Are you feeling stuck in your personal progress plan? Do you find yourself, yet again, getting lost in your journey of self-improvement? You're not alone. You, me, and the rest of the human population have a hard time sticking to a commitment to change.
In psychology and behavioral economics, we call it the intention-action gap. It refers to the difference between what people say they would like to do and what they actually do. It's why gyms make most of their money in the month of January when a bunch of us sign up for memberships following the festive season.
Fortunately, there are some good products and tools to help bridge the intention-action gap and to ensure that you actually end up acting on the intentions you set.
Here are five apps that will help you think, move, get organized, and learn something new.
Think With Waking Up
This isn't your average meditation app. While it still provides a plethora of expert-guided meditations intended for audiences at different stages of their meditative journeys, this app is so much more.
The "Theory" tab is my favorite. Here, you will find profound insights (some as short as a couple minutes) into things like the idea of a "self," the mind, emotions, and even free will. All underpinned with a real foundation in psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience.
Why it works: The app uses the power of a nudge (via short daily prompts, catchy one-liners, etc.) to gently bring your attention to the present moment -- and then tells you what to do with it. Less work for you, more benefit.
Get Organized With Evernote
Evernote advertises itself as "your second brain" -- and for good reason.
Imagine all the loose ends floating around in your brain -- to-do lists, reminders, ideas, meetings, plans -- neatly tied and displayed on an aesthetically pleasing, easily accessible, and quickly modifiable 2-D surface. That's Evernote.
Why it works: By jotting down all the goings-on in your life in one place, you're outsourcing cognitive function from your brain to an external entity. This means more brain space for better focus, time-management, and memory.
Not to mention, thanks to our innate ability for spatial organization, having Evernote organize all aspects of life in neat visual quadrants means a stronger visual working memory and more accurate recall.
Move With Nike Training Club
No gym, no equipment, and no plan needed. All you have to do is show up -- in the comfort of your own home.
This app lets you pick the area of your body you want to work on, the challenge level, and how much time you have to spare. No time to go to the gym? Why not do a quick, 10-minute ab workout, or unwind with 15 minutes of chilled-out yoga?
Why it works: Little to no prep needed means there is less cognitive load on your brain. When your brain doesn't have to think too hard about how to get started, actually getting started becomes that much easier.
Learn With Duolingo
With more than 41 languages on offer, Duolingo takes you on a comprehensive language tour that is sympathetic to your needs.
It uses all the necessary ingredients to get the reward system in your brain firing and eager to come back for more: storytelling for our narrative bias, a leaderboard for some healthy competition, cognitive variety for better memory consolidation. Give it a month, and vous êtes un expert!
Why it works: Variety is more memorable. Consolidating learning through stories, character development, reading, writing, speaking, and listening means you'll remember everything better. And learn the language quicker.