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January 4, 2013

App roundup: Great apps for your New Year’s resolutions

Happy New Year! Like many of you, I start off every year with a list of resolutions for the coming year. Although my intentions are always good, experience has taught me that as the months go by, those resolutions tend to fall by the wayside. This year, I’m looking to break that trend with the help of some apps from the Windows Store. Here are a few I particularly like.

Digital Health Scorecard

Start screen for Digital Health Scorecard

One of my resolutions is to improve my overall health, and the first step is getting a better understanding of where I currently stand. By entering some basic info into the Digital Health Scorecard, I see an overall health score. It’s a quick and easy way to help gauge my starting point, so I know exactly where I need to make improvements this year. (Here’s a helpful tip: you’ll get a much more accurate assessment if you know the numbers for your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.)

Livestrong Calorie Tracker

Daily calorie tracker in Livestrong Calorie Tracker

The second thing I plan to do to get healthier this year is make smarter choices in my diet and make sure I exercise on a regular basis. It’ll be as difficult to stay away from bacon as it will to find the time to get to the gym daily. But by tracking my meals and workouts in the Livestrong Calorie Tracker, I’ll be able to set goals, view my progress over the course of the year, and (hopefully) find the motivation to keep me on course and take better care of myself.

Khan Academy

Main menu for Khan Academy

I realized over the last couple of years that some of the basic knowledge I gained while in school has quietly left my brain and been replaced by useless movie quotes, song lyrics, and reality TV plot lines. This year, I resolve to spend less time consuming pop culture and more time focusing on regaining some of that lost knowledge. Although Khan Academy is geared more toward the K-12 crowd looking to perform better in school or prepping for a big test, I’ve found their library of videos to be insightful, easy-to-understand, and helpful in piquing my curiosity to learn again.

All About Money

Demo of All About Money

Although I’ve never been careless with my finances, I can’t seem to stick to a budget, either. I’ve tried the old school method of tracking finances in a checkbook, and then “upgraded” to keeping a spreadsheet, but nothing really worked. After using All About Money for a few days, I realized that the visual breakdown of my total expenses compared to income is kind of like playing a game. By making subtle changes to my spending habits, I’m able to make a positive impact on the graphic that compares income vs. expenses. And with a quick view into my top expense categories, it’s easy to see when I spend a little more than I should on my daily caffeine fix.

Tasks by Telerik

Main screen for Tasks

My final resolution is to get a little more organized this year. I’m already somewhat of a list maker when packing for trips or before I go to the grocery store, so using Tasks to keep track of my to-dos for work as well as my personal life is a natural progression. By categorizing tasks and assigning due dates and priorities to them, I’m able to quickly see what I need to tackle first, and can check it off when I’m done. Is there anything more satisfying then checking off an item from a to-do list?

So to recap, my resolutions for 2013 include getting healthier, eating better, keeping my mind sharp, sticking to a budget, and getting more organized. I’m sure each will have its challenges as the year progresses, but with the help of these apps, I just might achieve my personal goals for making this the best year ever!

Note: Some apps might not be available in all countries or regions.