Ready to get started on your New Year's resolutions? The new year means a fresh slate, a time of reflection, and - for millions of Americans - resolutions that inevitably get broken. Don't resign yourself to failure! Whether you want to lose weight, live healthier, pay off debt or cut back on some vices, the following apps can help guide you along your chosen path and increase the odds that the "New You" sticks around long after New Year's has faded away. (As long as cutting down on smartphone use isn't one of your resolutions!)
Get your finances in order
Taking control of your debt can feel overwhelming. Both Debt Playoff Planner (Android; $0.99) and Debt Snowball Pro (iPhone, iPod touch and iPad; $2.99) can help. Each app provides you with a detailed plan of how to attack your debt efficiently using the well-known "Debt Snowball" method, which helps you prioritize debts and then apply the money saved from paid-off bills towards other outstanding bills. To keep you inspired, the apps will show you how much interest you've saved and your estimated "debt-free" date. The downside? These apps are not free.
Slowing it down, part one
If the "New You" wants to drink a bit less alcohol than the "Old You," then AlcoDroid (Android; free) is handy to have on your phone. The app is packed with features, but most crucially for resolution makers, it allows you to set a weekly drinking limit and then keeps tabs on how you're doing. AlcoDroid also tracks your daily and monthly drinking habits. One final feather in its cap: the software keeps a running tally of how much you've spent on booze to give you fiscal motivation to cut back.
If you do fall off the wagon, there's hangover help on your smartphone too. Hangover Cures (Android; free) is stocked with tons of home remedies, old wives' tales and concoction recipes that - supposedly - banish headaches and cotton mouth to the aether. As with any folk cures, your mileage may vary, of course. Another free app, Hangover Helper (Windows Phone 7) takes another tack. It taps into GPS to give you a street address and map for your current location and displays the photos you took the night before in reverse order so that you can trace your steps visually. The Hangover would have been awfully short if the guys had this app!
Slowing it down, part two
There's no two ways around it: quitting smoking is tough. QuitNow (Android; free) and Quitter (iPhone, iPod touch and iPad; free) keep your eyes on the prize by displaying your quit date, the total amount of money you've saved by not smoking, and how long it has been since your last butt. The more smoking-centric QuitNow also offers a bevy of other tobacco-free features - such as tips, facts and the total number of cigarettes you've passed on - while the customizable Quitter can track any habit you want to kick.
It may be named MyNetDiary Pro ($3.99) on Apple's App Store and Calorie Counter Pro ($3.99) on Android Market, but no matter what you call it, scads of users say this app is one of the best all-around weight loss tools out there. The app tracks your caloric and nutrient intake with the help of its massive food database and barcode scanner, includes over 500 activities and exercises that calculate calories burned based on your weight, and can even identify daily calorie targets depending on how much weight you want to lose and when you want to lose it by.
Dieters on a budget might want to check out Lose It!, a free calorie and nutrient tracker for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, or FitSync, a free Android app that shows and suggests workouts and tracks your daily reps and progress.
What is your New Year's resolution? Are you using an app to help keep it? What did we miss? Share your thoughts.