According to an article in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8 percent of people are successful with them. Obviously, keeping your New Year’s resolutions is tough, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. If you’re trying to change your life in 2016, these simple technologies will help.
Nielsen reports that 12 percent of respondents in their survey last year wanted to read more in 2015, and the Journal of Clinical Psychology had “learn something exciting” in the number 6 spot of the most common resolutions. Many people want to build habits that will improve their lives, and there are some great apps out there that will help you do it.
Habitica, an app that turns habit-building into an old-school video game, has helped me drink more water, stretch more, spend more time reading, keep my apartment clean and do my job better, all in about two months. Less nerdy options include irunurun, Habit List and 21 Habit, which makes you put your money where your mouth is (if you miss a day, one of your dollars goes to charity).
18 percent of Nielsen’s respondents said that they wanted to get organized; who doesn’t? Reducing clutter is good for your mental health, makes it harder to forget things and just makes you feel good. Even if it isn’t one of your resolutions, you should be working on it anyway!
Evernote is tech that helps you organize. At its core is a very simple idea: take notes and organize them so you can find them when you need to. But with powerful search functions, the ability to save things from the Internet and sharing capabilities, Evernote is the most powerful tool in your organizational arsenal. If you’re trying to stick with Microsoft products, OneNote provides a lot of similar functions.
A small scanner is the other thing that makes a huge difference. Scan your tax documents, receipts, important forms and any other pieces of paper that you want to keep, and you can either recycle them or put them in a file somewhere out of the way. The Doxie Go is a popular option, as it provides quick scanning and a small footprint. Brother makes a similar device that’s slightly less expensive, but doesn’t have quite the same reputation.
Learn a New Language
Both “learn something new” and “travel more” are on Nielsen’s list, and people making both of those resolutions could benefit from learning a new language. Duolingo is one of the best apps out there for helping you learn a new language using fun games and activities to teach you. You can use it on your computer, phone or tablet, and it’s completely free. If you want to learn Spanish, Franklin’s Masetro is a great tool – it packs 12 language-learning books into a small device, lets you search a Spanish-English dictionary and includes activities for improving your vocabulary, all for just $16.
Of course, getting and staying fit is always one of the top resolutions—last year, 37% of people set it as their goal. But starting an exercise or diet program isn’t easy, and aspiring fitness enthusiasts can use all the help they can get, whether it’s in the form of education, motivation or accountability.
One of the hot devices of the past couple years has been the FitBit, and the Charge HR is set to be one of the better models as it provides heart-rate tracking, heart-rate zone training, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes and steps taken all on a small wrist-mounted display. It’s a fun, easy way to keep track of your fitness.
The Pivotal Living Band is another great option for getting in shape, and it’s extremely affordable. A mere $12 per year gets you a fitness band that tracks steps, calories burned, distance traveled and sleep duration and quality, as well as access to the Pivotal Living website. There’s also a very affordable smart scale available for $40.
Coming in third in the Nielsen survey, “enjoy life to the fullest” is a significant entry in the list of New Year’s resolutions. But what does it mean, really? How can you purposefully enjoy life more? One of the best ways to get more out of life is to focus on being grateful; Harvard states that “in positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.”
A gratitude journal can go a long way toward helping you focus on what you’re grateful for, and there are a lot of simple apps that will remind you to spend time jotting things down. Gratitude Journal is the big name in the business, and it couldn’t be simpler – you simply write down what you’re thankful for. It might not seem like much, but it could change your life.
Save More and Spend Less
Of course, one of the perennial favorites among resolution-makers is saving more and spending less. Among Nielsen respondents, a full quarter stated this as their resolution. We could all do with some better financial habits, and there are a lot of tools that can help you.
Budgeting is the cornerstone of good financial habits, and Mint is the big name in budget-making and monitoring. The free service helps you establish baseline budgets, monitor them, set goals and make progress toward them. The browser-based app is the best, but available mobile apps help you keep track on the go, too. Another way to save more is to invest, and the “invest your spare change” strategy is one of the effective ways to increase the amount you’re able to invest. Acorns invests your spare change for you, making the process much easier, and Betterment gives you an easy way to make small investments without having to manage a portfolio.
Make a Better Life on 2016
Everyone has their own goals and aspirations for the new year, and a single piece of technology won’t solve everyone’s problems. But by choosing the right apps, websites and devices, you can make a positive change in your life this year. Set a goal, figure out what you need to meet it, and get to it!