reading your magazines online? Scribd gives you access to three books, one audiobook, and unlimited magazines and documents every month for $8.99 a month. Plus, knowing that you're paying for access to three books each month is an excuse to give yourself some much-needed "me time."
Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be an app that stops you from ordering pizza on a cold night when you lack the motivation to make something healthy. But they're great tools to hold you accountable and help you stay on track.
Are you looking for more great apps, maybe to help your kids stay on track at school? Check out our favorite 21 free educational apps for kids.