5 apps to help you with your New Year’s resolutions

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Listing down New Year’s resolutions is the easy part but following them through is always a struggle. Here are five apps to help accomplish even the most difficult goals. Illustration by JL JAVIER

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Mark Zuckerberg’s 2016 resolution was to build an AI to run his home. The goal was to create a system that would enable Zuckerberg to control different parts of his house — from the front gate, to the light switches, to the sound system, to the toaster — with a simple voice command. On December 20, 2016, he published a video on Facebook demonstrating all the things his newly-built AI could do.

The year before building an AI, his past New Year’s resolutions were to read two new books every month, learn Mandarin, and meet a new person every day, all of which he accomplished with flying colors. For the rest of us, listing down New Year’s resolutions is the easy part. Getting them done is a different story. So here are some apps to help you accomplish yours.

1. Read more books

5apps-bookling.jpg Bookling gamifies your reading experience, letting you list the books you’re reading, setting reminders for when to read them, and keeping track of the progress you’re making. Photo courtesy of BOOKLING  

App: Bookling

Listed as one of Buzzfeed’s “23 Life-Changing Apps,” Bookling does something counter-intuitive to the concept of reading itself: it gamifies it. The app lets you set a yearly goal of number of books to read and helps you keep track of your achievements by awarding you with badges for each book you finish. 

Aside from the gamification features of the app, Bookling does three things which are important to anyone who is trying to read more for the new year: it lets you list the books you’re reading, set reminders for when to read them, and keep track of the progress you’re making.

 

2. Get more sleep

5apps-pillow.png Pillow tracks the quality of your sleep cycle and alerts you when it's time to get some shut-eye. Photo courtesy of PILLOW  

App: Pillow

It should come as no surprise to anyone that getting enough sleep at night comes with a lot of health benefits. However, with the rise of social media and the different streaming services available at our fingertips, sleeping often falls behind in our list of priorities.

As with everything else in life, it’s the quality of sleep that you’re getting and not necessarily the quantity that matters. One of Pillow’s best features is that it monitors your sleep cycles and determines the best possible time to wake you up based on an adjustable time period. This is crucial because waking up outside of the REM sleep stage could mean the difference between waking up feeling refreshed and rested or feeling tired and groggy.

 

3. Get in shape

5apps-pact2.jpg When it comes to your fitness goals, Pact wants you to bet on yourself. Failure to reach pre-set goals incurs an actual monetary penalty. Photo courtesy of PACT  

App: Pact

This resolution has probably been around since New Year’s resolutions were invented. Gyms all over the world are always packed during the first week of January, but the crowds reduce in size over time as more and more people give up on sticking to their resolutions.

Pact knows that the only way to get you to stick to your resolution is by putting your money where your mouth is … literally. The premise is simple: you set a weekly goal and a corresponding monetary penalty for the number of times you fail to work towards your goal.  If you fail, you’ll have to pay up. However, if you happen to achieve your goals for that week, you’ll receive the monetary goal from other users who slacked off that week. This app is betting on yourself at its finest .

 

4. Get over your ex

5apps-killswitch.jpg Killswitch — an app that allows you to erase digital memories of your ex in one fell swoop — donates a portion of their proceeds to the American Heart Association of New York. Photo courtesy of KILLSWITCH  

App: Killswitch

Nothing says “new year, new you” quite like getting over your ex. The problem with breakups these days is that cutting the cord in real life doesn’t automatically make it Facebook-official. With Facebook Memories getting to even the most cynical of us, it’s best to “Eternal-Sunshine” the posts of relationships past to make sure they don’t come back to haunt you three years from now. Killswitch is an app that removes all pictures, wall posts, videos and tagged items from your ex with a click of a button. No more manually deleting photos of the two of you while drinking wine and listening to Adele.

 

5. Save more money

5apps-spendee.jpg Spendee goes above and beyond your typical budgeting app by providing features such as a communal Spendee account you can share with housemates or business partners. Photo courtesy of SPENDEE  

App: Spendee

The problem with most of the money management apps in the market is that even if they do a good job tracking expenses, they don’t translate the data into something that helps users  to figure out if I’m they’re financially responsible or not.

Spendee has a lot of features worth highlighting. First, it lets you set a monthly budget, not a singular general monthly budget for your expenses but an exhaustive customizable list of things, from food to travel to movies to streaming services, and anything else you want to keep track of. Second, it lets you have a communal Spendee account that you can invite your housemates or business partners to use. Finally, Spendee lets you convert all your numeric data into graphs and charts that can be exported to your desktop so that you get a bird’s eye view of when and what you’re spending your money on.