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There are only a few days left in 2011 -- and you know what that means. People bugging you asking if you're making any New Year's resolutions. You've tried all that before, but it's harder than it sounds. Well, experts say if you have a partner encouraging you, keeping track of things it helps. And who's there with you more often than your iOS device. Nobody, that's who. So check out these apps for sticking to it.
Commit from Legend prizes itself on simplicity. The idea itself is fairly simple but powerful. Can you commit to doing something on a daily basis to make it a habit? While this isn't necessarily the ideal app if your resolutions are for less frequent tasks or habits, it's still easy to use and easy to learn.
Open the app and you are presented with a form "I will ___________ every day." You fill in the thing you'll do. Below that is a "Remind me at _____" section where you can set the time for the app to prompt you on a daily basis. Hit the big orange Commit button once you've set up the reminder and you're good. You can also choose to not be reminded.
What are you going to do every day?
The next morning, when you're supposed to remember to floss or walk the dog or do some crunches or whatever, a reminder will pop up. Do the thing then go to the app and it asks "Did you ________ Today?" with your specific item. Tap the check button, and the app puts a green check mark in the button and fills in a thin slice in the bar at the bottom.
The goal is to get days in a row
The app keeps track of how many days in a row you do the thing. Each thing is its own separate page that you flick through. Commit is short and sweet and to the point, absolutely perfect in its simplicity.
Essentially operating on the same kind of idea of simplicity, Logic Colony offers Choice by Choice. Either you do something or you don't, smiley or frowns marking it out for you.
You only get a good choice or a bad one.
Three buttons cross the bottom of the app screen. Goals & Choices is your list of things you want to do. Metrics shows you the same list but on a sliding scale of smiles to frowns. Settings doesn't have many helpful features apart from putting a passcode lock on the app.
The emoticons are judging you
To add a goal, tap the + sign on the Goals page and type in what you want to do. To record a goal, tap on that goal from the same page and you're taken to where you can record if you made a good or bad choice on that day. You can add a note justifying your choice, you can tap the calendar link but it doesn't seem to allow you to record past choices.
Adding something couldn't be easier
From the Metrics page, you can tap on one of your list items and see an ongoing history of your choices. Tap on whichever numbered week of the year you want to see, and you're presented with a list of how you did that week along with all your notes about your choices.
Basically as simple as Commit, Choice by Choice has a bit more functionality, but is a little less cleanly designed feeling.
The eponymously named TraxItAll is planned around the idea of more is more rather than less. Instead of reminding you to do the things you're supposed to, the goal here is to track that information.
When you open the app, you are presented with three categories of trackables. The first is All Tracks, which has every category and subcategory of thing you need to do in one page. A To-Do List which keeps track of that which you need to do today. Below that are the categories of to dos. Keep tabs on your meds, exercise, finances, social life, studies, and up to three custom categories.
A lot of power hidden behind those simple buttons
Tap one of those categories to be taken to the page for it specifically. Need to take certain meds daily and others weekly? Make a subcategory for each pill and set up their own tracking. To do this, tap the + at the bottom of the category page and you can create a New Track. Type its name, fit it into a category, choose the type (count, yes/no, average), then add in the options.
Do you want it on your To-Do list? Turn that on. How many decimal places for what you're tracking? What kind of stats do you want (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)? Once you're done setting up, then it's just a matter of entering data.
Easy enough to add categories
In the morning when you take your walk and your fiber pill, navigate to the specific tracks for those things, then tap the Day button for that track to record it according to your set up for the to-do. You can simply tap or tap and hold to go to a more complicated data entry page that allows for notes and alterations to the recording methods.
Set up your categories and how to measure them
Tap on the button for the week and you can see broken down stats that show you your success rate, your goals, and how you've done over different periods of time. Turn your iPhone on its side and the information is presented on a graph to give you an idea of your yearly ups and downs.
TraxItAll won't give you timed reminders of things to do, but it will badge its icon to remind you that there are things that you have to accomplish today. We'd like to see some kind of push notifications and we're not crazy about the UI (the graphics are a little rough), but it's a straightforward, business-like app for getting things done and keeping track of your business.
The only one of our apps to rock it out universal style, Habits Pro by Track & Share Apps, LLC is also the priciest of the lot. The company has taken their very flexible tracker template and repurposed it for various other more specific things you may wish to keep tabs on (our favorite being their bowel movement tracker).
How to get in the habit
Five buttons run the bottom of this app, whether you go iPad or iPhone version (the iPad version feels like just three or four iPhone screens laid out on the bigger screen of the larger device). The app starts on the center of these buttons when you first open it. The Track screen shows some sample goals. Tap the red target next to the to-do to mark it yes or no.
To navigate to previous days in the year, a small calendar icon in the upper right swaps the screen for a monthly breakdown. Arrow your way to the appropriate month, tap date, then tap the day button which replaced the calendar one, and you have your list to track again.
Tweak things until you have your to-dos laid out right
The Graph button will show you your week at a glance. Scroll from side to side to move throughout the year or tap the tiny d/w/m buttons in the upper right to opt for daily, weekly, or monthly views of your progress.
See how your progress is moving along
Screens shows you your list of potential tasks. Some are already populated for you, though a quick tap of the Edit button allows you to ditch these for your own or to add to the categories on offer. Tap on one of the categories (the choices being about health, social skills, living consciously, reflecting on things, exercising your mind, etc.) and on *that* page you can again tap Edit, to this time add more specific to-dos or daily resolutions.
Set up your categories
The Share button allows you to email your progress reports as CSV files or HTML, and you can portion out this data as you please. The More button gives you instructions, helps you set up your to-do items, and more. Here too, you can set up passcodes, turn badges on or off, and alter the apps color scheme.
We're splitting the difference here this week. If you want simple, then Commit is perfect for you, and at $0.99, you're getting an app with solid design and ease of us. Choice by Choice sets you back three times as much for an app that's a bit more confusing though it ultimately boils down to the same functions.
If you're looking for something a little more robust, you'll pay three more dollars for Habits Pro than TraxItAll but the app has a much more intuitive design, runs universally, and sports a cleaner interface in general. You can tweak and add to your heart's content, and you can set up the app to give you plenty of consistent resolution starters.