Already struggling with your New Year’s resolution? Well, help is on the way in the form of apps. They won’t make hitting the gym or flossing every day easier, but they will nudge you towards building up good habits, and that’s all you need.
Way of Life
The app: Way of Life.
Platform: iOS & Android.
Cost: free, $6.99 for premium.
Do you want to eat a piece of fruit a day? Make sure you stretch each morning? Get to bed before midnight? Whatever habit you want to build (or break, for that matter), Way of Life can help. You make a note of your habit in the app, and then every day the app will prompt you to note whether you kept up with (or kept away from) your habit. Before long, the tracker shows you a chain of either successes or failures, and there’s nothing better than seeing a long chain of green. The premium version lets you keep track of more habits at once, but trust us, one is enough.
The app: Rescue Time.
Platform: iOS, Android, Table, Web.
Cost: free; premium is $9 per month or $72 annually.
If your New Year’s resolution involves screen time in anyway—less Facebook, not as much YouTube, close the laptop after 6, and so on—then Rescue Time is your friend. The free version tracks exactly how you spend your time online on your various devices, down to the minute. You can also set goals, get a weekly report, and view three months of history. The premium version has even more stuff like blocking distracting websites after a certain period of time, but really, the meat of Rescue Time is website and application tracking tracking. It’s pretty hard to keep giving into distraction when it tells you that you spent three hours on Twitter yesterday.
The app: Strides.
Platform: iOS, Android, Web.
Cost: free; premium is $6.49 per month.
If you’re the type of person with tons of goals going on at the same time, then Strides is the app for you. Like other habit-forming apps, it lets you track how many times per week you keep your habit, but it also lets you set goals, break them down by date or project milestone, and offers you customizable alerts for different goals. The same screen showing how many times per week you go for a run will also show you what percentage of the way complete you are for planning your kid’s birthday party. If you want even more complexity, you can upgrade to the premium version.
The app: Habitica.
Platform: iOS & Android.
What’s the difference between Habitica and other habit-tracking apps? Habitica turns habit-building into a game. You get to play a little RPG-style character. The more often you keep your habits, the more rewards you get, such as: items, gems, pets, spell-casting, and more. If you break habits, your character’s health takes a hit. Then you can battle monsters with your character. Best of all, its’ a social game. You and your friends or family can take on in-game challenges together, which keeps you honest outside the game. Is your entire family trying to work on the same good habit? Then is the game—or app—for you.
The Bottom Line
The most simple way to keep your New Year’s resolution is to work towards it a little bit each day. You don’t have to do much—just enough to start building up a habit. Habits become lifestyle changes, and lifestyle changes become something more permanent. The next thing you know, you’re a different person.