The App Driven Life : Helping You Stick To Your New Years Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions are so ridiculously ineffective, it’s a wonder why we even keep up this futile tradition year after year. 

According to, in America, virtually the same resolutions are popular every year. And according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, just 8 percent of Americans actually achieve their resolutions by year’s end. 

However, technology has made it a cinch to perform feats that would have been impossible years before. Why shouldn’t it aid us in keeping our resolutions, too?

For any given resolution, there are a slew of desktop and mobile apps that can support you in reaching your goals. Here are a few to get you started. 

I Resolve To … Exercise More

If you’ve been keeping up with ReadWrite Editor-in-Chief Owen Thomas’s ReadWriteBody series, you already know of some great apps for monitoring physical fitness. If you need more to motivate you, then heed his advice: Look for apps with additional incentives to keep you on track.

Pact (iOS/Android) offers financial motivation. The app, formerly known, as GymPact, charges you a fee for missing your workout, and gives you a payout if you do make it (paid for by non-exercising app-users). It just started offering new pacts for logging your food and eating fruits and vegetables, with a similar fee structure.

If routines bore you, you can switch it up with customized workouts. Gain Fitness (iOS) offers interactive, customizable workouts crafted by personal trainers, so users can find routines tailored to their fitness level, schedule and goals. With FitStar (iOS), you can wake up each morning to a new body-lifting workout—no weights or other equipment required. 

For some healthy competition, look to apps like Strava (iOS/Android), a GPS tracker that lets you compete against your fastest time on a given bike or running path—or compare your speed with others. And MapMyFitness (iOS/Android) will alert you whenever friends are working out to inspire you to hit the gym. 

I Resolve To … Eat Healthy

Owen has long relied on MyFitnessPal (iOS/Android), an app with a calorie-counter diary so you can log everything you eat and track what you’re actually consuming. Recently he discovered that the app, which already helped him lose 83 pounds, could also work as a meal planner. So if you know you’ll order dessert at the dinner tonight, you can work the rest of your meals that day around it. 

Want to cut certain foods, like alcohol, sodium or allergy/heartburn triggers?Substitutions (iOS) is a 99-cent app that lists easy-to-find alternatives to these ingredients, so you can cook your favorite recipes and still eat better. 

Trying to avoid GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) in your food this year?True Food (iOS/Android), the Center for Food Safety’s official app, can identify foods with GMOs right in the grocery aisles. 

If you’re resolving to eat locally this year, apps such as Locavore (iOS/Android) make it simple to find farmers’ markets and farms that provide in-season food near you. 

Thanks to mobile devices, you always have the ability to help people—whether yourself or others—in hand at all times. With that, 2014 could be the year with the best chance of seeing resolutions culminate in a rare feat: actually resolving. And that would make for a happy new year, indeed.

Lauren Orsini  January 01, 2014

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“Do it” image by Flickr user VicFitness image by Flickr user Fitness at Dublin City University. Vegetables image by Flicr user Charles Haynes

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