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TMCNet:  Make your smartphone your new year's resolution buddy

[January 03, 2013]

Make your smartphone your new year's resolution buddy

Jan 03, 2013 (Fort Worth Star-Telegram - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Whoever said "the hardest part of doing something is taking the first step" obviously never made a New Year's resolution. You start out with the best intentions, but then somewhere down the line, your resolve usually fizzles out before the goal is attained.
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That's why this year, we suggest taking your resolution to the next level, with several mobile apps that specialize in helping you achieve your personal goals. With a whole lot of willpower and a smartphone, this can be the year you finally finish what you started.

Burn baby burn The resolution: To lose those pesky pounds that have been plaguing you.

The app: LIVESTRONG MyPlate Calorie Tracker, $2.99, available for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.

What it does: LIVESTRONG's MyPlate Calorie Tracker is a mobile food journal that makes it easy to track the food you eat wherever you go. Using a daily calorie target that is based on your weight and weight goal, the simple-to-use app helps individuals make healthy choices thanks to a nutritional database of more than 1.3 million foods. And with an additional section for keeping track of calories burned from various exercises, users will be on their way to their to reaching their goal weight in no time.

Quit the stick The resolution: To quit smoking.

The app: My Last Cigarette, 99 cents, available for iPhone.

What it does: My Last Cigarette uses daily, motivational readouts that encourage kicking the habit. With stats like money saved and increase in life expectancy since you quit, this easy-to-use app makes quitting smoking seem not so daunting.

It ain't easy being green The resolution: To make a better effort at living an eco-friendly lifestyle.

The app: Green Genie, free, available for iPhone.

What it does: The Green Genie gives users more than 100 easy eco-friendly projects to incorporate into daily life. It also translates green terminology with the help of a glossary of terms. The app lets you track the effects of your new efforts with a carbon footprint calculator. Another section of the app tracks how much money you've saved.

Taking care of business The resolution: To organize your life.

The app: Wunderlist 2, free, available for iPhone and Android.

What it does: Wunderlist 2 helps you say goodbye to the days of missed appointments and forgotten grocery items. Users can create and manage multiple lists all in one place. Wunderlist 2 also lets you share your lists with other people (perfect for those times when you send someone to pick up groceries for you). Notifications and reminders keep you on top of your daily tasks, and the app's subtasks help users break down larger projects so they don't feel so overwhelmed.

Hey, big spender The resolution: To start shopping smarter and saving money.

The app: Toshl Finance, free, available for iPhone and Android.

What it does: Using charts and stats, Toshl Finance helps users understand where their money is going and how they can make their paychecks last longer. You'll be able to track your spending and cut down on frivolous purchases. And should you find yourself traveling to another country, there's a currency exchange section that will help you continue to make smart purchases no matter where you go.

The gift of gab The resolution: To learn a new language.

The app: Babbel, free, available for iPhone and Android.

What it does: Babbel makes learning a new language feel like an attainable goal. It features up to 3,000 vocabulary words per language, and users can use the app's integrated voice recognition to practice pronunciations and progress at a faster rate.

The never-ending story The resolution: To finally finish that stack of books sitting on your bedside table.

The app: ReadMore, $2.99, available for iPhone.

What it does: Whether you're already a bookworm or you'd just like to be, ReadMore acts as your personal reading log. Not only does it let users track reading habits with stats like average read time or pages read per day, it also provides motivational feedback to get you closer to tackling whatever reading goal you set this year.

___ (c)2013 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Visit the Fort Worth Star-Telegram at www.star-telegram.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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