It's a new year. So full of promise, so full of possibilities. No wonder people make resolutions to change and improve during this time. But, of the 45 percent of Americans who pledge to Spend More Time with Family, Get Fit, or Quit Smoking (the 3 most common resolutions), only about 20 percent will actually accomplish their goal. A huge majority - 60 percent - will drop out within the first six months.
Why? Because if doing any of these things was as easy as simply standing up and declaring them out loud, "I am going to lose 30 pounds!" you'd already have lost the weight. But there is a ray of hope, and it's coming from your smartphone's display. We've found a helpful app for each of the top five resolutions.
The New Year Resolution that could very well save your life, and yet it's one of the hardest to stick with. The chances of success are greatly increased with communal support, incentive, and reward. Quitter is a free iPhone app that helps you get all three. With a few simple clicks, Quitter tracks how many days since your last cigarette and how much cash you've saved. You can create a gallery of inspirational photos to defeat cravings, and even celebrate milestones with your friends by posting directly from Quitter to Facebook or Twitter!
What if every time you went to the gym, you got paid for it? But every time you skipped the afterwork spin class, you lost money? It's a radical approach to incentivize people to exercise called GymPact. You download the app to your smartphone, make a "pact" to go to the gym a certain number of days (whatever you're comfortable with), and how much money you'll lose if you don't go to the gym. Then check in using your smartphone every time you work out. For every day you don't make an excuse and hit the treadmill or the weights or a yoga class, you get rewarded with a little change. When you don't go, your money is deducted and shared among those who showed the dedication to pump some iron. The more you go to the gym, the more money you make. Which will really come in handy when you need to buy a smaller pair of pants.
There are a ton of personal spending tracking apps. Some are free, some have a initial purchase price, and some have a monthly subscription. Some are connected to your bank account, and others are not. For our money, we like Mint. It's free, so it's already saving you money! Mint has an easy-to-use interface, automatically pulls your financial information into one place, and uses the same level of security as your bank. Mint lets you plan a budget, see your purchases in real time, alerts you of suspicious activity, and offers a breakdown of your spending by category to help you make smarter spending decisions.
If only there were a few extra hours in the day, or an extra day in the week, then I'd have the time to get organized. The trouble is, you'd probably just fill up that extra time with more stuff to do, rather than spend the time organizing the to-dos, reminders, and projects you already have. That's where LifeTopix can help, because it lets you capture to-do items along with events, notes, contacts, shopping and even media.
Now that you're smoke-free, in shape, and have extra time and money on your hands, you're ready to pack a bag and plan a dream vacation! Kayak's app has all the same great features as the website, but is optimized for mobile searching. TripIt lets you access reservations, create itineraries, save maps and directions, search alternate flights, and share all of this jet-setting info with your family or your entire social network. You can search for a home away from home with Airbnb. This mobile app lets you search through private residences listed by owners. There are pictures, prices, house rules, amenities, and user reviews. And the destinations range from Manhattan to Malaysia.
And if you're planning a trip to the Sarasota area, we've got the perfect app for you. We know, because we built it!
Happy New Year, and best of luck with your resolutions!