Home Chennai Apps that help you kick a habit

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The spot for man’s best friend has been usurped: by the smart phone. Though it can’t give us woofs and licks, it does give us the next best thing: apps to keep us engaged, entertained and in check. And today, with most of us on a self-improvement drive, the handhelds—with apps to tackle most of our vices—are turning out to be a godsend. We take a look at some of the most popular ones:

DuolingoSmoke free
When it comes to kicking that butt, there’s plenty of choice out there—from nicotine patches to e-cigarettes. But we like the Quit It and Kwit apps. Quit It (free for iOS) keeps you updated on how much money you’re saving (by not buying packs), how much tar you’re not consuming and how your health is on the up-swing again. Kwit (free for iOS and Android), on the other hand, has gamified the process. With levels and ranks (60 achievements to unlock in all), it prods you to become the ‘Ultimate Kwitter’. Both apps also give you medals and help you share your stats on social media for those extra ‘likes’. Details: apple.com/itunes

Keep it clean
If your home doesn’t look any better than the local junkyard, then you need to download this app pronto. Unf*ck Your Habitat (`120) calls itself “terrifying motivation for lazy people with messy homes”. With challenges and customisable features, this expletive-laden app makes sure you get your chores done with reminders and some tough love. Available for iOS and Android. Details: apple.com/itunes, play.google.com

Sober up
This one doesn’t have any snappy names to sell itself, but A-CHESS (short for Addiction-Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System) is being touted as a great way to stay sober. The app, developed by the University of Wisconsin, sounds an alert if you come near places you used to frequent that sell/serve alcohol. If you feel tempted to take a swig, it has a panic button that alerts peers on a pre-programmed list. The app also has features to track your progress, give links to online support sites and send reminders to encourage you to stay on track. Details: play.google.com

Boo to boredom
Keep the ‘devil’ at bay by giving your idle mind something to do—like learning a new language. Voted Apple’s ‘2013 App of the Year’, Sleep-CycleDuolingo can help you become a linguistic expert (think Spanish, French, German, etc). And since they have gamified the process—complete with points, leaderboards, and video game “lives”—the app will teach you a new skill and keep you entertained at one go. Free for iOS and Android. Details: apple.com/itunes, play.google.com

Making manicures last
There’s not much you can do to stop a nervous nail biter. We’ve tried everything from nail stains to turpentine! Stop Nail Biting, an iOS app (Rs. 364) comes with a hypnosis recording, which promises to help you kick the habit in your sleep. The audio track supposedly relieves stress, one of the key inducers. The app also has a photo diary, where you can upload photos of your progress for added incentive. Details: apple.com/itunes

Weight watcher
Seesawing is fun only when you’re at the park. In life, stay focussed on your weight with these nifty apps. Nexercise (free for iOS and Android) makes working out fun by gamifying it. You can log in your programme, share with friends and compete. Then there’s Noom Weight (free for iOS and Android), which helps you keep track of your daily calorie intake, maintain exercise logs and share lifestyle strategies with friends. Details: apple.com/itunes, play.google.com

Coffee break
We do encourage you to wake up and smell the coffee, but too much of your favourite beverage can also keep you up, whether you want to or not. Up Coffee (free for iOS) helps you keep a check on your caffeine intake through the day (we are talking about those espressos, energy drinks and chocolate). It will tell you when you’re wired, how long it will take you to fall asleep, and how your body reacts to caffeine (through data-based reports). And as you keep entering your logs, it will also reveal changes in your bedtime habits. Details: apple.com/itunes

Money minder
Does the word spendthrift strike too close to home? Well, this finance managing app allows you to track, budget and manage your money. Once you open an account on Mint (free for iOS), just add your bank, credit, loan and retirement accounts and it will categorise all your transactions—showing you where you’re overspending with handy charts. Once you’ve set your goals for saving, it will help out with tips, advice, reminders and encouragement. Details: apple.com/itunes

Bedtime tales
Say goodbye to sleep-ins and grouchy mornings with Sleep Cycle. The app is many things rolled into one. It tracks sleep pattern and quality (determines which days you sleep best), has a heart rate monitor that measures your Resting Heart Rate (RHR), and also has an alarm that wakes you up when you are sleeping the lightest (so you wake up refreshed). With detailed statistics and sleep graphs for every night, the app has 15 different alarm melodies. At `60 for iOS 5 or later. Details: apple.com/itunes

Smile tracker
Here’s a crime we are all guilty of: slacking when it comes to brushing our teeth. Brush DJ encourages you to brush for an effective length of time by playing two minutes of music. You can also set reminders to brush twice a day, use mouthwash or schedule a visit to the dentist. And if you are someone who forgets to replace your toothbrush, it gives you a reminder every three months. Free for Android and iOS. Details: apple.com/itunes, play.google.com

—Karan Pillai & Surya Praphulla Kumar

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  • http://www.brushdj.com/ Ben Underwood

    Thank you for the kind mention of the free Brush DJ app :)
    Ben
    Dentist/App developer