if your trusty smartphone is rarely out of reach, why not use it to help you make or break some daily habits and take yourself to the next level in 2020.
When it comes to making changes in our lives, apps can be a convenient tool to keep us on track toward our goals—whether that’s increasing happiness, building or breaking a habit, organizing our tasks, prioritizing our time, optimizing our workouts, and so on. The good news? There are great apps out there that can get you where you want to go way more easily. The not-so-good news? You have to dig through hundreds of options to find them. But that’s all about to change because we did the work for you.
- Live a healthier, happier life with Headspace
The stresses of daily life can leave you feeling exhausted and out of balance. It can be easy to push that important “you time” to the bottom of your ever-growing to-do list. It shouldn’t take a back-seat though, and Headspace is the best app for mindfulness, helping you to take the time to focus on yourself and the stuff that matters most.
You can sign up for free and learn the basics of mindfulness and meditation. Or, you can subscribe and get access to hundreds of meditations, over 40 mindfulness exercises, Headspace for kids, plus loads more.
- Productive (free, iOS) creates an easy-to-read daily habit schedule.
This app separates your goals into three categories: morning, evening, and do any time. It turns your habits into actionable, mangeable to-dos. I like that before noon, Productive will only show you A.M. habits. It forces me to incorporate my new habits throughout the day, instead of rushing to get them done before I go to bed.
One con is that it’s iPhone only. There’s a similar Android app called Rewire (free) that sorts habits into a daily “widget” accessible from the home screen (if you’re on Android you’ll know what I’m talking about).
Another downside to Productive is that the free version is pretty limited. To get access to stats, reminders, and a lighter interface, you’ll need to upgrade for $4.
- Learn a new language with Duolingo
Not only is it handy to learn a new language; it’s good for your brain too, improving your memory and attention span for starters. With Duolingo, you don’t have to worry about trying to find the time to go to a class either. You can learn over 30 languages by playing games, listening, speaking, reading and writing. Starting with the basics and learning new words every day. All that at your own pace and for free. Awesome, huh?
- Habitica (free, iOS, Android, web) is an app that turns goal and task management into a fun video game.
if you want an app to keep you accountable, try Habitica with a handful of friends. It gamifies all tasks(not just habit building). As you mark each item as complete, you’ll earn achievement badges and currency that can be redeemed for cool gear.
You can collaborate with and challenge friends by “battling monsters.” If either of you slack off, everyone gets hurt.
Google Calendar helps you become more productive through Goals, a feature which lets you create new habits, keep track of your schedule, and make sure you follow them through. Simply input each goal by answering a few questions, such as “How often?,” “How Long?” and “When is the best time?”
- Cut down on the booze: DrinkAware
So you’ve had your big NYE blow-out; as the dust settles you’re left achey of head, empty of pocket and rotund of tummy. Time to make a change?
You could go all-in on a Dry January, but fully abstaining seems to lead inevitably towards Blotto February. So why not look at your ingrained quaffing habits and see where you can dial them down instead? DrinkAware’s free app is a judgement-free space for you to log your imbibing and how much it cost (just tick a few boxes and you’re done).
Providing you’re honest with yourself you’ll start to see how many units you’re drinking, the total of liquid calories you’re taking in and how much money is, er, going down the drain. It will gently prompt you to try a drink-free day or 2 – and before you know it you’ll be making better, more informed decisions about ‘tipping the elbow’.
- Get to work on time: Alarmy
If there’s one New Year’s resolution that could change your life for the better, it’s turning up for work on time. Showing up late to the office isn’t a good look; in a recent survey, 82% of those questioned said they perceived this as ‘unprofessional’.
You mean well, but the lure of the snooze button is your undoing – and that needs to change. While we’ve already compiled a rundown of the best alarm sounds on your iPhone, it sounds as if you’re going to need a little extra help – and that’s where Alarmy comes in.
Alarmy won’t let you play fast and loose with the snooze button – it won’t stop buzzing until you do exactly as it commands. That could be taking a picture of your bathroom sink or kettle; shaking the handset until you’ve woken up or completing a maths puzzle. Either way, you’re awake and ready to seize the day.
- Get savvier about money: Yolt
Are you in a financial mess? Is the last week before payday a time of great shock, hunger and sadness? You’re not alone – in a banking survey last year, two-thirds of the folks asked didn’t know their bank balance.
Yolt believes that people can only control their money when they understand it, and that’s why they’ve developed this app. Plug in your current account and credit card and they’ll do all the number crunching for you, categorising all your spending so you can see exactly what’s getting wasted where (why yes, there isa dedicated category for coffee… what a coincidence).
If direct debits always catch you out, the most useful feature is the payday countdown. It learns your habits and takes into account all the payments due before then, then gives you the real amount of money you have left to spend after food shops, travelling and bills. Phew.
Habitbull is a great goal tracking app for building positive habits or breaking bad habits. Keep your life organized by setting up a habit and it measures your progress while you strive towards your goals. As it sends reminders and motivational quotes to keep you going, it also gives you statistics and a graph that tracks “streaks”. You can get a daily, weekly and monthly review on your progress. For that extra motivational boost and support, it connects you with a built-in supportive community to share your goals with like-minded people.