Apps to hack 2020

Updated: Jan 05, 2020, 08:16 IST | Jaison Lewis | Mumbai

Research has shown that most New Year resolutions come undone by the end of January. Don't want to be part of that statistic? Here's some digital help.

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Goal: Reduce screen time

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With smartphones becoming such a big part of our life and entertainment, it is easy to end up spending the entire day in front of a screen. You can probably listen to a book, or some music or even get entertained with a nice podcast.

Get a screen time tracker: You may want to know how much time you spend on your screen to figure out if you have a problem. While some phone companies have started including phone usage trackers into their phones, most do not. The AntiSocial app tracks your screen usage and lets you set schedules and even block apps to prevent you from using them.

Or listen to books: If you plan to read more and don't want to carry books around, a Kindle is a great replacement. Though technically a screen, it uses e-ink technology, which offers better contrast and high resolution that is perfect for reading.

Alternatively, you can go the audiobook route and check out Amazon's Audible.

Podcasts: Podcasts are a great way to get entertained without any screen. However, most famous podcasts largely speak to a foreign audience. To start listening to
some entertaining India-related audio content, get the IVM Podcasts app.

Goal: Health

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Get a fitness band: It may seem like a silly thing, but a fitness tracker can help you track sleep and workout patterns, building an overall profile of your fitness over time. Be sure to get a tracker that monitors sleep patterns and heart rate. Invest in an Apple watch if the budget permits, else an Honor Band 5 or a Mi Band 4 are great low-cost options.

Track your food: Part of being healthy is knowing what you have put in your body. Calorie Counter by www.myfitnesspal.com is very good at this, with a huge list of ingredients and foods. With its array of Indian dishes, you can keep track of how much you consume.

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Exercise: You don't need to go to the gym to exercise. Instead, visit www.fitnessblender.com. The site has hundreds of free full-length workout videos that you can use in the gym or at home. It is a great way to get into shape. If you want to run instead of exercising, try Nike+ Run Club app, it has audio coaching and you can share your runs and pictures on social media.

Meditate: Meditating is a great way to relax and the mindfulness app is a great way to achieve that with timed meditation and relaxation guides.

Goal: Quit Addiction

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Quit Smoking: Smoking can be a powerful addiction and it can be difficult to quit on your own. Apps like QuitGuide and Stop Smoking (let you track cravings, moods and triggers. It allows you to monitor your progress in real-time and gamify your approach to quitting cigarettes.

Quit alcohol: Some of us are prone to excessive alcohol consumption and the day break app can help. It is an app for people trying to cut back or just give up on alcohol. It provides a community of people to help you whenever a trigger occurs or you feel like you are giving in to temptation. The app does not force you to go cold turkey but helps you monitor and limit your consumption.

Goal: Save Money

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Track Expenses: Managing money need not take a lot of time and effort, the little things count here. Walnut: Money Manager (www.getwalnut.com) tracks your expenses and accounts to give you a visualisation of your spending habits. This can help you see where you are spending unnecessarily. In addition, you can pay off your credit card directly from the application and it gives you reminders when bills are due.

Goal: Form a New Habit

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Most resolutions are about forming new habits and this can be tough to do. Fortunately, apps like Habitica (bit.ly/smdhabatica) let you gamify your habits turning it into a videogame where your character levels up every time they hit a goal. If that doesn't work, try stickK (bit.ly/smdstickk); it encourages you to put your money where your mouth is. stickK gets you to pledge a certain amount of money with a contract in the app. If you fail, your money can go to friends, or a charity or an anti-charity—whatever motivates you most.

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