7 Apps to Make Healthier Habits Stick

Tackle your New Year’s resolution with technology

By Katie Ressler

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Every year, January 1st seems like the perfect date to make a promise to be healthier.

But as the weeks go by keeping that promise may become tougher than you thought without a little help (or some such). With an abundance of technology aimed at helping you move more, eat better and de-stress, you can find plenty of resources to help those new habits stick. Here are seven highly-rated, free apps available for your smart phone, on both iOS and Android, to help you tackle your New Year’s resolution(s).

Healthy Habit: Move More

Increasing movement is a key factor for improving overall health, says Gentry Kozub, a physical therapist.

“Increasing movement can decrease your risk of various diseases associated with sedentary lifestyle, including diabetes, cardiopulmonary disorders, decreased immunity, vascular or circulatory deficiencies, osteoporosis/osteopenia and kyphosis (forward rounding of the back),” Kozub says.

There are many great activity apps aimed at getting you moving. Of those that are free, this one rises to the top:


Human makes increasing activity easier by translating your movement into a language you speak – minutes, not steps. Using technology built into your phone, it tracks your movement as long as you have your phone with you. It also motivates you by showing how your activity compares to those in your city or within teams you create for up to 10 people. Download: iOS or Android.

Healthy Habit: Improve Nutrition

“The new year is a great time to make a goal to eat healthier. Often, the choice doesn’t last because it is attached to unrealistic goals. Be kind to yourself and choose goals that are realistic for you,” says Jessica Engelbrecht, a registered dietitian. Taking small steps, like starting by choosing more nutritious ingredients, can make it easier to continue on with nutrition goals.


Although this robust app allows you to target many different types of nutrition goals, one of its unique features is a built-in barcode scanner that helps you select foods with nutritious ingredients. Scan your food’s barcode and see its letter grade (A – F),  based on the nutrition panel and ingredient list. With this app, you can get straight A’s on your food choices.  Note: If you have special dietary needs, such as low-carb, low-sodium or gluten-free, Fooducate offers premium features for purchase that you may find helpful. Download: iOS or Android.

Healthy Habit: Drink More Water

Why is it that remembering your first (or second) cup of coffee is easy, but drinking water is so hard to remember to do? This app can help you change that:

My Water

Water is essential for our bodies to function properly, yet many people struggle to drink enough each day. This app helps you calculate how much water you need, reminds you to drink water, tracks different types of beverages and shows your daily progress. Download: iOS or Android.

Healthy Habit: Improve Sleep

Sleep: we all need more of it. Despite its importance, sleep often drops to the bottom of the priority list when life gets busy. This app helps you make sleep a higher priority.

Good Morning Alarm Clock

This smart alarm clock finds the optimal time to wake you up, keeps track of your sleep quality and lets you know when you’re short on sleep. It also provides you with a record of your sleep. Download: iOS or Android.

Healthy Habit: Practice Mindfulness

Stress impacts overall health and well-being immensely. Mindfulness and meditation can help quiet your mind so you can find calmness in your life.

Stop, Breathe and Think

When you open this app, it asks, “How are you?”  Then, based on your answer, it provides suggestions for guided meditation. Simply select one of the suggestions, press play and begin. Download: iOS or Android.

Healthy Habit: Find Gratitude

Cancer survivors often tell us how grateful they are for the many blessings in their lives. By finding gratitude, they often also find happiness among other benefits.

21 Day Gratitude Challenge

This app delivers a 5-minute gratitude exercise each day for 21 days. You only get 24 hours, starting at midnight, to complete the daily challenge. By the end of the 21 days, you’ll be reaping the benefits of a life filled with gratitude. Download: iOS or Android.

Seeking Extra Motivation?

Do good for others while doing good for your body.


Earn money for a charity close to your heart by tracking your movement. Open the app, select one of dozens of nonprofits and get moving! Download: iOS or Android.

As you work towards your health goals, share your successes with us. Comment below with your goals and wins, tips for success, and recommendations for other health-focused apps.

This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or medical advice. Reference to any specific app does not constitute product endorsement and is simply for public information and convenience.