New Year’s resolutions get a lot of hype. Many people view the start of a new year as the perfect time to start a new challenge, whether that’s committing to learning a new language, picking up a new hobby or incorporating healthier habits into your routine.
The most popular New Year’s resolutions for 2024 are focused on improvements in three areas: physical fitness (48%), finance (38%) and mental health (36%), according to a survey by Forbes Health and OnePoll.
I’ve resisted setting New Year’s resolutions for the past few years. I found that I had given up or forgotten about them by mid-February, and when my initial efforts didn’t result in meeting my goals, the disappointment stung. And I’m not alone — that same Forbes study shows that only 13% of Americans’ New Year’s resolutions last four months or longer. Building long-term, sustainable habits, or turning a resolution from goal to reality, is hard.
That’s why we’ve compiled these apps and services that will help keep you on track. Whether you dove into a new resolution on Jan. 1 or are just starting now, these apps can help you manage your fitness, meet your financial goals and learn something new.
Mental health and physical fitness apps
Working on your physical and mental health are traditional New Year’s resolutions. This year, according to a new survey from YouGov, some popular health goals are exercising more (21%), eating healthier (20%) and losing weight (19%). In terms of mental health, “being happy” was the second most popular resolution (22%). These apps can help you create and (hopefully!) maintain your new health and fitness habits.
For beginners, the Nike Training Club app checks a lot of boxes. It’s free, with no subscription or equipment required. It has lessons in many different areas, including bodyweight exercises, high-intensity interval training, cross-training, yoga and core exercises. You can follow along with video demonstrations from Nike trainers. This app should have something for everyone, which is why CNET selected it as our best overall fitness app.
Strava is a great tool for helping you track your workouts. Strava is primarily built for runners, but it can also track your progress in cycling, hiking, yoga and other workouts. It turns your phone into a “detailed performance monitor,” especially when used with smartwatches, GPSs or other wearables. Strava also lets you connect with your friends, and you can choose to share your favorite running routes and personal records. Strava is available for free with more advanced features — route planning, training dashboards and goal setting — in the paid subscription, $80 annually.
Calm is one of the most popular meditation and mental health apps. It has hundreds of audio recordings, including guided meditations, breathing exercises, mindfulness practices and even bedtime stories. It also has many other resources available online for learning more about mental health. Calm offers an initial free trial and then is available for $15 a month.Journaling has been found to be a helpful tool for recording, recognizing and managing your emotions. Day One gives you a personal, private space for keeping a journal, travel log, gratitude diary and more. With this free app, you can customize your journal how you want, adding multimedia elements like photos and videos. It also has writing prompts and templates if you’re not quite sure where to begin.
Money and financial wellness apps
Saving money was the most popular New Year’s resolution for 2024, according to a new poll from YouGov. The poll showed 23% of Americans want to save more, with other financial-minded resolutions including paying down debts (13%), pursuing a career goal (11%) and getting a new job (9%). These apps can help you understand and manage your finances, like understanding where exactly your money is going, creating saving plans or beginning to invest.
PocketGuard is a good option for a free budgeting app. It connects your financial accounts and helps you build a budget based on your expenses and spending habits. PocketGuard can also help you plan and save by flagging recurring charges, like monthly subscriptions you may not need anymore. Its paid plans include more advanced features like debt management tools and the ability to set multiple saving goals.
Acorns is a micro-investing app. By syncing with your debit or credit card, it rounds up every purchase you make to the nearest dollar and invests the spare change. These kinds of small portfolios are one way to dip your toes into investing, especially if you don’t want to invest a lot of spare cash. Acorns is available for $1-3 per month.
You Need a Budget, or YNAB, received the highest score from CNET in its review of the best budgeting apps. Synced with your bank account, YNAB helps you monitor transactions, set saving goals, create a plan for your loans and track your net worth. Standout features include its ability to create multiple budgets and customize categories. YNAB is primarily a paid service, with a 34 day free trial and then $15 a month or $99 annually.
The start of a new year is a chance to carve out time in your life to pick up an old hobby, learn something new or dip your toes into a new interest. These apps can hopefully help you bring a little color and fun to the new year.
Known for its neon green, chaotic owl mascot, Duolingo is one of the most popular language learning apps. The app offers more than 40 languages and is constantly adding more. The lessons cover varying levels of conversation, vocabulary and grammar for effective, holistic learning. It’s a well-designed app that’s fast, fun and simple to use. While you can use it for free, you can access more advanced features for $13 a month.
If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to read more, Goodreads is a great tool to have in your back pocket. You can easily set up a free account and join its yearly reading challenge. All you have to do is set the number of books you want to read, and Goodreads will automatically track your progress as you mark books as “Read.” You can also use the platform to find new books, create custom shelves and connect with fellow readers, authors and librarians.
If you’re hoping to make your thumbs a bit greener, Plant Parent can help. This app can help you identify different kinds of plants, recommend care plans and even send you reminders when it’s time to water, fertilize or repot. And if your plant is starting to wilt or look funky, Plant Parent will also help you try to spot potential problems or diseases. Plant Parent is available for free, but for additional firepower and advice, you can upgrade to the premium plan for $30 annually.