The move from 2020 to 2021 might be the biggest in recent memory, and there’s never been a better time to get things in order. Things like your health, your habits, and your goals. But that “perspective” tends to go away after a week or two. If you want your resolutions to stick, you’ll need help from some of these positive, goal-oriented products and apps.
Stay On Top of Responsibilities: Google Calendar
It’s hard to keep up with goals and responsibilities, especially when you’re always flying by the seat of your pants. A good calendar or planner can help straighten out your time and give you the confidence to achieve short and long-term goals.
We like Google Calendar because it’s free, easy to use, and available on all platforms. It sends notifications to remind you of your plans, and it integrates well with apps like Gmail, Google Fit, and Slack. It even works with smarthome products—you can view and control your calendar from a Google Nest Hub, or automate smarthome events with Google Calendar and IFTTT.
If digital calendars aren’t your thing, then consider buying a paper planner instead. They don’t cost much, they come in all shapes and sizes, and they can help you manage your time without getting overwhelmed.
Work Out and Track Your Health: FitBit
There are a ton of fitness bands on the market, but nothing beats the Fitbit. It’s the premier health and fitness tool, whether you’re hitting the gym, taking leisurely strolls, or taking a dip in the pool (every model of the Fitbit is swim-proof, minus the child-sized Fitbit Ace). Most Fitbits can even monitor your heart rate, and the device’s sleep-monitoring features can help improve your bedtime routine.
With the Fitbit’s robust, ever-growing app, it’s a no-brainer. Again, there are other options out there. Even the Apple Watch makes for a mean Fitness tracker. But a good Fitbit, like the affordable Inspire 2 or the smartwatch-styled Versa 3, has so many features and is incredibly easy to use. They’re just what you need to start coming down on those health and fitness goals.
Quit Smoking: QuitNow!
Cigarettes are a tough habit to quit. Withdrawals are hell, and the routine-change that comes with quitting can take months (or sometimes years) to get used to. But stop-smoking apps can make things a little easier to deal with. If anything, they give you a sense of perspective. They count the days that you’ve gone smoke-free, and they usually let you know how much money you’ve saved since you stopped smoking.
If you’re trying to quit smoking in 2020, then consider trying the QuitNow app. It’s a lot more fleshed out than other stop-smoking apps, with its built-in achievements, health meters, and optional “community” feature.
Editor’s Note: I smoked for 15 years, and I quit ten years ago. The best piece of quitting advice was given to me by my then-boss. He told me that when you have a craving, you have two choices: you can smoke to make the craving go away, or you can wait about 60 seconds, and the craving will go away. And he was right. That helped me through those tough cravings more than anything else. I hope it helps you, too.
Track Nutrition: MyPlate
The New Year is a great time to start eating healthy. But what does that mean, eating healthy? The answer is different for everybody, and it can be tough to figure out what your body needs.
That’s why the MyPlate app exists. It’s a nutrition app that plays the long game. When you first use MyPlate, it asks for some basic lifestyle information (height, weight, activity, etc.) and asks for some of your nutrition goals (losing or gaining weight, getting fit, staying hydrated, etc.).
Then, it sets some basic goals and asks you to track what you eat. You don’t have to read food labels or anything—MyPlate has a database of nutritional info, and you can even specify the quantity of food you’ve eaten (half a banana, for example). Over time, the app gets better at suggesting a diet for your needs, and it gives you the opportunity to observe and learn how to eat right for your body. You can also integrate MyPlate with some other apps, like Apple Health and Google Fit.
By the way, MyFitnessPal (iOS/Android) is a great alternative to MyPlate. It’s more fitness-oriented, and it plays nice with Fitbit, Samsung Health, Google Fit, Apple Health, and a variety of other fitness apps.
Reduce Your Screen Time: SPACE
According to a market study by Nielsen, the average American spends around 4 hours on their smartphone each day. That’s time that you could spend on your hobbies, your family, or your friends. And let’s be honest, all that time hunched over a phone is probably terrible for your posture.
SPACE is the go-to app for reducing your screen time and staying focused. It’s built with a mess of features, like an activity tracker, a phone-unlock counter, a notification blocker, and a daily goal system. All of these features are optional, of course, so you can tailor SPACE for your needs.
If you’re an Android user, we’re also big fans of Google’s Digital Wellbeing activity tracker. It’s simple and effective—the kind of tool that we love. It’s very similar to SPACE in what it does; the biggest difference is that it’s integrated directly into Android. It should be available on all modern Pixel phones and others running Android 10.
“Read” More: Audible and Wireless Earbuds
Reading isn’t always easy. It requires a lot of time and focus—two things that are in short supply these days. So if you’re trying to become a book worm in 2020, then consider adding Audible to the mix. It’s an affordable, reliable streaming service for audiobooks. While you might prefer to read out of an old-fashioned book, Audible makes it easy to read while you clean, cook, exercise, drive, or lounge around.
You know what makes Audible even better? A good pair of earbuds—wireless earbuds that won’t get you all uncomfortable and distracted while you listen to a classic novel or a spicy autobiography. Even the cheapest wireless ‘buds sport 4+ hours of battery life, and they’ll help turn you into an audiobook freak.
Achieve Goals and Build Habits: Way of Life
Habit trackers are severely underappreciated. They encourage you to take real, organized action, and they can be wonderful habit-building tools. Plus, habit trackers can be tailored toward any of your New Year’s resolutions, or even your life goals.
We like the Way of Life app because it keeps things simple. It’s not attached to some distracting mobile game or anything; it’s just a goal-oriented habit tracker with a built-in journal and a stats page. Since it’s an app, you don’t have to spend time writing out a list every morning, and you can observe how your habits have changed over time.
If the Way of Life habit tracker sounds a little over-complicated for your needs, then consider using a simple to-do list app instead. We’re particularly fond of Todoist (iOS/Android) and Google Keep (iOS/Android).