Some may argue that having everything in an app is not doing humanity a favor, and they might be right, but I am thrilled to have things just like that – one click away. Here are 3 apps that have changed my life for the better.
For losing weight and bad habits
One day I decided that I wanted to lose weight. The problem was: I didn’t want to go on a complicated or restrictive diet. Noom started popping up on my Facebook feed, claiming to be the app that will make me lose weight for good. Turns out it was exactly that…
The app gives you a daily calorie budget, based on your preferences, and asks you to document your every meal. That way you know how much of your budget you’ve spent. If you document physical exercise, your budget gets extended by half of the calories you have burned.
If you purchase the coach feature, it will teach you which foods are good for you, which ones to avoid or eat in moderation, how to overcome the psychological challenges of changing your diet, etc. The 2-week trial was enough for me, I just continued documenting my meals regularly and tried to stay in the budget.
My result? I lost 15kg in about 8 months. No restrictive diet, just a bit of education and persistence. I do pilates twice a week, but that probably just made me gain some muscle mass.
59 USD / month
199 USD / year
2 weeks trial
For practicing a second language… or third .. or fourth
Ok, this cannot be news to you, Duolingo is one of the most popular apps out there. I’ve been using it for years to keep up with foreign languages that I have learned in the past, but do not use regularly.
The app’s mascot, Duo the owl, is notorious for guilt-tripping you into practicing every day, for at least 5 minutes. If you don’t lose your streak, (by practicing every day), you earn lingots, a fictive currency which allows you to buy nonsense stuff, like fancy clothes for Duo, or useful stuff like streak freeze. It sounds like a child’s play, but it is very effective at building a good habit of practicing a foreign language, daily.
Duolingo started completely free, but now offers a paid version which gives you an ad-free experience and an option to use the app offline, which is great if you are traveling without a stable internet connection and don’t want to lose your streak.
My result? Did not skip a day of exercise for over 4 years! I brushed up on my German, Spanish, and learned the basics of Hungarian.
Note: If English is not your first language, you’ll have to have a good grasp of it to learn other languages.
6.99 USD / month
For sampling new books
In the era of instant gratification, when we refuse to read anything longer than a tweet, reading a book looks like a truly daunting experience.
Blinkist to the rescue!
This app offers you a 20-ish minute audio summaries of over 3000 non-fiction titles from a wide range of genres: psychology, finance, love, parenting, health, etc. Every book is presented through a series of blinks – short summaries which list the main takeaways of each section in the book.
The great majority of the books I’ve listened to were summarized and presented very well – I realized that after reading full versions of a couple of books that spiked my interest. This is, most probably, the best thing about Blinkist: it gives you free samples, from which you can decide whether or not you want to invest time and money into the book itself.
You get one free sample a day if you stick to the basic plan. If you want to pick the samples yourself, as many as you want and enjoy them offline, you can get the Premium version (which is well worth its price).
My result? Found the inspiration to go for a morning run a couple of times a week. Listening to blinks keeps me from thinking about how much I hate running! I acquired a lot of new information and got ”tips” which books to actually read. So many birds with one stone! This is one of my favorite apps of all time and I have been recommending it like crazy.
11.99 USD / month
69.99 USD / year
I could go on… but it’s better to stop here, at least for now. Have you tried some of these? Have I persuaded you to do so? Which apps would you recommend?