In the Pursuit of Appiness: Helpful Apps to Improve Your Life
Lose weight, get fit… get to work on time (ahem). We ALL have room for improvement in one category or another. This app round-up includes some of my favorite apps and websites for life improvement.
App to Get in Shape
GymPact’s motto is “incentivize your exercise” and they do it with something near and dear to all of us: cash. Make your “pact” by spelling out how many days you plan to hit the gym and how much you’re willing to pay for each day you skip. You prove to the app that you actually went to the gym by checking in with your SmartPhone.
If you don’t check in, you pay. Then, every week, the money paid by users who didn’t get to the gym goes to the users who kept their promise to get in shape. This generally averages out to about 50-75 cents per workout you manage to do. Not a huge windfall, but over time it adds up. Plus, the incentive is powerful…would you want to give your money to the people making you look bad?
You can edit your pact each week, so you won’t be locked into a month of 6 a.m. visits to the weight room.
App to Help You Wake Up on Time
The Shame Alarm is an app that starts a timer at your designated wake-up time. You have 15 seconds to disable it before the app posts a message to Facebook and Twitter about your inability to rise. The default message is the somewhat silly, “I’m a contemptible person, unable to even wake up on time. I deserve not your friendship, but scorn!”
The message is customizable, though, so we recommend going with something really juicy. For instance, “I ate the entire pint of Rocky Road and blamed it on my little cousin.” Shame is a powerful motivator, even for those who love to grab those extra minutes of sleep!
Shame Alarm, $.99
App to Break an Addiction
That whole “I’m never eating chocolate again!” or “I’m going to run eight miles every week!” thing usually lends itself to disappointment. Instead, Anti-resolution breaks down five major resolutions (quit smoking, lose weight, manage stress, save money and make more family time) into daily reminders of incremental steps you can make toward that goal.
For example, if your goal is to lose weight, suggested “small actions” include eating one green vegetable every day or making a workout playlist. Each time you complete the tiny task they send your way, you publish it to Facebook or Twitter. Shame? More like positive reinforcement.
App to Help You Keep Your Appointments
Are you the flake? You know, that friend who says she’ll be at Coffee Bean at 3 p.m. and rolls in around 3:30 or texts at 3:05 with the standard bailout message that she can’t make it after all? Don’t be the flake. Instead, use Get Upp, an app where you input the time and place you need to be (gym visits are popular), then let your friends vote via Facebook on whether or not you’ll actually keep it.
If most of them think you won’t pull it off, you’ll be fired up to prove them wrong; if most of them think you’ll succeed, you’d better prove them right. Plus, the more people who know about your commitment, the more who will ask you, badger you, peer pressure you to follow through. You check in at the specified time via your SmartPhone and the app publishes your success to the world.
Get Upp, Free
App to Help You Save Money
StickK was developed by Yale University economists who tested the idea of “commitment contracts”—that is, an agreement with someone else that binds you to meeting a personal goal. You pledge money that you’ll reach that goal, and if you don’t reach it, that money goes to a designated friend, charity or anti-charity (a charity you hate.)
You choose a “referee” who you permit to check into your account via a related link to monitor your progress. You can also appoint other members of the Stickk community to support you with encouraging messages and posts, too. Currently, StickK users have over $10 million on the line! (And have completed over 300,000 workouts and not smoked over 2 million cigarettes.)