So you’ve decided that your New Year’s resolution is to get in better shape and stay that way. Fantastic! Now, how can you do that? It is amazing in our 21st century world that we are able to utilize some amazing modern technology, such as fitness apps, to help us stay on track and keep fit.

How can you be more successful?

Did you know that 88% of people who establish New Year’s resolutions don’t achieve their goals? Gyms see an enormous increase in their new membership sales after the first of the year, but the majority of these people will drop off by February. Don’t let your own New Year’s resolution to be healthier in 2015 slip through the cracks.

There are several ways you can increase the probability of success. You should establish a clearly defined goal. Getting “in shape” isn’t clearly defined enough. Instead, determine if there is an event such as a marathon that you want to participate in or if you want to lose a certain amount of weight or body fat by increasing your exercise and improving your diet.

You can also improve your chances by finding another person with similar goals to keep you on track and accountable. Plus, working out with a buddy is much more fun than working out on your own.

Finally, some of the best tools available today are mobile applications. Armed with nothing but your smart phone you can use these tools to stay on track and keep up the motivation.

Our favorite fitness apps

The best fitness apps we’ve found include:

  • Cody: Remember how we just noted that working out with a friend is better than going it alone? Cody is a fitness app that can connect you to your local, and not so local, fitness community. Think of it as Facebook for fitness. Your on-app friends can like your achievements and cheer you on to accomplish more. You can also track your own progress and stay motivated by seeing where you were a week or month before. Cody is free for Apple device users.
  • Fitness Fast: This iOS app costs just $0.99 and comes with pre-loaded exercises to help you determine the best ones for specific muscle groups. You can also customize it with your own workout routines. You can add photos to track your own physical progress and use its tracker features to keep up with your sleep, nutrition, and workout schedule.
  • Pact: Money is a strong motivator for a lot of people. With the Pact app, available for both iOS and Android, you can actually pledge certain amounts of money to encourage yourself to exercise within set parameters. Members who don’t keep up with their goals pay up and those who do can earn extra cash.
  • CARROTfit: Other people respond to sarcasm and judgment. If you like humor and a daily dose of snark, this might be a great way to get you off your couch and outside for a walk or to the gym. Of course, we have to caution that this fun app might not be motivational for someone who isn’t prepared for ridicule or bribery. It costs $1.99 and is available for Apple devices.
  • Human: Fitness doesn’t have to be confined to the gym or take up too much time in your already busy day. This fitness app takes a more casual approach by encouraging you to spend just 30 minutes a day getting activity in whatever way fits your needs. It will track your movements and let you know when you’ve done something for 30 total minutes. It is free for iOs.
  • The Walk: Here’s a fun idea: turn your walk around the neighborhood into a thrilling real life video game. It tracks your steps like a regular pedometer but also takes you through a scenario where you, the hero, save the world by traveling long distances. You pick the episode; the game reveals clues along the way. How fun does that sound? It costs $2.99 and is available for Android and Apple.
  • RunKeeper: Who are we to argue with popularity? Millions of users can’t be wrong. This fitness app keeps your personal stats and presents them to you so they are easy to access while on the run. It also lets you share photos that you take on your route so you can share your own inspiration with the community of runners using the app. It is free for all platforms.

Studies support the use of fitness apps

We aren’t the only ones who see the benefits of using fitness apps to keep you motivated and active. A study by the University of Washington in July of 2014 determined that users were far more engaged with their own workout routines if they could see their results in a visual way.

The prevalence of smart phones and tracking apps is giving people more access to success than they had in the past. Tracking these stats doesn’t just record information for posterity. They provide a literal map to follow for continued success. An example from the study showed that one participant would generally walk if a location was less than three miles. Another noticed that he was more active on Tuesdays so it allowed him to evaluate his behavior to learn why.

Computer Science and Engineering doctoral candidate Daniel Epstein explains:

“Discovery about your patterns and habits happens when you see something you weren’t expecting to see. Some participants already had an intuition about patterns in their lives, but it hit home for them when we started showing the supporting data to them in a visual way.”

Start downloading those fitness apps and use them to encourage your fitness goals in 2015.

We want to hear from you. Have you discovered a favorite fitness app that you would recommend to friends?

Image by Nicola via Flickr

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