Have you stumbled on your New Year’s resolutions yet? We’re barely a week into 2013, and surely some people have already fallen off the horse. Still more will fall off in the coming weeks, left in the same place as always come February. But it doesn’t have to be that way for everyone. Sometimes all it takes is a little external motivation.
That motivation can come from many places. One handy tool to help along the way is your iPhone. Since you have it with you at nearly all times, you can use it to keep track of important data. That itself can provide external motivation. You can also share your statuses with friends and family, providing another motivational level.
Looking for some apps to help with your resolutions, whatever they might be.
1. Resolutions Tracker
How can you expect to uphold your resolutions if you’re not keeping track of them? The Resolutions Tracker app gives you a simple apparatus to do just that. No matter how many resolutions you intend to keep this year, Resolutions Tracker can help you stay on task.
Not only does it list your resolutions, but it also links a to-do list to each of them. For instance, if you wanted to lose weight (perhaps the most common NYR) you would lay out a plan with the to-do list. That way you know exactly what to do next if you want to accomplish your goals.
Best of all, the app allows you to grade yourself. Have a free Saturday and want to work towards one of your resolutions? Check out one with only one star. That one needs some attention.
2. Don’t Break The Chain
Back in 2007, a blog post on Lifehacker took the internet by storm. Brad Isaac wrote an article titled Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity secret. The formula was blindingly simple. Seinfeld would hang a large calendar on his wall, one that covered an entire year. Since his most effective path to being a better comedian was to write every day, he would cross out the date in red pen if he completed his writing task. The objective:
Don’t break the chain.
The problem with a wall calendar is that it stays in one place. Yet we are living increasingly mobile lives. The solution lies on your iPhone. The Don’t Break The Chain app provides a virtual version of Seinfeld’s wall calendar. Place an X on the date when you perform your daily task. It will even let you know the length of your current streak.
You can get Don’t Break The Chain for free.
Many resolutions involve keeping track of certain actions. For instance, last year I resolved to make a note of every time I spent money. At first this failed, because I decided to use a small pad an pen. That meant carrying around one extra item, which inevitably meant leaving it behind many times. The solution was to use my iPhone.
While I found a specific app for my purposes, a more general note-taking app would have sufficed. If you have a resolution that involves keeping track of certain actions or habits, a general note-taking app can work for you, too. Drafts works well, because it keeps your notes well organized. That means you can use it to keep track of your resolutions, as well as take notes on anything else that strikes your fancy.
When it comes to note-taking apps, there are a lot of very poor apps out there. You can get Drafts for $2.99. It might seem steep at first, but once you start using it you’ll see the utility.
Now we get to the common resolutions. The diet and exercise industry is an insanely profitable one, mainly because people desperately desire health but lack the discipline to change their unhealthy habits. Again, we can turn to our phones as data keepers and trackers. MyFritnessPal ranks among the best diet and nutrition apps out there.
The biggest feature MyFitnessPal brings to the table is its enormous food database. You can scan the QR code of many foods and see the nutrition information right there. Just edit the servings you consume, and you’ll have an accurate track of calories. You can also input your own recipes and meals, keeping as accurate a track on your nutrition as possible.
For those who don’t want to track every day, you can also use MyFitnessPal to get a general idea of the caloric content of your meals. For instance, author Tim Ferriss in his best Seller The 4-Hour Body recommends eating the same meal repeatedly. You need only track it once in MyFitnessPal, and you have a good idea of your caloric consumption every time you eat the meal.
And yes, you can get MyFitnessPal for free.
Need some motivation to hit the streets and log your daily miles? There is nothing better than a run-tracking app. MapMyRun+ is insanely simple. Just load it up, hit Record, and start running your route. The app keeps track of data such as your miles, your splits, your time, and your routes. That’s all valuable information when trying to improve.
Really, improvement is the key component for MapMyRun+. You’re much more apt to stick with a program if you can see visible improvement. Seeing a faster mile split on runs can provide just the motivation you need to get out of bed and run your miles tomorrow.
The basic MapMyRun app is free, but I recommend buying the MapMyRun+ app for 99 cents. For just a buck you get a ton more features.