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These iPhone and Apple Watch apps help you create and achieve New Year’s resolutions

2021 holds a lot of anticipation as the world hopefully recovers from the pandemic and people around the world have more clarity than ever about their priorities. Let’s take a look at some of the best apps to create habits, set stakes, and achieve New Year resolutions with iPhone and Apple Watch.

Rethinking New Year resolutions

While New Year resolutions can be a good place to start, they’re often too broad and/or not defined with actionable steps. Another tough aspect to New Year resolutions is they can be tied to guilt and regret, especially if they are something you’ve been aiming for or struggling with for a while.

I’ve found this approach from Tim Ferriss super valuable and effective: replace New Year resolutions with a “Past Year Review.” The idea is to intentionally look back at the last year (with your calendar if possible) and write down what things moved the needle for you in both positive and negative directions.

Then narrow down what 20% of things you did that produced the most impactful results (and guide what to do and avoid going forward). Read more about this approach on Tim’s blog here. If you give it a try, I think you’ll head into 2021 with more clarity on what’s important to you, what your goals really are, and more actionable steps to get there. You may still get to a New Year resolution(s), but the process of a past year review should offer some real added value.

Also keep in mind, while it may be tempting to tackle multiple new habits at the same time, many people find the most success with making fewer changes simultaneously. For more reading on making and breaking habits, James Clear’s bestseller Atomic Habits is very useful.

How to achieve New Year resolutions with iPhone and Apple Watch

iPhone and Apple Watch can be great tools to help you stay on track with your bigger goals and specifically, the daily action to make or break habits. Below we’ll look at 4 great apps to achieve your New Year resolutions with iPhone and Apple Watch.

Setting stakes


I wanted to share this one first since setting real stakes can be a major factor in creating new habits achieving New Year resolutions. Often times we know what to do and how to do it but don’t take consistent action, and that’s what Stickk was built for.

Stickk comes from a behavioral economist and a law professor from Yale University and the main idea is “INCENTIVES x ACCOUNTABILITY = KEY TO SUCCESS.”

Here’s how the app works:

  1. Set your goal – ANY goal (lose weight, self-care, meditation, finish thesis…) and a timeline to achieve it
  2. Invite someone – a friend, coworker or family member – to hold you accountable & verify your progress
  3. Put your money where your mouth is! Set a price on inaction – add Stakes to your commitment (optional)
  4. Track your progress by reporting your successes or failures daily, weekly OR at the end of your Commitment Contract

Stickk is available for iPhone, Mac, and the web for free. You can download it on the App Store.

Tracking New Year resolutions with iPhone and Apple Watch

Ok, let’s look at some great apps to track your goals and habits:


How to create habits on iPhone and Apple Watch - Streaks app

Streaks developer Crunchy Bagel describes the app as “The to-do list that helps you form good habits.” It lets you track up to 12 tasks daily, is super customizable with 78 colored themes, 600 icons, and how often a task should be completed repeated.

You’ve also got support for Widgets, Siri Shortcuts, Apple Health, and much more.

Streaks has won an Editors’ Choice award from Apple and has a very high average rating of 4.8/5 stars from over 14,000 reviewers.

Streaks is available for $4.99 from the App Store and works with iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and iMessage.


Create habits with iPhone and Apple Watch - HabitMinder app

This is another great app based on the same idea of a to-do list focused on habits. HabitMinder features mini apps and “sessions” screens.

Other great features include Widgets, a clean and simple UI, and it’s free to try before you buy it to unlock all the app’s features.

User’s love HabitMinder with an average rating of 4.7/5 stars across almost 4,000 reviews. It’s available for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.

HabitMinder is available as a free download from the App Store with a lifetime license going for $19.99, a yearly subscription at $9.99, and monthly running $0.99.


Create habits with iPhone and Apple Watch - Achievements app

This is a new app that takes an interesting approach to include both your big picture goals and the habits that will help you achieve them.

There’s a focus on a minimalist UI with haptic feedback and nice sound effects. It’s also got Widgets, and customizability with icons and 5 colored themes. Achievements also features over 300 quotes for some inspiration.

While just an iPhone app is available for now, developer 2196 has told us that an Apple Watch app is in the works along with a stats page, and support for more languages.

Achievements is available as a $4.99 download from the App Store.

Apple’s apps

If you don’t want to pick up a new app to help with your habits and New Year resolutions on iPhone and Apple Watch, you can always use the built-in Reminders app and create recurring alerts.

If you want to get more detailed you can also create subtasks in the Reminders app, and also leverage the Notes app for longer-form journaling/habit tracking.

And if you’re goal is health-related, you can keep track of your workouts in the Fitness app and other details in the Health app.

Wrap-up on New Year resolutions with iPhone

I try to keep in mind the most important thing isn’t which tool I’m using to keep track of my progress but it’s really about consistency with the daily action in creating a new habit.

Apps can be a part of achieving New Year resolutions with iPhone and the apps above are great. But clarity, incentive, accountability, and follow-through are what will make the real difference. Cheers to the new year and achieving your goals!

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