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Whatever happened in 2022, 2023 is another opportunity for us to make the next year even better than the one before. We set New Year’s resolutions with the best of intentions, but it’s no wonder that so many people fail after just a few weeks – old habits die hard. Just as it’s important to have a supportive group of people cheering you on during those particularly hard days, it’s also important to have tools that make it easier to achieve your goals. Whether you’re trying to get healthy, be more organized or read more, there are tech tools that can make your journey a bit easier (and maybe even more enjoyable).
If you’re attempting to turn over a new, healthy leaf this year, you’re not alone. Fitness trackers (and their) companion apps) are highly sought after this time of year because they can help you stick to those new movement, hydration and sleep habits you’re trying to build. Fitbit’s Inspire 3 is an all-around good option, not only because it’s relatively affordable at $100, but because it does pretty much everything a beginner would need a fitness tracker to do. It tracks daily steps, calories, heart rate, sleep and more, and it comes with 20 goal-based exercises that you can manually track or let the device’s automatic SmartTrack feature monitor for you. It has a 10-day battery life so you don’t have to take it off often to charge.
If you’re already a runner or a cyclist (or want to be one), we recommend upgrading to the Fitbit Charge 5 instead. You’ll get all of the features that the Inspire 3 has along with onboard GPS for mapping outdoor workouts and Fitbit Pay for contactless payments. That way you’ll be able to go for a run in the morning and stop to grab a coffee without bringing your phone or your wallet with you.
If you’d rather invest in an all-purpose wearable that also has serious fitness chops, the Apple Watch SEThis is a great choice. While it doesn’t include all of the bells and whistles that the pricier Series 8It still offers the same core experience and features as any Apple Watch. It tracks all-day activity as well as heart rate and watchOS now provides basic sleep tracking. It supports fall detection, high and low heart rates notifications, and has built-in GPS to track outdoor workouts. It’s also quite good at automatically recognizing when you’re working out and prompting you to start tracking your efforts. On top of all that, the Apple Watch excels over basic fitness trackers when it comes to table-stakes smartwatch features: You’ll be able to send and receive text messages from the device, as well as control music playback, smart home devices and more.
Classes for working out
Finding exercise classes that you enjoy can make working out a habit you’re more likely to stick with for the long haul. You may prefer to do this through your local gym — that push to get out of the house and into a dedicated exercise space can be really effective for some — but there are plenty of on-demand fitness classes as well that you can participate in from the comfort of your living room.
I’ve tried my fair share of these services and my favorite has been Peloton. No, you don’t need one of the company’s expensive bikes or treadmills to take advantage of their classes. Access to the app version of the subscription is $13 per month. This allows you to take HIIT and strength classes as well as outdoor running classes. If Peloton isn’t your speed, Apple Fitness+This is a great alternative, especially since anyone with an iPhone can subscribe to classes, regardless of whether or not they have an Apple Watch. Alo MovesAnother option for those who like yoga and pilates is the Pilates Studio.
If you can’t afford another monthly subscription fee, the internet has tons of free exercise resources — you just have to work a little harder to find the ones you jive with most. I highly recommend it. Fitness BlenderA free website that lets you watch hundreds of videos and create a schedule, assigning videos to days of the week. I like the qualityAnd consistency of their videos, but you may connect more to YouTube workout videos if they’re taught by instructors you like; Heather Robertson and Move with NicoleThese are my personal favorites.
At least in the beginning, keeping track of new habits you’re trying to build can help you stick to them. You can get into this topic if your mind wanders down the bullet-journal rabbit holeA habit-tracking application is probably the easiest option. DoneAnd Strides are two iOS options that let you log when you’ve completed a new habit you’re trying to build or when you avoided a bad habit that you’re trying to break. You can be extremely specific with this app, allowing you to set reminders to log, customize how often you do a task, review stats, and more. However, both apps have paid tiers to which you’ll be asked to subscribe after you create a few trackable habits.
If you’d rather avoid yet another subscription, consider an app like StreaksFor a $5 one-time payment, you can get the, which is yours completely for free. Android is also available. GrowIt is a free app that uses the same approach to habit tracking as the one above. ForestTime management is key. You can plant a virtual tree for every new habit you track and watch it grow each time you log a completion. There’s also Habitica, which transforms habit tracking into an 8-bit RPG-game where you can level up your custom avatar by checking off things on your list.
To-do and note-taking apps
The new year provides an opportunity to get back on track, and one way to do that is by finding organizational tools that work for you — and making sure they’re as uncomplicated as possible. It’s possible for your to-do list and note-taking system to become so complex that you don’t use them. It may work well on simple days, but it can quickly become overwhelming if you have a million tasks to manage in your professional and personal life. I’m a fan of TodoistAnd ThingsBoth iOS and macOS have a Today view that is detailed enough to handle large work projects but easy enough to use for personal tasks. Both have a Today view that will display everything in your projects that require attention right away.
While Todoist has a free tier, you’ll pay $80 to get Things for iOS, iPadOS and macOS. Microsoft’s To DoIt is a free alternative to Things that is less complicated than Things and works on almost all platforms including Windows, iOS, Android, and others. You can keep it simple with a task list or a grocery list. Or you can go deeper by adding due dates, subtasks, and sharing lists with family members. And if you don’t want to bother with an extraneous app, you can always opt for the reminders app that (most likely) came preinstalled on your phone. This would be Reminders on iOS and Google Keep on Android.
Google Keep also doubles as a note-taking app, which will be a better solution if you’ve been constantly jotting down ideas for new projects on Post-It notes or scraps of paper that you eventually lose. Apple Notes is the default for this on iOS devices. There are many other note-taking apps available. I’m partial to Evernote simply because it’s become my digital file box of sorts. I often forward things like online order receipts, messages from my doctor’s office and e-signed contracts from my email to Evernote so I can keep track of them and find them more easily in the future if need be.
If you’re looking to up your digital security game in the new year, a password manager is a great place to start. I’m partial to 1PasswordThere are many other options, including LastPass(which also has a free edition). BitwardenAnd Dashlane. You only need one password to log into your 1Password account to access all your accounts. You can log in seamlessly with your credentials using browser extensions Chrome, Edge, and other browser extensions. 1Password also has apps for all major platforms, including Android, iOS, and Android.
I also appreciate Password Generator, which allows you to create a secure password from scratch whenever yours has expired. LastPass also offers this feature, while Dashlane has it. free toolYou can make more secure passwords with this simple tool that anyone can use. This takes the burden of creating strong passwords off your shoulders and makes it easy to replace old credentials by newer ones.
Cable and accessory organizer
The dual-office lifestyle is one of the many consequences of the last few years. Many of us now work both from home and from an office, and the last thing you want to do when you arrive in either place is rummage around your backpack only to realize that you’ve left your mouse, charging cable or dongle at your other desk.
An organizer bag can prevent this before it happens – we recommend BagSmart tech organizersThey are water-repellent and practical thanks to their many pockets and dividers. They also have a divider and multiple pockets. come in different sizesSo you can pick the right one for your commuter bag. If you are looking for something a bit more elegant, Bellroy’s Desk CaddyIt is a good option. It’s pricier but for the money you get a more elegant silhouette, higher-quality materials and a design that sits upright when full and has a front panel that fully folds down to give you a good view of what’s inside.
Computer docking station
It’s all too easy for your work-from-home setup to get really messy really quickly. When you’re going through your busiest times at work, the last thing you’re thinking about is cable management, but dedicating a bit more effort into tidying up your workspace can make your day to day more efficient and more enjoyable.
We recommend that you have a docking station for your laptop, monitors, and accessories. Anker’s 577 Thunderbolt docking stationThis is a great choice, as it has 13 ports, including dual Thunderbolt 3 sockets and two USB-C connectors. There are also four USB-A ports and an Ethernet jack. It can also connect to up to two 4K displays simultaneously. You can pair it up with up to a 5K monitor at 60Hz if you so desire. We like the 85W power it provides to your laptop. This will keep your machine powered up while you’re using it.
Although the 577 is a stationary option there are many adapters that can provide similar organization while on-the-go, though in a smaller package. Anker’s USB-C hubThis affordable solution includes an HDMI port, microSD card readers and SD card readers. It also has two USB-C connections as well as two USB-A sockets. It also supports 100W power passing-through, so you can charge your computer while using the hub.
Eating healthier — or even just avoiding takeout multiple times a week — can be challenging in part because it usually means cooking more at home. Not only is that hard to do when you’re starting from zero, but it’s especially tough because it takes more time than ordering in from your phone. The Instant Pot makes it much easier to cook because it drastically reduces the time you spend active cooking. You can find a plethora of recipes in which you simply throw a bunch of ingredients into the pot, set it and forget it until it’s time to eat.
We recommend the Instant Pot Duo for beginners because it’s relatively affordable and combines seven different cooking methods into one appliance, including rice cooking, steaming, pressure cooking, slow cooking and more. If you’re primarily cooking for yourself and a partner, the three-quart model will serve you just fine, but we recommend the six-quart model if you’re routinely cooking for four or more. If you are excited about the idea of cooking at your own home and not overwhelmed by anxiety, you might consider the Instant Pot Ultra, which comes with a few additional modes like egg cooker and cake-maker, or Instant Pot Duo CrispThis includes an air-fry lid.
It’s great to find recipes that you love and want to make again and again. You’ll want to keep those recipes safe and readily available so you can refer to them when you need a quick weeknight meal or a dish to bring to your next family reunion. Recipe cards are a great way to do this, and you’ll build up your rolodex of delicious meals over time. If you’d rather have a cookbook of sorts that you fill in yourself over time, opt for a recipe book instead.
If you’d rather keep your arsenal of recipes accessible at any time, anywhere from your phone, Paprika’s recipe management app is the best solution I’ve tried. The app costs $5 and allows you to upload your own recipes as well as downloading them from the internet. The hundreds of words that appear before online recipes are where the author shares their entire life story and reveals their secret to making cornbread moist. Paprika takes out all the unnecessary parts and saves only the instructions and the ingredient list. You can also make grocery lists and keep track of pantry staples in the app, so don’t be surprised if it quickly becomes one of your most-used kitchen tools.
Don’t take your habit of doom-scrolling into the new year. Instead, you can use the internet for information and other resources. free Libby app It is a good starting point. Powered by Overdrive, it connects you with your local library’s digital collection, allowing you to borrow and download all kinds of e-books, audiobooks, magazines, graphic novels and more. Libby also has a tag system that you can use to “save” titles for later without actually putting a hold on them (although you can do that in the app, too). If you find a bunch of audiobooks you eventually want to get to, you can give them all a “TBR” tag so you can quickly find them and borrow one when you need new reading/listening material.
I love the convenience of borrowing books from my local library without having to leave my house. However, there have been numerous times in which my library doesn’t have a title I’m looking for. If this happens to you often, you might want to consider a subscription to a service like Kindle UnlimitedOr ScribdBoth of these options give you unlimited access for $10 per month to a large library of e-books. And for audiobook lovers, your options are Amazon’s AudibleOr Libro.fm, which allows you to select the local bookstore you wish to support with the purchase.
E-readers are still around because so many people recognize how much better it can be to read e-books on a dedicated device — especially one with an high-contrast, e-paper display. You could read on a smartphone or tablet, but it can be tiring to look at those screens for hours. An e-reader like Amazon’s Kindle PaperwhiteOr Kobo’s Clara 2EIt is a better choice because of its more comfortable display and because it focuses your attention on what you are reading. (If you’ve ever picked up your smartphone intending to finish a chapter only to be distracted by email or Twitter, you know how crucial this is.)
The latest Kindle paperwhite has a 6.8-inch display that features adjustable warm lights, 20 percent faster pages and up to weeks of battery. Similar to the Clara 2E, it has a 6-inch Eink display, adjustable color temperature and brightness, and a week of battery life. The Paperwhite is the best choice if you already have a lot of your e-books from Amazon. If you connect a pair o wireless earbuds to your ereader, you can listen to Audible audiobooks. Kobo’s device primarily gets books via the Kobo Store, but it also supports various file types like EPUB, PDF and MOBI. It also integrates with Overdrive on-device, so you can borrow books from the ereader.
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