25 Apps to Help You Reach Those Resolutions

For those of us who have trouble finding the proper motivation to make difficult changes in our lives, New Year’s represents a perfect opportunity to start fresh with some resolutions. There are dozens of great Mac apps that can help us to lead happier, healthier, and more organized lives.

This list covers some of my favorite apps for managing your workflow, organizing your Mac, and keeping your mind sharp and your body fit.

Organize Yourself

Last year you forgot about assignments for class, project deadlines for your boss, and to pick up pickles at the supermarket. This year, you are going to organize your life and your Mac into an efficient machine. A good GTD (Getting Things Done) app will help you stay on top of all the things you need to take care of on a daily basis. There is no shortage of task management apps, but here are some of the best options:

Things

Cultured Code’s wildly popular app is one of the more robust (and expensive) options. It allows users to create tasks within the app, set due dates, schedule repeating tasks (like a reminder to send your rent check five days before the end of the month), and organize tasks into project areas. What sets Things apart from many other task management apps is its ability to tag your to-dos, which is useful when you are dealing with lots of tasks. The app has an iPhone and iPad version as well which can be synced together via Wi-Fi. A long-awaited cloud-sync option is currently in beta, and should arrive early this year.

Price: $49.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.0 or later
Developer: Cultured Code

Wunderlist

Wunderlist makes task management easy for anyone who uses lots of different devices. Unlike Things and a few other apps, Wunderlist uses the cloud to keep just about any kind of device you have in sync. Apps are available for the Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows, (plus a fully featured Web app). This multiplatform support means that if you use, for example, a Mac at home, a Windows machine at work, and an Android device, you can keep all your tasks in sync.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: 6Wunderkinder

OmniFocus

One of the pricier options on this list, OmniFocus was designed for the power-user. Its strength comes from the “Context” feature, which allows you to categorize your tasks more efficiently. Like Things, it will sync with your iPhone and iPad, but does not have any Android or Windows versions. I prefer the simplicity of Things, but have been pleased by the expanded functionality of OmniFocus.

Price: $79.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: The Omni Group

Anxiety

A lightweight option for users who don’t need to sync with a mobile device. You can use Anxiety to sync with your Mac’s built-in reminders function, (which can be found in iCal and Mail). It sits in your menubar, so users can take advantage of the app’s small footprint to keep the window open while working.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later
Developer: Model Concept

iStudiez Pro

Most task management apps have the flexibility that allows them to be used for any sort of task, but iStudiez specializes in schoolwork. With a concentration on organizing your assignments and test preparation, it gives students the power to stay on top of deadlines and group-work. It seamlessly integrates with iCal, as well as its companion apps on iPhone and iPad.

Price: $9.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Enfiero

Pomodoro

Organizing your tasks doesn’t mean anything if you don’t ever get them done. Pomodoro steps in to keep you focused on your work and lets you know when its time to take a break. It integrates with aforementioned Things and OmniFocus, so that you can easily pick what you want to work on next. After choosing how long you want to work, a timer pops up in the menubar, and you can set Growl to keep you updated on how you’re doing.

Price: $4.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Ugo Landini

Fantastical

These task management apps are important for organizing the things you need to get done, but they don’t eliminate the need for calendars, which help to schedule your day. Fortunately, Macs come with iCal, an efficient, albeit limited, calendar app. I like to keep it open all the time as a full screen application, but swiping over to that space can be a hassle when I am constantly making new appointments. Fantastical solves this problem by placing an icon in the menubar that allows users to view, add, and edit iCal events. It can also link to your Google calendar, or any CalDAV-supported server.

Price: $19.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Flexibits

CalendarBar

Fantastical is stable and has a great-looking interface, but the price may scare off anyone who doesn’t think they will be using the app on a frequent basis. CalendarBar offers a similar solution to menubar-based iCal viewing. In addition to Google calendar and CalDAV support, it can also sync your Facebook events. Growl integration means that you can be alerted when any defined event is about to begin. The downside to CalendarBar in comparison to Fantastical is the inability to actually add events from the menubar, (and the interface isn’t quite as pretty).

Price: $4.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Clean Cut Code

Organize Your Mac

Now that you have a streamlined system for organizing your schedule and to-dos, its time to tackle your Mac itself. Last year, you constantly misplaced files on your computer, but now you have resolved to clean it up. Here are some tools to help you organize it, and keep it that way:

Daisy Disk

If you are constantly running up against the limited space on your hard drive, it may be time to organize what you have on it. DaisyDisk is a beautiful solution to visualizing what is taking up space. After running, it will graph out file types (photos, music, video, etc.) to show you what you may need to consider moving to an external drive.

Price: $9.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Software Ambience

Papers

If you are a student, you know how quickly your computer can be flooded with articles and papers for your courses. Rather than just let all that stuff get strewn around the desktop or lost in strange places within the Finder, you need to keep it organized for easy access. Papers is designed specifically for anyone who has to manage all of those documents in order to help write research papers. You can search scholarly articles directly from the app, save information for easy citations, and manage all of your documents with a beautiful interface. It can sync to an iPhone app as well, for access while away from your computer.

Price: $79.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Mekentosj

DEVONthink

A paperless office isn’t just more eco-friendly, it’s also more efficient. DEVONthink saves you the hassle of creating new folders within an ever-growing filing system on your Mac by facilitating the organization process. It can handle just about any type of file, such as Office docs, bookmarks, and PDFs. It can easily search everything you have saved, and can even search within the document, not just the title.

Price: $49.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: DEVONtechnologies

Yojimbo

Yojimbo is another solution to organizing all the various types of files you have sitting around on your Mac. It lets you easily label all the various files you have so that you can easily find them again when needed. Its a perfect solution for anyone who has a messy hard drive but doesn’t have the patience to learn a new, complicated program.

Price: $38.99
Requires: 10.5.7 or later
Developer: Bare Bones Software

1Password

We all hear how important it is to use long, unique passwords for all the sites and services we use. This year, you resolved to start doing that, but the idea of remembering all those new passwords feels daunting. 1Password solves that issue by securely storing all your passwords and eliminating the mess of Post-It notes that are littered around your workspace. It can randomly generate long passwords and fill them in using browser extensions. Best of all, you can store the encrypted “keychain” on a thumb drive, iOS device or your Dropbox account and have access to your passwords when you’re away from your Mac.

Price: 49.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Agile Bits

Evernote

Evernote has gained plenty of supporters because of its ability to be the Swiss Army Knife of organization on your computer. You can scan a document, record a audio clip, save entire websites, and paste pictures into the desktop app, and everything gets synced to your account which can be accessed via a solid web app or on your mobile device. What makes Evernote so special is what it does with all that stuff you sync to their servers: It analyzes everything so that you can search within documents, even hand-written notes. Now you can stop letting all those scanned documents and LOLCat pictures pile up on the desktop.

Price: Free (Premium features: $45/year)
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Evernote

Lyn

Of all the things on my computer that I have a tough time keeping organized, my photos are by far the hardest. While iPhoto does a decent job, I’ve found Lyn to be much more versatile and full-featured. You can view your existing iPhoto library, so there is no trouble switching to it. Lyn can handle just about any image type, including HDR, and loads previews incredibly quickly. Personally, I love the batch editing feature that makes renaming a breeze. Having well-named photos makes finding for that one shot you’re looking for infinitely easier.

Price: $20
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4 or later
Developer: Mirko Viviani

Organize Your Finances

Whether we forget to pay a bill or we find ourselves in the dark when it comes to investing, many of us have a tough time staying on top of our finances. This year, we are going to save money on those late fees and finance charges, while planning for our financial future with some great Mac finance apps:

Delicious Library

Keeping an up to date home inventory is a great way to organize the stuff in your home. Using your Mac’s camera, you scan the barcode on your books, movies, videogames, CDs, etc., and Delicious Library automatically grabs cover art, information, and more. Now you’ll never find yourself at the store wondering whether or not you already own the DVD you’re considering buying. Plus, having a good home inventory is great for anyone with home/renter’s insurance.

Price: $34.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later
Developer: Delicious Monster

Chronicle

Last year, you lost plenty of money because of forgetting to pay your bills on time. This year, you are going to change that with Chronicle. The app can track when all your bills are due, and can remind you via iCal. It can store reciepts, and can graphically present how you have been spending money using smart categories.

Price: $14.99 (A feature-limited free version is also available)
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Little Fin

Koku

Quicken has long reigned as the king of finance software on Windows, and despite some disappointing attempts by the company (see Quicken Essentials for Mac), no good Mac version has been ported. However, Koku comes close. It can directly connect to your bank and credit card accounts, show you your spending history, and graphically display spending history. The auto-labeling isn’t always correct, but does a good job of guessing what type of good or service each entry is. (Note: Not all banks can be accessed through the app – check to see if your bank is supported on their website http://www.fadingred.com/koku/docs/DirectConnect).

Price: $29.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Fading Red

Investoscope

You keep hearing people tell you the importance of investing your money, and this year, you are finally going to do it. Investoscope is a robust portfolio tracker that can help you research stocks, bonds, international currencies, and more. Its clean, simple interface shows you where your money is invested and how it is performing. The app’s capital gains reports are a great way to simplify part of the stressful tax season.

Price: $59.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Morten Fjord-Larsen

Mind and Body

The most common resolutions generally revolve around treating our minds and bodies better in the new year. Whether you want to learn more about yourself, or get rid of that gut, there are several Mac apps that can help us:

Day One

Keeping a journal is a great way to organize your thoughts and reflect on your busy work and personal life. One of the biggest challenges to keeping a journal, though, is actually remembering to write in it. Day One solves that problem with a menubar icon that expands into a text-entry box. You set specific times, (I have it set for right before I go to bed), and it will alert you automatically that it is time to write. For those worried about spying spouses, roommates, or younger siblings, a password lock can be enabled. It can also sync to iOS devices for input and reading on the go.

Price: $9.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Bloom Built

White Noise

Living in a big city can mean a constant auditory bombardment of sirens, horns, and other unpleasant noises outside your home. White Noise steps in to fill your room with more relaxing sounds to help you relax or concentrate. You can set the 40 sounds to turn on in the morning at set times or fade out as you fall asleep. The app includes natural sounds like the ocean and thunderstorms, as well as things like airplane noise and dryers. It’s not the prettiest app, but I use it everyday in the background whenever I am reading or writing.

Price: $4.99 (A free version with fewer sounds also available)
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: TMSOFT

Pocket Yoga

Yoga is a great way to tone your body and sharpen your mind. Pocket Yoga is a simple app that walks you through 27 different sessions and more than a hundred different poses. Videos show you how to improve your form while soothing music plays. The three difficulty levels ensure that the app can help you whether you are new to yoga or a seasoned veteran. I myself started using the app last year without any experience in yoga, and have had great results.

Price: $4.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Rainfrog

Yummy Soup

A key to getting in shape is eating right, and Yummy Soup can help you organize all the new healthy recipes that you are going to try this year. There is a plethora of recipe managers for Mac, but Yummy Soup has become my favorite. You can subscribe to different users (such as friends and family) and have access to their recipes. A built in planner helps you organize your grocery trips and plan your meals. Plus, you can tag your recipes so you can find recipes based on what type of food you are craving.

Price: $19.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later
Developer: Hungry Seacow

Coffee Break

Sitting at the computer all day is terrible for your body. Coffee Break is a simple yet incredibly useful app that reminds you when its time to get out of your chair, stretch, and go for a quick walk. You schedule how often you want to take a break, and the app will alert you when it is time. You can even set multiple breaks throughout your workday.

Price: $2.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Kaj Kumar Shaw

rubiTrack

This is the year you finally get rid of those love handles. We all know how difficult it can be to develop any consistency when it comes to working out, but once you find some routine, those pounds can shed off very quickly. Whether you are planning on taking up running, cycling, hiking or any other activity, rubiTrack can help catalogue your workouts. It is incredibly encouraging to be able to see your progress, and the app makes it easy to visualize how you’ve improved. Using a supported GPS device, you can accurately trace your routes, see your times, and much more.

Price: $38.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later
Developer: Toolsfactory Software

Suggestions?

Those are some of my favorite apps for helping with New Year’s resolutions. Leave any of your favorites in the comments!


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