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7 free apps to help make 2017 your best year yet

If your New Year's Resolution was to spend less time as a screen zombie, gawping at your phone, this post is not for you. If you ideally would have liked to make a New Year's resolution to spend less time as a phone screen zombie, but decided that was all too much too soon, then this is the post for you, because this post will turn you from walking dead phone addict to a walking catwalker...(?) Ok, so I couldn't actually finish that with a nice punchline but you get the gist -

Imagine if your phone, rather than a place to lose hours scrolling through the instagram accounts of people who go on holiday more than you, actually made you happier, healthier, more productive? I don't know why I am saying this as if its a revelation, I mean we've all heard of my fitness pal. (If no, where have you been and scroll down to number fourth app mentioned below.)

But basically the premise of this post is, phones can be amazing little goal encouragers. They are with you and your eyes are clasped to them almost all the time, so they are the perfect thing to encourage you to meditate or read a poem or not eat a second slice of that red velvet cheesecake.

My main goal of 2017 is to stop being such a panic attacky, anxious, out of control woman, which is a harder battle to fight than one might think (bearing in mind everything I have a panic attack over is the most day to day and outlandishly ridiculous things and I know it). It will be a battle fought on several fronts, this corner of the internet being one of them. (Not that I will be drowning you all with posts on the panic attacks I have, but because as I allude to in my about page, I think blogging helps me to be grateful and mindful - both proven to help reduce anxiety -  and diverts my imagination from thinking of 472 ways my boyfriend could have been hurt or killed on his way home from work to what topping I should trial on waffles next).

Anyway, whether you are a cute but crazy but cute person, or just plain cute, some of these free apps I just think will make your life better. 

To help you be grateful:
I love that rather than just asking you to write a gratitude list each day, this app gets you to practice gratitude (proven to make you more content) in lots of different ways. There are of course gratitude lists, but some days the app will prompt you to see the positives in your problems, the meaning in your job, or take 15 minutes to savour something you really love. You can set it so it prompts you at a time you're most likely to fill it out (like on the tube home from work if you are me) or let it be smart and prompt you when it thinks you are most likely to do it based on your past behaviour.

To help you feel more calm and like you know what you are doing most of the time:
I tried and tested lots of productivity and prioritisation apps before I came to this one. It is super simple, and just as easy to do as writing a to do list in a notebook. What I love is I can give different items different due dates and get it to prompt me. So when I am having a day when I am feeling overwhelmed by all the things I need to do, I can put it all on Wunderlist (under the list and category of my choice) and select dates and times to remind me to do each one. Instant calm.

To help you stop pressing snooze:
There are a few of these apps out there, and this is the only one I've tried but it seems to work which at first I was in a bit of disbelief about! Lay your phone next to you as you sleep, say when you need to wake up, and SleepTime will monitor your sleep levels and wake you up by that time, but up to half an hour before. It chooses the time your sleep is at its lightest within a half an hour window, to make getting up on those dark cold January mornings a hell of a lot easier. That extra time saved from the snooz button suddenly revolutionises mornings from ones where you leave the house with wet hair and a bagel in your mouth, to ones where you enjoy a post meditation overnight bircher and hot lemon water. Or at the very least, makes you less likely to be late for work.

To help you lose weight and get healthier:
Ok, we all know this one, but if you have heard of it but haven't tried it you honestly should. It is the only thing I've ever used to effectively lose weight, and because it is just a cleverer calorie counter it doesn't make you feel you can't have or do anything. Also makes you exercise more as you can see yourself earning dem calories to eat (or drink) later.

To help you be happy and reach goals:
So maybe don't do as I do and download all of these, as you might feel overwhelmed by the number of notifications which pop up per day telling you to just be better at life, goddamit. Happiness Planner (by the people who created the hard copy and highly instagrammable actual Happiness Planner) and Remente both work in pretty similar ways, they both get you to look at your life, what is working well and lacking, where you want to be a few years from now, and then help you set goals accordingly. Remente takes these goals and breaks them down (if you choose a ready made one) or helps you break them down (if you make up your own) into bite size chunks to make them habits. Happiness Planner looks at more like one monthly goal, and has lots of nice quotes and daily reading. Currently Happiness Planner is only available with Apple, so for now I am Remente all the way as I am just not so good with my ipad, and rather than having an iphone like all the cool kids, I am the sole owner in the universe of a Sony Xperia.
Fabulous is a tad more militant, but I like it. There is no goal choosing with Fabulous (or not where I've got to anyway). They tell you how you will be fabulous, not vice versa. The challenges they set tend to be a little easier, for the first 3 days for instance, they just want you to have a glass of water when you get up, but it is the little things that add up to a lovely life, or at very least, a happier and productive 2017.

Plus a couple to pay for but that are worth it:
Audible - £7.99 per month (one month = one audiobook), but your first one is free to trial
I've mentioned audible before and I am now mentioning it again, but I do have a new spin, and another reason to get this app. Previously when I wrote about audible, I talked about how great it is for standing on a packed tube on your way to work and still feeling like you've still relaxed and achieved something. But I missed proper print books, and I also got crafty with the tubes I got to maximise my chances of a seat. Nonetheless, against my bank balances advice, I kept audible. I love it for: self help books. Hard to read and get through, and slightly embarrassing (I think, but I am not brave) to read in public, audible is great for getting to actually finish them. The advice also almost feels more powerful having someone else read it to you. I also love it for listening to lovely stories whilst crafting, or drawing or cooking. 

Headspace - £4.99 per month, if you are committing to a year, but you can trial it for 10 meditations for free.
I've tried other meditation apps, but I still think this is worth the higher price tag. The recordings aren't computerised or repetitive, but it seems like (and could be true) Andy has sat down and recorded each one individually. And there are hundreds of them, to meditate you through lots of different bumps in the road and areas for development in 10, 15 or 20 minute bite sized chunks.

Get that app/play store geared up! And happy Sunday funday.

PS. If old school paper is more your thing - 5 books to breathe life into your forgotten New Year's Resolutions

Copyrights: Photo from pinterest, because I wish I had a UNICORN CAT phone case, but alas no.


  1. Great list of recommendations. I've recently come to audible and it is really soothing to have a book to listen to on the commute through London. Much better than listening to the tinny sound of someone else's headphones pumping terrible music!

    1. Definitely! I like that however much you are packed in to a tube carriage like a sardine, you can still stand there with your headphones in listening to something wonderful, and feeling like your commute is not just hours of your life wasted!

  2. a great list.. thanks for sharing