Tuesday Tip: 5 Apps That Will Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

5 Apps That Will Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions? Meh. What’s the point?

According to this psychologist, 80 percent of our resolutions fail by the first week in February.

But you may be overlooking an important ally that can help to keep you on track for a healthier, happier year: your phone.

Today’s phone apps are smarter and more sophisticated than ever. And while they can’t actually go to the gym or meditate for you, they can provide (almost) effortless accountability.

Here are five awesome goal-setting apps that give you tips and help you keep your new year resolution.

(Standard disclaimer: App creators’ views and values are their own and are not endorsed by CREDO Mobile. Before downloading any app, please confirm that it meets your personal standards for corporate ethics and protection of privacy.)

1.    HabitBull

Resolution: Create a new habit or break a bad one

Want to eat healthier, exercise more, or learn a new language? How about stop eating processed foods, give up negative self-talk, or stop watching more than two hours of TV a night?

It all sounds great except for one thing – creating new habits, or breaking bad ones, can be painful if not impossible.

Enter HabitBull. Based on Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity secret and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, this app takes quite a bit of the agony out of building new habit or breaking a bad one.

HabitBull creates a sort of game out of habit tracking, and can track up to 100 habits (one is plenty for me!) each with their own calendar and reminders.

FREE, in-app products $3.49 – $62;  available for iOS and Android. Prent Company: App Holdings

2.    Countable

Resolution: Fight for change in Washington

One of the most effective ways you can participate in federal policy making is to actively lobby your Congressperson.

While pestering your reps isn’t a magic bullet, it does make a difference. This is especially true when impassioned citizens mobilize in shock-and-awe numbers.

A notable beneficiary of this approach is the Affordable Care Act. As of this writing, it’s still with us, thanks in large part to the lobbying of millions of concerned citizens.

For help staying on top of the issues that matter most to you, check out Countable. You can set this clever little app to send you legislative alerts on issues you care about, including social justice, education, immigration and more.

When an alert catches your eye, simply tap a button to email or call your representative. (Pro tip: don’t just leave a comment on the app. According to Capitol Hill staffers, mere comments rarely reach the legislators.)

Countable also alerts you immediately when one of your representatives casts a vote — which can provide valuable ammunition for future lobbying and social activism.

FREE, available for iOS and Android

3.    Headspace

Resolution: Live more mindfully and enjoy the moment

OK, I just did a one-minute mini exercise with Headspace. So now watch me write freely, joyfully, and with focus. (Wait, where did I put the shopping list?)

Kidding aside, daily meditation is one of the best things you can do for yourself in our relentlessly busy culture.

Just a few minutes in the morning can set the tone for your whole day. It can also relieve stress and even help you sleep better.

The best thing is, you don’t have to be a total Zen master to benefit. The Headspace app makes getting started with mindfulness as easy as binge-watching Netflix (but far more productive).

The free version of the app includes a “Basics” pack of ten meditations for beginners. None of these runs longer than ten minutes, which makes it easy to squeeze mindfulness practice between your morning coffee and commute.

Users can unlock additional meditation packs with a paid subscription. These include themed packs (sports, creativity, kids) and those geared to certain life challenges (anxiety, sleep, pain management).

And while competition is so not the point, the perfectionist in me was thrilled when Headspace tracked my meditation stats for me.

FREE and PAID versions, available for iOS, Android, and Amazon

4.    TaskRabbit

Resolution: Spend more time with your loved ones

Would you rather play outside with your kids than drive across town to pick up your dry cleaning? Well, now you can have someone else do the legwork for you.

TaskRabbit connects you with local, background-checked “taskers” who can help with shopping, cleaning, yard work, and even putting together your IKEA furniture.

Founder Leah Busque conceived the idea when she had to choose between going out to dinner with her husband and running to the store for dog food. She envisioned her company as a community of neighbors helping neighbors.

As a taskmaster (my word, not the app’s), you can choose your own assistant from a list of profiles. Or for a slightly higher hourly rate, you can have TaskRabbit handle the booking for you.

Quotes for a quick dry cleaning pickup and delivery in my area ranged from $20 to $35, with one of the taskers working exclusively by bicycle. So there’s the option to reduce carbon emissions while spending precious moments with your loved ones.

TaskRabbit currently operates in 39 U.S. metro areas and London.

FREE (um, the app, not the tasks), available for iOS, Android, and your desktop computer.

5.    Sleep Cycle alarm clock

Resolution: Sleep better and wake up refreshed

There’s nothing more miserable (OK, almost nothing) than being wrenched from a deep sleep by your alarm. Especially if you fell into bed just four hours before!

Well guess what? That never needs to happen again thanks to Sleep Cycle alarm clock.

Most sleepers cycle through periods of light and deep sleep several times a night. Sleep Cycle alarm clock allows you to set your alarm for a 30-minute interval. The app then wakes you when you’re sleeping lightly, leaving you alert and refreshed.

It also displays your sleep cycles graphically. To really weird yourself out, check out the graph after a night of boozing it up. Scary!

Sleep Cycle alarm clock can track your movements with either your phone’s accelerometer or microphone. (The latter works better if you are sharing are bed.) Whichever option you choose, it’s important to position the phone correctly. The app provides detailed instructions.

After you use Sleep Cycle alarm clock for several nights, it will start giving you personalized sleep quality scores. I’ll admit I’m totally obsessed with this part. It definitely encouraged me to go to bed earlier and at the same time each night.

And after a few months of tracking, I finally scored a perfect 100 percent after sleeping in my mom’s quiet condo in the suburbs. (She was very proud.)

FREE, available for iOS and Android

So there you have it — everything you need to bring your New Year’s Resolutions to life (finally). Good luck and happy new year!

Do you use any apps to help you set and track your life goals? Comment below to share.