So many of us go into the New Year setting big resolutions – then watching with frustration as our drive and focus soon fizzles out.
But there is a better way to set yourself up for a New Year that goes in the direction you want – by choosing a balanced approach to moving forward, then using a support system to keep you energised and on track.
And nowadays you can build your own daily support team by using apps. Here are our five recommended steps, along with accompanying apps, to keep you seeing healthy progress long after resolutions fade.
5 Free Apps to Keep You Moving Forward In Life
1. Don’t Stop the Music – The Unstuck App
The best laid plans and even S.M.A.R.T goals are futile if inertia sets in, or if we trip up on our fears and doubts and can’t see a way to get back up. Sometimes we all need a bigger perspective that can help us get out of a rut.
The Unstuck app to the rescue. It touts itself as a ‘digital coach’, and really is just that. With wonderful graphics and an intuitive interface, it asks you just the right questions to allow you to clearly see what’s stopping you. It helps you see exactly what your problem is, who is involved, and how you really feel about it all.
It then offers you useful exercises you can do right away to give yourself a lightbulb moment that can move you forward.The downside is it is only available for iPads as a downloadable, otherwise it’s a web based app. But it is mobile friendly so still looks nice.
2. Work With Your Moods – Moodylytics, the “Smart Mood Tracker” App
Depression and low moods can kill anyone’s drive to do make life changes.
And the thing with moods is that we often don’t even realise we are in a bad one until a week has passed in a haze that saw us do nothing much.
Admitting to yourself what you are feeling gives you the ability to work on changing it (the old ‘you can’t change a problem until you know what it is’). Even better, mood monitoring can help you see patterns – such as if you get depressed every time you see a certain person.
Monitoring you moods can help you see if some moods are actually formed by choices you can change quite easily.
Moodyltics is a great app for monitoring your moods and it’s available in both an iPhone and Android version. You track your mood by selecting a matching emoticon either whenever you feel like it, or (more recommended) every time you are reminded by a timer that you set. Once you choose your emoticon you are asked why you feel that way from a menu that includes personal, family, friends, work, people or ‘other’. There is a spot to make further notes, too.
The best part for anyone visual is that once you’ve tracked enough of your moods it translates them into an array of infographics, from an index, a graph, and a pie chart, as well as making charts for things like ‘top moods’ and ‘mood history by week’.
And if you are working with a therapist, there is a download and print option so you can share your charts.
3. Gear Up With Gratitude – Gratitude 365 App
Gratitude is now scientifically proven to improve moods and even boost your immune system, both of which give you more energy to keep moving towards the life you truly want.
So it really does pay to spend a few minutes each day making a list of what you are thankful for.
Try Gratitude365 to keep you grateful, a simple app where you enter three things each day you are thankful for. You can then pull up all your recordings in one big list, useful on the days when you need a reminder of why life isn’t that bad after all.
Or, if you like a schnazzy graphic, try HappiJar, where you write what you are grateful for on a selection of designer ‘buttons’ you drop into your virtual jar, and can also collect things like quotes, pictures, and songs that make you feel good as well as share all your happy bits using social media.
4. Spot the Progress to Stay Inspired – Grid Diary App
The funny thing about moving forward in life is that often times, we are so focused on what we haven’t done and what hasn’t worked for us, is that we don’t even notice when we actually have moved forward or what is going right. That’s why it’s important to take time each day to not just be grateful, but to notice what we have accomplished and enjoyed.
Grid Diary is rather a genius tool for not just keeping track of what’s working but inspiring you to make the next day’s accomplishments even more in line with what will make you feel good.
Easy to use and nicely laid out, it’s like a structured and guided diary where you can you track anything you want to (achievements, habits, social interactions) and are also asked pertinent questions daily that keep you on track. You can design just what those questions will be, but Grid Dairy comes programmed with some amazing ones to choose from, such as:
- Did I help anyone today?
- Did I make progress compared to yesterday?
- What was the most touching thing I saw/heard/did?
- What is really not all that important in the bigger scheme of things?
- If time rewound what would I do today?
- How can I make tomorrow better?
Grid Diary is a great way to end your day, and might even help you sleep better when you realise that you did achieve something, even if it was just helping someone, and that you have an idea of what you want tomorrow to turn out like already.
5. Turn Desires Into Habits – Way of Life App
The brain is rather an ‘old faithful’ when it comes to habits and routines. This means no matter how much we do want something new in our life, whatever it is we already have as an entrenched habit is what we are ‘programmed’ to do. Hence coming home and flopping in front of the TV wins out over the gym even if there is never anything good on and we truly do want the mood lift exercise provides.
Psychologists are divided on how long it takes for our brain to make something we want into a habit by persistently repeating it. It is quoted as taking anywhere from 18 to 254 days, with the average person taking 66 days for an action to become a habit.
Way of Life to the rescue. Way of Life is an App that lets you track both positive and negative habits, so you can break the old one and start the new one at the same time (the free version lets your track three different habits at a time).
You track whether you did or didn’t perform an action each day, with a function that allows you to make notes so that you can also track what it is that blocks you. When you have enough results you can then see how you are performing in both a graph and a pie chart. Simple, but effective.
Don’t Overlook the Benefits of In-Person Support
It’s great that we live in a world where we can now have a support system on our mobile or iPad. But don’t forget that sometimes the best support of all is someone to talk to, whether that is a friend, a support group, a coach, or a professional counsellor trained in helping you set goals and moving forward.
Do you have an app you use that keeps you moving forward in life? Why not share it below?
Images by Takashi Hososhima, Frank Wuestefeld, BK, Celestine Chua