New Year’s resolutions: 5 free apps to keep you on track
RescueTime, Mint, 8fit, Butt Out and Duolingo are all free to help locate the new ‘you’ in 2018
Many of us are ambitious about New Year’s resolutions despite failing to stick to last year’s ones. With the help of technology, you may be able to achieve that this year. Here are apps that help you keep track of your resolutions. They are all free to download, though some charge for personalised features.
“Where has time gone?” we often ask at the end of a year. Some blame the smartphone. The tool that is supposed to make us more efficient has stolen our time – we spend so much time posting selfies and browsing random content in the digital equivalent of junk food. But this can change if we use phones wisely – which is why we need a time management app such as RescueTime.
RescueTime tracks what you do online and analyses your habits. the records it keeps give you a better picture of exactly how you spend your day – whether you are spending too much time on a site or on a specific task. Once you have detected your work distractions and want to be more efficient, RescueTime can temporarily block your favourite websites.
Poor time management is often because of a lack of self awareness., With the help of RescueTime, you can understand your behavioural patterns and take baby steps to change your habits.
Year-end holiday, Christmas gifts and not to mention all the lai sees you are about to give during the upcoming Lunar New Year: 2018 has just begun and you are already broke. That may explain why saving money / better finance management has long been a common resolution.
The app Mint categorises your transactions and tracks your bills – every dollar you spend is recorded. It analyses your spending behaviour and patterns, then creates a budget for you. It makes you more aware how you spend your money and reminds you of the limits. This will help stop overspending and you may no longer be scratching your head at the end of every month wondering where all your money has gone.
A daily reminder and budget controller like Mint can help you gradually become wiser about financial decisions and achieve your goals in time.
Another resolution we are familiar with is to get fit, and many people have tried – and failed. It takes much will power to change one’s diet and stick to a workout regime. Encouragement from a dietitian and a fitness instructor will make things easier. Not everyone can afford to hire help, so why not turn to a digital assistant?
8fit helps you design exercise routines and meal plans to match. Interactive demonstration videos give you motivation and the app will constantly remind you to continue your scheduled workout. It is a coach, a meal planner and a nagger all in one – just do as it tells you.
Quitting smoking has been a constant struggle for many, so it is time for intervention. Butt Out helps you achieve the goal of quitting ciggies through positive reinforcement. You start with a customised motivational images – such as a family portrait – and then choose a goal, ranging from cold turkey to any planned quit date. The app records your cravings and the number of cigarettes you have actually smoked. You will see how you grow to resist your smoking urges over time. It encourages you by showing stats of your health improvement and money you save through reducing the amount of cigarettes you buy. Bad habits cannot be changed overnight, positive reminders on how much you have achieved can really help.
Learning a new language is also a hot resolution, often coming with the hope of travelling to a new place. Hiring a teacher can be prohibitively expensive and you may not have the time either. Duolingo may be what you need.
Almost any language you can think of can be found on the app – French, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and many more. It sets different tasks at different levels and is rookie-friendly. With games using text, pictures and audio, you can understand and memorise the new words and phrases more easily. When you move to the next level, it will also help you go through old terms to refresh your memory.
Practice is key to learning a new language and Duolingo is ‘someone’ you can practise doing so with. Repeat what you have heard, and it will let you know whether you have mastered the pronunciation.
This app makes language learning fun so you stick with it, and unlike a human teacher, it is there for you any time, anywhere. So no more excuses – find the new ‘you’ in 2018.