We survived the Mayan Apocalypse and the fiscal cliff. I couldn’t dream up a more optimistic way to kick off 2013. It’s an opportunity to hit the reset button, pondering goals for the next 12 months and determining the best way to maintain them. I find that starting small is the best way forward when it comes to life-altering resolutions, and mobile technology makes get them going. Your Android device is always by your side, acting as a second brain to track your behavior and keep you in check. Here’s some top notch Android apps to jumpstart 2013.
Looking for inspiration? Springpad’s got your back. This productivity app has published a series of resolution-ready notebooks for National Organization Month, appropriately honored in January. Whether you’re looking to get fit, save money, re-organize the kitchen or plan a road-trip to SXSW, Springpad’s featured notebooks compile everything you need, including checklists, to-do lists, timelines, recipes, workout images and videos, events, products and more. Springpad’s partnered with some well known celebrities and brands, like chef and Hollywood trainer Jesse Brune, to create these comprehensive notebooks. Accessible on your Android device, these notebooks serve as templates for you to use or customize, all designed specifically for New Year’s resolutions.
Grocery IQ (Free)
Congress may have reached an agreement at the 11th hour, but the threat of the fiscal cliff has put us all in the mindset to save. One of the easiest ways to put more money in your pocket is to cut spending, and that’s where coupons come in handy. Grocery IQ, an app from Coupons.com, offers local deals as well as an option to track loyalty cards at various retailers, saving time and money without the newspaper clippings. This useful Android app has the added benefit of crafting grocery lists as well. Create and customize as many as you like, with features for scanning products, attaching coupons, shopping by store aisle and more.
Mint.com Personal Finanace (Free)
While the Grocery IQ app is one specific way to save money, the Mint.com Personal Finance app will keep your broader financial goals on task. From this single app you can monitor and manage your bank, credit and investment accounts, set fiscal goals and watch your budget. Where you spend money is perhaps the most telling of our personal habits, and Mint.com provides detailed charts and graphs on how your habits affect your financial outcome. Curb your behavior with data, the most important asset we have in maintaining new year’s resolutions for an entire 12 months.
Nike Boom (Free) & Training Club (Free)
Designed for men and women respectively, the Nike Boom and Training Club apps offer a touch of personalization to your daily workouts. Each app features narrated routines, interjecting bursts of motivation with inspiring phrases from professional athletes (like American soccer player Alex Morgan) and trainers you pick. You can sync your favorite upbeat playlist with the app to keep energy levels pumping, while the app takes you through warm ups and routines. These apps are social, so you can update Facebook with milestones and even get encouragement from friends. Being a free app from Nike, there’s also a section featuring new fitness products.
Need more thrilling motivation? Try the Zombies, Run! training app and find your nearest 5k fright.
Real Simple No Time To Cook? ($4.99)
Since you’re saving all this money at the grocery store, keep the savings rolling by cooking in more often. It can be time consuming, but Real Simple’s pared down the process for you busy bees. The Android app comes with 850 dinner recipes that take 40 minutes or less to prepare. But what makes this a true Real Simple app is the bevy of tools that help you accomplish the 40-minute mad dash to the dinner table. There’s interactive grocery lists, how-to videos, step-by-step instructions and kitchen timers to help you manage it all. Another app for quick dinner inspiration is Jamie Oliver’s 20 Minute Meals app.
efergy engage (Free)
In the spirit of frugality, many of you will want to downsize utility bills through the winter. Engage can help, with the efergy system that provides real-time data on your home energy consumption. The system comes with a hub that stays in your house, monitoring and updating you on how efficient your energy use really is. The app lets you access the home hub wherever you are, and comes with a few widget options for quick access. What’s great about efergy is that it reports your energy usage according to your monthly budget, with projections as to when you’ll go over your budget. It’s also good to note that you can test the efergy app without the hub before making that additional purchase. Based in Europe, efergy’s US product options can be found here.
Another home energy monitoring app is Nest, which lets you control your thermostat remotely with your Android device.
Most of us would like to do more for our global communities, especially after holiday time disasters like Superstorm Sandy. Sadly, it’s such tragedies that drive us to action. With the SeeClickFix app, you can become a more engaged citizen right in your own neighborhood, reporting non-emergencies as easily as you post to Instagram. If you see something that needs to be fixed, like a pothole or broken streetlight, you can post a note to the SeeClickFix app and follow its progress. Integrated with Open311, SeeClickFix has teamed up with dozens of local governments across the nation for citizen reporting. Other users can add notes, and resolved issues can be marked as complete.
Another easy way to give back is with Instead, a micro-donation app that lets you sacrifice the cost of a cafe coffee or other consumer-driven actions for a good cause.