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Living Digital

Love apps, technology, marketing, and innovation? Take a listen to Living Digital. Hosted by digital professional, Jazmin Butler.

Living Digital 017: New Year. New Apps.

Jazmin Butler

Need help staying on track with your New Year's Resolution? This episode highlights a few apps to help you reach your goals. You got this!

Forgot your headphones? No worries! Here's the transcript of this week's episode:

Alright! 2016. New Beginnings! The future is on everyone's mind...probably. We're not that far into the new year, so I'm sure a few people are still gung ho about their resolutions. Unless you're not the "new year, new me" type. But whether you're the resolution type or not, I think the apps mentioned on today's episode's are a step in the right direction for anyone trying to course correct or improve their quality of life.

So, according to a Nielsen poll ranking the most common resolutions, you guys want to be better with money, enjoy life to the fullest. And number one by a mile was of course lose...weight and get healthy.  Side note, the Quantified Self Movement was built for this. Quantified self refers to self tracking we do with technology. Some of you might be wearing some type of activity tracker as you listen to this. Fuel Band, Fitbit. The Apple Watch. 

I don't have one myself. I pretty much stick to my phone when it comes to quantified self. Some of my apps are absolutely an asset when comes to meeting personal goals. 

Which makes sense because according to a Pew Report, 46% of people that track their health end up changing their over all approach to their health. So, people are tracking, counting, and swiping  their way to their goals. 

So let's get to these apps:

In the past, I've had goals to reach my peak physical form. Well, not just in the past. But, this is the most common and capitalized on resolution out there. And the same way sales go up for sneakers and juicers, downloads skyrocket for fitness apps like Lose It and MyfitnessPal. And while those apps aren't new, they have staying power for a reason. 

Screen shot from the MySymptoms app

I first heard about Lose It around 2011. Someone I knew lost like, 30 pounds in 3 months. So, I was like ok, let me apply this to my goal. Which was gaining 10 lbs of muscle. And when it comes apps like this, the magic isn't necessarily in all of the cool functionality or data analysis. It literally just makes you pay attention to what you're doing. Because numbers don't lie. 

Catching correlations is one of the most valuable parts of all this. Like, how else would you realize you break in to hives every time you eat carrots in New Mexico on Tuesday's. Yeah, I know that was like a Mad Lib. But speaking of allergies, the hypochondriac in me really appreciates the MySymtoms app. I'm going to link to all these apps on livingdigital.me

But enough about food. Let's move on to the next resolution. Saving money. When was the last time I logged in to my Mint account. Well, there was just a lot going on. If you don't know, Mint is a money management tool that's lets you have all your bank accounts and investments in one place so you can track spending, make budgets, get bill reminders, create savings goals, track your credit score. It's just a lot. And I was so enthusiastic initially. I mean, it's depressing once you incorporate student loans and all that. But, you know, I had goals and I was organized. But then life happens. It wasn't seamlessly integrated into my life. 

Screenshot from the Sweep app

However, I did come across an app relevant to basic financial needs. It's called Sweep and their tagline is: Budget less. Save Money. Track bills. I like that. Right to the point. The differentiator is it forecasts your cashflow. That seems really useful, because at the end of the day we really just want to know what we can spend when. I want to try it out for a few months and see how I like it. 

I'll link to some other finance apps on the blog.

Alright, the final resolution: Living life to the fullest. The same way the body benefits from monitoring, your mind does as well. Mental self care can make all the difference. I heard a Ted Talk by Guy Winch about emotional hygiene. And what I took from it is getting to that new year new you might require tending to the psychological injuries from the previous year. Whether it derives from the loss of a loved one, a breakup, weight gain, job loss, or divorce. It's easier to say, "Oh, I'll just leave that in 2015", than actually doing it. So, before we get to June and forget what our resolutions were, I suggest trying out apps like Way of Life, MoodTrack, and Headspace. 

For those with the goal of becoming more optimistic or even navigating through trauma, I like the Moodtrack App. It creates easy to read graphs based on your own words, provides useful data, and guides you toward more mindful habits.

Screenshot from the Way of Life app

Another app that helps you spot trends is Way of Life. I heard about it on the Tim Ferris show.  It's simple "yes or no" functionality lets you track your habits. That simple. Did you meditate today? Yes. Sleep more than 7 hrs? Yes. Binge on social media?...Yes. Just like Moodtrack, you can see your habits laid out visually. Red and green tiles side by side. I like it because it's so simple to update. You're just like yes, yes, no, yes and move on. It's also like a game. How many green tiles can I get in a row? The human mind is interesting that way. 

And finally there's Headspace A beautiful well produced meditation app and self proclaimed "gym membership for your mind". Emphasis on membership. 

Just like a gym, they're motivated to get you to join. Headspace indoctrinates users with their Take Ten program. Fun Fact: Prior to putting out the app, the creator, Andy Puddicombe, was a Buddhist monk. Now, he's worth over 30 million dollars. 

Screenshots from the Headspace app

But yeah, for Take Ten there are ten 10 minute guided meditations for free within the app. Very relaxing. Andy is like the laid back British friend you didn't realize you had *Insert bad impression of Andy*. After you complete Take 10 you have the option to access more meditations (different lengths and topics) for...$12.00 a month. 

 And was like "What am I getting for that?" And personally, it's kind of vague. They say there's thousands of hours of meditation on various topics. But you know who else has that? YouTube. For. The. Free. 

And before I discovered this app I'd been listening to guided meditation podcasts. Again, for free. 

But that doesn't mean I won't try it out. For you know...research purposes. When I do, I'll let you know the overall impact. What I do like is that for every subscription purchased, the company donates a Headspace subscription to someone in need. 

What ever your goals are, don't give up. There's an entire industry built around helping you help yourself. 

What apps do you use to improve your quality of life?  Let me know on the Facebook page. Facebook.com/livingdigtalpodcast

Also, if you like the podcast I'd love if you could leave a review in iTunes or simply share an episode with someone you know! And as always, thanks for listening. (And reading) ;)


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