The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions dates back to ancient Babylon, some 4,000 years ago. That translates into 4,000 years of disappointment and broken resolutions.
Luckily, we can now use nifty apps developed by innovative companies worldwide to keep track of our goals. The apps below are bound to give you a better chance at conquering your 2021 resolutions.
If 2020 was a year in disarray and you are looking to be organized in 2021:
As someone who is always jotting down a long list of outstanding tasks, I realize that the problem of to-do lists are twofold: (1) tasks pop into my mind when it’s not convenient to jot them down, and so I forget them later, and (2) when I do create my list, it’s hard to sort out what to prioritize. Todoist can elegantly resolve these issues by providing a flexible platform that can be as simple or complex as a user wants it to be. Todoist allows for collaborations, tagging, filtering, and there is even a widget for the smartphone app. As an extra bonus, Todoist now allows you to organize your to-do list in Kanban format.
If your wallet felt a little light in 2020, and you want to manage your finances in 2021:
Planto may be a newer app with relatively few reviews, but it is truly a diamond in the rough. This app allows you to set financial goals and save money based on simple and actionable financial advice. Planto also makes uploading expenses easy by automating the process for you. In fact, it will even provide weekly expense reports so you can monitor your spending.
Best of all, if Planto can’t satisfy all your financial needs, it will suggest other services, including loan providers or investment brokers. Although this app is subscription-based, at HK$48 a month and HK$478 a year, it’s bound to save you more than it costs.
If you weren’t active in 2020 and you’re looking to be fitter in 2021:
Since it first launched in January 2009, Nike Training Club hasn’t disappointed. This app has so much content that there is something for everyone, no matter your fitness level. The voice-guided coaching keeps you motivated, while videos make it easy to follow along. It’s almost like having your own personal trainer, but without the cost. You can choose the muscle group you want to focus on, the workout type, and the difficulty.
If you were distracted in 2020 and are looking to become more focused in 2021:
Engross uses the pomodoro technique, but morphs it into a more sophisticated application. You can label and set up each pomodoro based on your projects, and you can even pre-define the number of hours you work per day and the breaks you plan to take. What sets this app apart, however, is that it allows you to press a button every time you are distracted. By collecting and analyzing your taps, it can tell you when you are most often distracted, allowing you to efficiently tackle distractions and “engross” yourself in work.
If you felt down in 2020 and are looking for inspiration and positivity in 2021:
The name of the app, Happy Not Perfect, says it all. Instead of aspiring for perfection, why not aim to find positivity this year?
This app helps you identify your moods, which is the first step to processing emotions healthily. After this, the app will guide you to let go and to focus on gratitude and happiness. It allows you to record memories of happiness, overcoming challenges, or kindness from others. There are also ‘pep talk’ and guided meditation functions, in addition to over 150 mindfulness activities, including games, ‘letting go’ exercises, and a social chat function. Although I don’t see any science supporting the content, this colorful app does put me in a happy place.
If you couldn’t travel in 2020, but want to prepare for new adventures in 2021:
We all have different reasons for wanting to pick up a new language, be it for professional use, travel, or even a budding romance with someone from another country. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know where to start, and whom to practice with.
Duolingo is experiencing a renaissance due to global lockdowns. With an easy-to-use interface that provides a clear overview of the content and options, it uses images and symbols to efficiently help you remember what you learned. The program helps with pronunciation by making you speak out loud and even offers recording exercises to improve your oral skills.
If your reactions were sluggish in 2020 and you want to keep your mind sharp in 2021:
The brain is like a muscle: it’s got to be conditioned to keep it sharp. Elevate is an award winning app that offers over 35 games that help you hone different skills.
Like other gamification apps, Elevate provides challenging activities that are fun, but also help to boost productivity, communication and analytical skills. The games are supported by research, but it’s the beautiful interface and the ability to track progress and skills that will keep you coming back for more. It’s no wonder that Elevate was Apple’s App of the Year in 2014–this year is the perfect time to bring it back.
If you tanked in exams in 2020 and you want to boost your results in 2021:
Acing tests requires a lot of memorization, and what better way than with flashcards? Twenty years ago, all my flashcards were made with scissors, paper, and pen. Today, Quizlet allows you to generate and organize flashcards on your smartphone. If you’re feeling lazy, you can even find flashcards uploaded by other users instead of creating your own.
Quizlet’s flexible system can handle pictures, diagrams, and even audio uploads, so you can prepare for anything that the test throws your way. Best of all, you can access these flashcards anywhere: your phone, tablet, or browser.
If you kept forgetting passwords in 2020, and you want to safely organize your passwords in 2021:
Everyone has heard security breach horror stories. We all know we should use different passwords for all our accounts, but let’s be honest: we all only have two or three passwords that we use on a rotational basis.
In today’s world, where an account is needed for every product or service, it’s impossible to remember unique passwords. Luckily, LastPass can free up your memory by storing and filling in your passwords. The app stores your usernames and passwords for each site when you log in, so that every time you return, your credentials will be filled in automatically and securely. LastPass also securely stores personal information to fill in online forms automatically, and allows you to safely share passwords.
This year, let’s make the most of innovation to take ownership of our goals, keep ourselves healthy and positive, and win in 2021.
Originally published in Jumpstart Magazine Issue 31 as ‘9 Apps to Help You Keep Your Resolutions in 2021’