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Appy New Year: the best apps to help you achieve your resolutions for 2017

The Guardian // 09th January 2017

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Appy New Year: the best apps to help you achieve your resolutions for 2017” was written by Stuart Dredge, for The Observer on Sunday 1st January 2017 07.59 UTC

Stick to your reading goals

Bookout (iOS – free)
A common New Year resolution is a vow to read a new book every week and Bookout could keep your literary motivation high. You can set goals for how much time you want to spend reading (or how many books) and track your progress over the year. Its social features may also turn you into a bookworm bragger before 2017 is done.

Organise your writing

Bear (iOS – free)
Bear is great for anyone looking to start 2017 with a fresh page. Whether you’re writing short notes, longer pieces or even that long-planned novel, its simple-but-slick interface helps you concentrate on tapping in your thoughts, then organising them so they’re easy to come back to at a later date.

Sort out your security

1Password (Android/iOS – free)
High-profile hack attacks were a feature of 2016, so one of your more useful New Year resolution might be to improve your online security. 1Password generates strong passwords for you to use online and stores them securely, accessible through a single password (hence the name).

Stick to all your resolutions

Streaks (iOS – £2.99)
Streaks is the perfect app to keep you on all the straight and narrow paths you’ve chosen for 2017, whether it’s a daily run, drinking more water or eating more healthily. You set up to six daily tasks then let the app know when you’ve completed each one, notching up daily “streaks” as you go. A simple way to keep on track.

Young woman meditating
Simple Habit aims to get you meditating for five minutes a day. Photograph: Rafael Metz/Alamy

Practise mindfulness

Simple Habit (Android/iOS – free trial)
Meditation and mindfulness has quietly become a popular smartphone genre, with Simple Habit one of the best apps to launch in 2016. It aims to get you meditating for five minutes a day, with tracks focused on different situations such as commuting or getting to sleep. After a free trial, it costs £8.99 a month as an in-app subscription.

Learn a language

Memrise (Android/iOS – free)
Memrise is an inventive spin on language-learning apps, turning the process into part game and part story. French, Spanish, German and a host of other languages are supported, with an optional £6.99 monthly subscription providing more features and an offline mode.

Keep a digital diary

Momento (iOS – free)
If you’ve tried and failed to establish a daily diary habit, Momento may be worth trying. It does some of the work for you, pulling in your posts from Facebook, Instagram and other social apps. You can write extra notes and save important photos, building up an archive of what you’ve done, where you’ve been and what you were thinking at the time.

Go to more gigs

Dice (Android/iOS – free)
Dice is one of the best ways to jog you out of only seeing bands you liked when you were 18. It recommends concerts by emerging artists and learns your preferences over time. Plus the tickets are sold within the app, so no bits of paper to lose before your night out.

African American runner jogging in city
C25K: promises to turn you into a 5k runner. Photograph: Dave and Les Jacobs/Kolostock/Getty Images/Blend Images

Get out jogging

C25K (Android/iOS – free)
Those experienced at keeping New Year resolutions know that a concrete goal is always best. For example, aiming to complete a 5k run is better than a vague vow simply to run more. C25K is a carefully crafted app with a program of runs that will take you from a Christmas Day turkey-coma to a 5k run by the end of February.

Track your fertility cycle

Clue (Android / iOS – free)
Clue is one of a number of apps that tracks women’s fertility cycles, aiming to help spot the patterns – whether you’re trying to get pregnant or just want a better sense of when your next period is due. It also helps you track exercise and sleep patterns – with the welcome promise of “no butterflies, euphemisms or pink”.

Get more sleep

Sleepfulness (Android/iOS – free)
A mindfulness app with a specific goal: getting you a full eight hours (or at least, however many you need) of sleep every night. It’s a collection of audio tracks designed to help you drop off, including (via in-app purchase) extra packs for specific issues such as anxiety and pain. It’s a spin-off of the meditation app Buddhify, which is also worth a try.

Find new podcasts

Pocket Casts (Android/iOS – £2.99)
If one of your 2017 resolutions is to make better use of your commuting or travel time, podcasts may be the answer. And yes, there is more to the podcasting world than Serial. Pocket Casts is one of the best ways to discover new podcasts from around the world, then download them for offline listening.

Get to grips with Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking’s Pocket Universe (iOS – £5.99)
If your New Year resolution is to finally make your way through Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, take a look at this app from his publisher, Penguin. From space-time to black holes, this is an accessible way into Hawking’s work, with visuals to help you through some of the more… difficult bits.

Girl playing piano with headphones
Yousician teaches you piano basics and also highlights your errors. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Learn an instrument

Yousician (Android/iOS – free trial)
A vow to learn an instrument is a common New Year resolution and a new wave of apps can teach you not only the basics of piano, guitar and other instruments, but also “listen” to your efforts and highlight errors. Yousician is an excellent mix of video lessons and game-like practising. It’s free to try, with a £14.99 monthly subscription for full access.

Learn to code

Lrn (iOS – free)
Boldly going into 2017 with the intention of becoming an expert programmer from scratch might be a little overambitious, but Lrn could be a good way of stretching your brain cells. It is one of a number of learn-to-code apps that breaks up its lessons – in HTML, JavaScript, Python and other languages – into bitesize quizzes.

Try out new recipes

Kitchen Stories (Android/iOS – free)
If you want to jog yourself out of cooking the same five meals in 2017 – and find some healthy alternatives – Kitchen Stories is a good place to start. It’s a collection of recipes with new ones to try every week and video tutorials that are an excellent way of gauging how difficult a recipe is before you start making it.

Let AI help you get organised

Gluru (Android – free)
Gluru is a fascinating spin on the to-do list genre: it claims to use AI technology to dig into your email and productivity apps, and create tasks for you, predicting what you will need to do next. It’s early days for this technology, but it is worth a try.

Get more active and relaxed

Spire (Android/iOS – free)
Like Fitbit, Spire is an activity-tracking gadget as well as an app. Clipped on to your waist, it measures your breathing as well as your steps, with the aim of understanding how calm you are as well as how much exercise you’re getting. The results may help you think about when you get stressed and how to address the reasons.

Give your diet a health boost

Shoptimix (Android / iOS – free)
This is a shopping-list app, but it’s also perfect for anyone trying to eat more healthily in 2017. You can use it to identify food and drink in several categories, from healthier ingredients for kids to good buys for a vegan lifestyle. It’s quick and easy to use, with sharing features to co-ordinate with your family or housemates.

Spend less time on your smartphone

BreakFree (Android/iOS – free)
The irony of a roundup of apps for New Year’s resolutions in 2017 is that many people might be trying to spend less time lost in their mobile. But BreakFree may be able to help: it tracks how much you’re using your smartphone and presents you with the evidence that (hopefully) helps you to spend more time in the real world.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

 

1 Comment

  1. Julien Batomb · May 2, 2017 Reply

    Hi, I’ve tried Yousician to learn the guitar with the free version, and it’s not very impressive. I currently use MyMusicTeacher and the app is cool. I’m subscibed there and the guitar course is very complete, I recommend it for anyone : https://mymusicteacher.fr/ :))

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