As a new year begins, many of us will be vowing to improve ourselves and situations through doing less of some things and more of others. With technology now playing a central role in modern life, these resolutions will either be aided or hindered by our devices.
So, here’s some tech-related oaths, which you might want to add to your list.
It comes as a constant surprise to us that buying a Fitbit or other activity tracker doesn’t actually cause any weight-loss. In fact, the only change we’ve noticed is that the bands get a bit tighter as the year wears on, thanks to our increasingly pudgy wrists.
It turns out that you actually have to do the exercise yourself! That must have been hidden in the small print.
So, if you want to get into shape in 2018 then it’s going to take some work. Thankfully activity trackers are excellent companions that can help encourage you through those dark morning runs, or reward your decision to climb the stairs at the office.
Take a look at our guide to the best fitness trackers to see which one will become your next faithful companion.
Spending hours sweating in the gym can have dramatic effects on your physique. Stuffing cake into your face immediately afterwards can also make an impact, but probably not the one you’re after.
A healthy diet is something everyone needs if they’re going to keep on top form, and there are a number of great apps that can make this easier to manage.
The Change4Life Smart Recipes app on Android and iOS has over 160 meal ideas that are easy to cook and good for your body. It’s the ideal way to quickly plan dinner on the way home, then pop into the supermarket rather than the takeaway.
MyFitnessPal is another excellent tool, as the app allows you to track what you eat and see just how much fat, sugar, and calories are in your diet. It’s a little laborious at first, but there’s no doubt that it can help you be more aware food you’re consuming, and help you make better decisions.
Be more organised
If life feels like a chaotic ocean upon which your ship is being constantly being tossed, then using an organisational app could the answer. There’s a good chance that your smartphone already has a reminders app somewhere, but if you’re looking to hone your productivity muscles then using something like Todoist will be a fine way to know what you’re meant to be doing each day.
Pair it up with the excellent, and free, OneNote to make sure you store all your important information in one place, rather than searching through drawers and cupboards when the car insurance is due.
Check out our 12 Best iOS Productivity apps feature to get more control over your schedule.
Be better with your money
Finances can be a source of tremendous stress. That’s why it’s a very sensible idea to know what your incomings and outgoings are each month. Try looking at the How to budget your money in Excel feature for simple ways to get a handle on your spending.
If you find that you’re doing ok, then you might want to make your money work harder by trying out some investments. Read our How to lend your money guide for some ideas on how this might be achieved.
Make backups of your photos, videos, and music
With so much of our lives now digitised – be it photos, videos, or music – losing data can be a dreadful thing. Make sure you don’t fall victim to this easily avoided scenario by making regular copies of all your important files.
Follow our How to back up your PC and mobile devices for free guide and sleep easier knowing your precious memories are safe.
Strengthen your digital security
Hacking seems to be on the rise, so it’s becoming increasingly important to have strong passwords and be more vigilant when using devices online. If you have an Android phone then try some of the ideas suggested in our How to secure Android feature.
Windows users should consider employing a two-step authentication program to protect their systems, see How to use Microsoft Authenticator for more details, while fans of Google should do likewise by enabling the company’s two-step verification feature.
Lastly, we’d recommend switching to a password app if you want to keep your accounts secure. Peruse our Best password manager chart for the top choices right now.
Spring clean your PC
Over time PCs get bogged down by a variety of old programs, updates, too many items running the background, and other unwanted ephemera. Giving it a good spring clean can work wonders, and return it to its former glory.
Take a look at our 5 free ways to clean up an old PC or laptop and see how a few tweaks here and there will improve performance.
Upgrade your tech
While it’s great to try and get the most out of your tech, sometimes old father time just proves too great an adversary. So, if your smartphone has seen better days, or your PC still runs on coal, then it might be time to start the new year with some new gear.
Here’s our recommendations for the best you can currently buy.
Good luck in 2018. Let us know how you get on.