It’s that time of year again folks – new year, new calendar and renewed hope for self-improvement. I’m no expert, but I would venture to say that most people give up on their resolutions by mid-February, if not sooner. But do not fret dear Tech Girls and boys – there’s a free app for everything.
As anyone with a gym membership can attest to, the busiest month of the year at any gym is January. We all want to be healthier and some of us want to be skinnier or more muscular. This seems like a great idea in January, but pretty soon life happens and your gym membership becomes a vortex in which money goes in and guilt comes out the other side.
My Fitness Pal is an old app which has been around since smartphones became a thing, and its continued success is a testament to its efficacy. The app acts as a food and exercise journal, which has been proven to help you live a healthier lifestyle by making you more mindful. Its large database means that you can add a food item to your log and the app calculates the calories consumed (and other nutritional info) and as well as calories burned through activity for you. The database includes South African foods!
I personally lost 2kgs using this app and am eating way more vegetables then I used to. There is something about seeing how few vitamins and minerals I was consuming in black and white that really helped me lay off the McDonalds.
Learn Something New
We all want to become smarter, but the question is, how? If your new year’s resolution is vague about what you would like to learn, I am going to assume its improving your general knowledge. Because who doesn’t want to win a pub quiz every once in a while?
The best way to improve your general knowledge, according to me, the general knowledge scientist, is through crosswords. Crossword puzzle clues require a decent level of general knowledge and metacognition, particularly in regard to cryptic puzzles. The Shortyz crossword puzzle app downloads daily crosswords including puzzles from the USA Today and Los Angeles Times amongst others, as well as older New York Times puzzles. With Shortyz you will know useless facts like the site of Truman’s winter house in no time.
Ah, stress. The syphilis of our time. So rapidly spread, so destructive, so easily cured with a few simple steps. Meditation is basically mental penicillin, lowering stress hormones, rewiring brains so we’re less selfish and even easing symptoms associated with depression. However meditation is also intimidating and weird if it’s your first go at it. Headspace eases you into mediation with just ten minutes a day – making this one of the easier resolutions to stick to.
Most South African banks have great budget apps which you should look into to help you save money in 2016. For everyone else, there’s Toshl. Unlike budget apps provided by banks, Toshl requires to manually input your expenses. This may seem archaic to some but it works on the same principle as a food journal. By manually inputting your expenses, you are forced to mindful of every single purchase, and are reminded of how much money you have left in your main account visually. At the end of every month you are given a bubble chart summary of your expenses so you can see what you are most likely wasting money on at a glance.
Learn a New Language
If you want to learn a new language, look no further than Duolingo. Duolingo has gamified the learning experience, requiring minimal effort and making it more likely that you will stick with the programme. If you’re easily addicted to games then you will be speaking the language if your choice in no time at all. Language courses available on this app include most European languages, with Swahili, Hindi and even Klingon (eek!) on the horizon. I for one am planning to learn all the languages.
Please share some of your New Year’s Resolutions in the comments below! Planning to change the world in 2016? Tell us about it!