Do you ever feel like life is so busy that you neglect your healthy habits, like eating balanced meals, exercising, and going to bed on time? I know that as a mom of three who works both remotely and outside the home, I often find myself on autopilot and forgetting quintessential self-care practices. My hectic life probably won’t change significantly any time soon, and that’s why it’s up to me to make sure I clear room in my schedule for my good habits. As someone who remembers every embarrassing moment from middle school but not what I ate for dinner last night, I find it helpful to use habit-tracking tools. Here, I’ll take you through some of the most useful digital tools and apps for monitoring and reinforcing all your most important habits.
Why Use Digital Tools?
If you’ve never used a habit-tracking tool or app before, you may be wondering whether they’ll work for you. Everyone is different, of course, but if you find yourself regularly forgetting your self-care behaviors, I certainly think digital tools are worth a try. I know that when I’m tired, busy, or stressed (or a combination of all three), I tend to pay less attention to what I eat and how often I exercise. An app can serve as a great reminder to take care of yourself through your everyday healthy habits. If you find yourself feeling unwell, it can help you to pinpoint what isn’t working for you, like eating certain foods right before bedtime or staying up too late.
An app can also help you to stay accountable as you strive for improved health and wellness. I know that when I have to record what I’m eating, I’m less likely to indulge in unhealthy snack binges. I don’t want to look over my eating habits from the past week and see that I’ve strayed from my balanced diet on multiple occasions. I like to feel strong, energetic, and ready to take on the world, and I know there will be days when that doesn’t happen. When I’m feeling a bit run-down, it’s comforting to know that I’ve been meeting my own needs and that my body just needs a rest because I’m human. I find it much easier to take some downtime for myself (and enjoy it!) when I know my own poor choices aren’t the reason for my exhaustion and lethargy.
The Best Habit-Tracking Apps for iPhone, Android, and More
So what are the best habit-tracker apps anyway? That really depends on your lifestyle, your goals, and your unique psychology. Many apps offer a free trial period or are entirely free to use with optional in-app purchases, so you can shop around before you commit. Be sure to cancel any membership you’re no longer using, as many apps will charge your credit card automatically after a certain time period.
One of my favorite tracking apps is Apple Fitness, which allows me to track my daily steps (I aim for 10,000/day) and workout sessions. The app prompts me to make sure I stand up at least once an hour and gives me a gentle nudge when I’ve been exercising less than usual. Within the Apple Fitness app is the optional Fitness+ program for $9.99/month, which offers streaming workout sessions and guided meditations. Bonus: You no longer need an Apple Watch to use it; it pairs with any Apple device.
Apple Fitness Plus Workout Plans – Jesse Cleaver
Are you trying to lose or gain weight, drink more water, or track your intermittent fasting sessions for better health? Check out MyFitnessPal, which tracks your caloric intake and allows you to break down your diet by carbs, fat, and protein. You can download it for free, but the premium service is $9.99/month.
The 1AND1 app is an amazing resource for tracking your habits and improving your daily routine. In addition to tracking your diet and exercise, the (free!) 1AND1 app can help you improve your sleep and cognitive function, learn new skills, and even reach your financial goals. You’ll also have full access to 1AND1’s comprehensive article collection covering every dimension of health and wellness at your fingertips.
Do you need a digital detox? Let’s face it, most of us could use less screen time. The Opal app allows you to block other apps when you need to focus, set limits on screen time, and manage your schedule each day. The free download allows you to use the basic features, with options to purchase a $99.99/year pro subscription and one-time upgrade packages.
Okay, so getting your monthly period isn’t exactly a habit (Because who would stick to that? Not me!), but it is super helpful to be able to track it. Whether you’re trying to conceive, trying to avoid pregnancy, or simply trying to prepare yourself for the hormonal hurricane that is PMS, an app like Flo can help. Use Flo to track your monthly cycles, know when to engage or abstain from sexual intercourse, and remember when to pack an extra pad or seven in your handbag. You can try it for free, with options to purchase various plans.
More Tools and Apps for Health and Wellness
If you find you’re better able to create healthy habits and stick to them using apps, you might check out a few more of the best-reviewed ones. For guided meditations and breathing exercises, better sleep hygiene, soothing soundscapes for relaxation, and anxiety management check out Calm. If you’ve been dying to become a real runner but haven’t found the right motivation, try the Couch to 5K (C25K) program. And if you struggle with gut health issues like acid reflux and irritable bowel disease, try the FLORA app by registered dietitian Molly Pelletier.
It’s okay to need a little help staying on track as you navigate this busy journey we call life. Make that phone, tablet, or smartwatch work for your physical and mental wellness by finding apps that you really respond to. When you lock onto something that helps you to be your best self, make it a permanent tool in your box. Enjoy, and take care!