While there's still a place for paper journals, the ever-improving capabilities of smartphones and connected devices to help with your New Year's Resolutions are hard to ignore. If your stocking was filled with gift cards or a new gadget, now is the perfect time to add some powerful tools to your digital arsenal.
We've put together a list of some of our favorite habit-breaking or habit-making apps + websites to get you started on the journey to success this year with any kind of personal improvement goals, from exercise to weight loss and more.
Stickk.com Uses 'Commitment Contracts' for Goal Incentives
When it comes to motivation, many of us find that congratulatory app banners or reminder notifications don't quite cut it. Stickk takes a more unique approach to hitting goals by giving the option to cost you real money if you don't reach your goal. This "Commitment Contract" concept is based on the idea that people don't always do what they claim they want to do and incentives get people to do things.
This app was developed by a couple of Yale University economists (one who used this approach for their own weight loss), and it incorporates group motivation by also allowing others to monitor your progress as a referee or cheer you on.
It may sound a little intense, but perhaps it's the perfect approach for the more stubborn of us!
Stickk Website | iOS app | Android app
Strides - Highly-Rated Goal and Habit Tracking
(Free Version Available, Paid Options, iOS)
Strides is a 5-star goal & habit tracker + life organizer app that has been featured in the NY Times, Forbes and more. It is beautifully designed and great for those who benefit from a more visual experience in tracking and chart progress displaying. Beyond its surface-level shine, Strides puts a twist on goals and habits and helps you track them more than just plan them, the focus of many similar apps. Tracking is where it really shines and the app developers understand that different types of goals need unique types of tracking systems, and the app offers several templates such as weight, exercise, sleep, reading, etc. that are better customized to the specific habit you are trying to achieve.
Strides is iOS-only but has apps available for the iPhone, Watch and iPad.
Strides Website | iOS app
For Android users, "Resolutions" is another free, popular goal-setting and tracking app. You can download it at the Google Play store here.
Learn a New Language with Duolingo
Duolingo is an incredible app that helps you quickly learn a new language using short "games" that can be played in just a few minutes throughout the day. It's one of our favorite apps in this list, in fact. Learning a new language tends to initially be high up on many people's resolution lists, but when the time comes to signup for that class or buy software, they change their mind once they see the major investment of time or money. Duolingo solves all that.
The great thing about Duolingo is that it's easy, free, and simply requires a device with the app and a just few minutes to spare.
Visit the Duolingo website | iOS app | Android app | Windows Phone app
Declutter and Save Some Money Using Online Marketplaces
Aside from a broad "out with the old, in with the new" mindset this time of year, many people are trying to declutter their lives and save more money over the year before (especially when the Christmas credit card bills start rolling in!). New online marketplace apps like Poshmark make it easy to get rid of old fashion items that have been collecting dust in your closet with a few simple clicks of your phone.
Alternately, if you're looking to get a new look for 2017, you can find popular brands like Tory Burch, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and more at a fraction of the cost buying used from the trusted source. The app makes it easy to browse by different categories, sizes, conditions and prices to find exactly what you're looking for.
Learn more and signup for Poshmark here.
Facebook Marketplace/Selling Group
If you use Facebook, chances are you've already seen this relatively new feature pop up in your app. This means if you have a Facebook account, you're all ready to go with their new sale groups. Think of them as regular groups on steroids, where you can list items for sale, mark items as sold and search for specific items to buy.
It's so easy you can go to your closet or garage and grab several items you want to get rid of, snap some photos, find a local sell group (or start your own) and often times have the cash in hand before the end of the day! Be sure to always use caution when dealing in online groups and use large, trusted groups, preferably ones that you have other friends that are also a member of.
Learn more here about these buying and selling groups on Facebook, then do some searches yourself and find ones that match your interest or are located in your area to get a jump on spring cleaning to start 2017!