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Garth Callaghan

Napkin Notes Dad





The Napkin Notes Blog

Five Apps and Websites to Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

WGarth Callaghan

At the start of every year, millions of people set goals for themselves in the new year. As the second week of 2012 is coming to a close, many are surely struggling to keep their resolutions. There are plenty of methods for sticking to your goals, such as trying to achieve them with a partner or imagining the benefits that will be gained, but there are now some more high-tech solutions. In this blog I will talk about some mobile apps and websites to help keep five of the most popular New Year's resolutions.

1) Lose Weight: After the double whammy of Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, people are not typically feeling their fittest. There are plenty of great diet apps out there, but the one that most people seem to like is Lose It! This exclamatorily titled app/website helps you keep track of the calories in all of your meals and the calories burned by exercise and lets you know how to budget your daily calories to reach your target weight. There are graphs which let you visualize your progress, and you can even connect with friends for personalized motivation. Since its creation, this app has become very popular and has helped many people learn the basics of what they need to do to lose weight.

2) Get a Job: Unemployment has become a very serious problem for many Americans. Websites like list jobs that employers specifically post to them, but what about the many companies who only list job openings on their own sites? pulls hundreds of thousands of jobs from companies' websites so they can all be found in one place and removes listings when the employers do. This is a much more efficient way of searching than checking a dozen different companies' website for new openings.

Another option for job-seekers is LunchMeet. LunchMeet is an interesting app which uses your LinkedIn profile and contacts (you DO have a LinkedIn profile, right?) to schedule a lunch meeting or a meeting over coffee with other professionals. This app provides a very innovative way of networking both from the point of view of someone looking for a job or contacts and someone looking for talent.

3) Track Personal Finances: I probably don't need to tell you that the economy is pretty rough right now, which is all the more reason to understand and keep track of your personal finances. Mint is a free website and app that safely collects all of your accounts and displays them in one place so that you can compare what you have spent with what you have saved. You can even see what categories of spending (food, entertainment, etc.) you're spending the most on so that you can determine how you should budget your money. With so many cool services and features, it's definitely worth checking out their site to learn more.

4) Quit Smoking: I've never been a smoker so I can't speak to how difficult it is to quit or how effective these two apps are, but based on reviews and articles that I've seen, they're definitely worth a shot if you're looking to quit. MyQuit Coach from Livestrong will help you ween yourself off of cigarettes or go cold-turkey, depending on which approach you choose. You can chart your progress to see how much you have improved (or not improved), earn badges for your progress, and even get support from your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

There is also another app that people seem to like called Quitter, which is a bit simpler than MyQuit Coach. Quitter keeps track of how long it has been since you last cigarette or anything else you're trying to quit (including, according to their website, Baconnaise) and the amount of money you are saving by not buying them.

5) Managing Time:
Sometimes your computer or the internet is just too interesting. You might be reading this blog now as a way of putting off more important tasks. Now, with services like RescueTime, you can keep track of what you're doing all day on your computer and analyze where you're getting distracted the most. You can also set a designated amount of time in which you need to focus, and RescueTime will block the sites that would be distracting to you. This list of distracting sites is generated automatically based on your behavior, but if errors are made you can always tweak the list. This is a great program if you ever sit down to get something done and you realize an hour has gone past and you've just been switching back and forth between Facebook and Twitter.

Even if you don't believe in making New Year's resolutions, these websites and apps can help you improve areas of your life to save you time and money thath could be better spent elsewhere. If you have made resolutions, there's no reason not to use any tool at your disposal. Good luck, and have a great 2012!