Do you have trouble keeping new year’s resolutions? There’s an app for that. Or rather, a whole range of apps. From using peer pressure to invoking financial penalties, these apps are designed to push you towards completing your goal, no matter how great the inertia may be.
If you’re a serial procrastinator
1. 30/30 (iOS, Android)
Clearing your daily to-do list can be immensely satisfying, but only if you’re able to stay focused. For those who are easily distracted, it might help to set time limits for each task with 30/30. This app only allows you to add a maximum of one minute to each task, and is based on the central premise of work cycles — that you should work intensely for 30 minutes, and then take a break by doing something unrelated for the next 30. But if you’re not a fan of work cycles, the app also allows you to schedule tasks according to your own preferences.
2. Coach.me (Web, iOS, Android)
Forming a new habit can be hard, especially if it’s something as mundane as clearing your email inbox. Coach.me is one app that wants you to know you’re not alone, by allowing you to join communities of fellow users trying to cultivate the same habit. For instance, those with hopelessly cluttered email inboxes could join “Inbox Zero”, a community of over 24,000 people sharing tips on how to get your emails organised.
The app allows you to check in when you fulfil your habit — a simple task that can serve as positive reinforcement. But of course, you’ll need to have enough discipline to check in consistently for this to work.
3. StickK (Web, Beta on iOS and Android)
If you’re still too lazy to stick to your resolutions, StickK literally makes you put your money where your mouth is. While making a resolution on the site is free, users can choose to pledge a certain amount of money towards it and sign a contract with a referee. This money can go to a charity of your choice or to another person.
And if that does not provide sufficient drive, you can also pledge the money to a foe, or a US or UK-based charity that you hate, such as the gun lobbyists over at the US National Rifle Association. According to its founders, pledging money triples the chances that you’ll complete your goal. So if you’re especially desperate, StickK might be what you need.
Get up and get moving
4. Kfit (Web, iOS, Android)
If the monotony of going to the same gym deters you from working out, Kfit might be able to motivate you with its great variety of exercise options. For a monthly subscription fee of $99, Kfit users have access to over 570 gyms and fitness activities, from Bollywood dance to rock-wall climbing. There is no limit on the number of activities you take on, though there are caps on the number of times you can engage in an activity per month.
5. Passport Asia (Web, iOS, Android)
If you’re not into fixed monthly subscriptions, you can consider Passport Asia, which lets you pay for what you use via packages consisting of a fixed number of activities that you can book on demand. The app offers popular fitness activities, such as yoga and pilates, alongside more unconventional options, such as parkour and adrenaline laser tag. Once your 30-day free trial wears out, the cheapest package comes at $88 for access to 5 classes monthly.
Take time to learn something new
6. Khan Academy (Web, iOS, Android)
If you haven’t heard, educational site Khan Academy is the app with a mission to provide a “free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere”. The app features instructive videos on a range of school subjects, from math and economics to art. Each video is accompanied by a transcript that is easy to follow, and can also be downloaded for offline viewing. As with its website, users can sign in to reward themselves with energy points and accumulate badges for bragging rights.
7. Duolingo (Web, iOS, Android)
Learning a new language can be intimidating when it requires constant memorisation and repetition. Duolingo tries to help ease the process with interactive quizzes and a point accumulation system. Community features also allow you to compare your progress to those of your friends; after all, what’s a better motivator than some healthy competition? What’s especially novel is that exercises also get users to translate web articles and documents, allowing them to contribute in some small way to breaking down language barriers on the Internet.
But remember to slow down and rest well
8. Headspace (iOS, Android)
If you’ve never had the patience to practise meditating on your own, Headspace might be able to help. Founder Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk, guides users on simple mediation exercises with his own soothing voice. The app is free for 10 days, after which you can embark on a monthly or yearly subscription — dubbed by the company as “gym membership for the mind”.
9. Colorfy (iOS, Android)
Colouring books for adults have recently grown in popularity, with rising evidence that the activity helps to relieve stress and anxiety. But if bringing a physical copy of the book around is too inconvenient, you can turn to Colorfy. The app provides you a range of intricate illustrations, from floral patterns to mandalas, for you to fill with colours and beautify with filters. And if you’re proud of your work, you can share it on social media or send it to someone.
10. Sleep Better (iOS, Android)
It’s near impossible to keep to resolutions if you’re not getting enough quality sleep to begin with. Sleep Better helps you keep track of your sleep phases, and recommends the best time for you to wake up based on the “Smart Alarm” feature.
The app also takes into account the different factors that affect your quality of sleep, including caffeine consumption and work stress. You can even keep track of your dreams by making dream notes, which could help uncover patterns that might explain why you wake up feeling tired. After all, the most important goal of 2016 should be that nothing gets between you and a good night’s rest.