13 Apps That Destroy Bad Habits and Create Good Ones

Photo (cc) by Jason A. Howie

Bad habits — we all have them, and most of us want to change them. Until recently, sheer willpower has been the only way to learn to stop biting your nails, or to force yourself to start exercising.

But today’s technology can offer just the right push to help turn vices into virtues. Whatever bad habit you are trying to quit, there is probably an app for that.

If you have a smartphone and a desire to change, check out these 13 apps designed to build a better you by killing bad habits and creating good ones.

Quit smoking

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Smoking is one of the hardest habits to change. Stop Smoking (Android) and Smoke Free (iOS) both can keep you motivated.

These apps track things such as:

  • Number of cigarettes you have not smoked
  • Money you have saved
  • How many hours of life you have regained in improved health

For a more spiritual method, try Stop Smoking — Mindfulness Meditation App (iOS). It gives you a choice of voices and sounds, such as nature or rain, to help you stop cravings with a Zen-like approach.

Improve diet and nutrition

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Experts often suggest you keep a food diary when trying to fix your diet. But who wants to carry a notebook around to record the calories for everything you eat?

Instead, use your phone. My Fitness Pal (iOS, Android, Windows) lets you track everything you eat in a diary. It tells you how many calories you have eaten, and how many remain on your allowance for the day.

It also lists thousands of popular restaurant foods and remembers your favorites. So, it only takes a few seconds to check food before you eat it. After you have finished a meal, click on what you ate and record it.

Fooducate (iOS, Android) makes it even easier. Scan bar codes at your grocery store or pantry and get an instant grade on products based on calories, nutrition and additives. That information helps you pick the best alternative.

The rankings are personalized for any special conditions (such as pregnancy) or illnesses (such as diabetes) that you have.

Exercise better

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We all have to move our bodies, and these apps make exercise fun.

Zombies, Run! and Superhero Workout, (iOS, Android) are both developed by Six to Start. Their apps place you as the hero in stories that entertain while they help get you fit.

For example, Zombies casts you as a runner trying too help survivors in a post-apocalyptic town. It tracks you by GPS as you walk or run and interrupts your music with information about your mission.

It also offers updates about zombies on your tail. You actually hear them breathing down your neck at times, so speed up or get eaten! Complete your mission and collect equipment to save the village.

Superhero Workout gives you missions and seven-minute training/exercise moves. Motion tracking with the camera on your phone chronicles how well you’re doing, while a Jude Law-esque voice gives you encouragement and direction in your fight to save the world from the threat of invasion.

End procrastination

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Procrastination boils down to an inability to self-regulate. That makes it harder to set priorities, break jobs down into easy pieces, ignore distractions and basically get anything done.

Pomodroido (Android) is based on a time management technique in which you work hard and uninterrupted for 25 minutes, and then take a break. This app provides a timer that keeps you on track, telling you how long until your next break.

Yelling Mom (iOS) reminds you of your first and best motivator: Mom. This app doesn’t actually yell at you, but it does set off alarms to remind you to get back on task.

Become more positive

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Nobody likes a Negative Nelly. Stop Negativity (Android) helps you record the feelings –whether positive or negative — that arise in everyday life. Then, it helps analyze those feelings and provides reminders to stay positive.

Happiness Wizard (iOS) works under the conviction that happiness is a state of mind that depends on your choices, thoughts and actions. To be happier, you simply need to consciously adjust your perspective. This app helps you focus on the positive and become more self-aware.

Limit your use of technology

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Sometimes, the app itself is the bad habit.

AppDetox (Android) and Social Network Limiter (iOS,) help you cut back your usage of “guilty pleasure” apps. After all, how many times do you really need to see that cute kitten sneezing video on Facebook?

You set the terms, from subtle reminders to stop surfing, to outright blocking of an app during specific times of the day (or certain days of the week). For those trying to go completely cold turkey, you can forbid access “forever.”

Do you have any favorite apps that didn’t make the list? Share your thoughts in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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