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Reboot Your Life: 18 Free Apps That Make Life Easier

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Goal: Fit Back into Those Skinnies

Your cigarette jeans have been hiding in the far left corner of your closet since New Year's Eve...2012. Fire up your slim-down regimen so you can slip into them stat.

Torch calories with...Nike+ Training Club (available for iPhone and Android phones, nike.com)

Ditch the flab in no time on the newest version, which has more than 100 workouts to choose from, or go for a customized full-body four-week plan. A trainer leads you through the routines, plus you get instructional video clips of the moves. Don't like burpees? The updated app lets you swap drills you hate for ones you love.

Stay on track with...Lose It! (available for iPhone and Android phones, loseit.com)

Research shows that jotting down your eats can put you on the fast track to weight loss. Lose It makes tracking supereasy and discreet. Use the database to quickly log your meals, snacks, and workouts (you choose lists of options), and the app will show you your calorie intake and burn.

Jump-start your motivation with...Fitocracy (available for iPhone and Android phones, fitocracy.com)

Stuck in an exercise rut? Turn your usual routine into a video game-style competition. You rack up points for your sweat sessions; the goal is to score achievement badges and conquer new challenges (think 20 push-ups in a row). Find your friends or make new ones among the million-plus users, and cheer them on or dare them to a race.

Sneak more steps into your day with...Footsteps (iTunes, footsteps.palmshadow.com)

Stay active, even when you can't get to the gym. Aim to hit 10,000 steps a day with this pedometer, which tracks your distance, speed, and calorie burn from morning to night. Set the step tally you would like to hit and get alerts when you've achieved that goal. Use the graph to follow your progress from day to day.

Goal: Eat Healthier at Home

Time to put some distance between you and the pizza-delivery guy. These apps make it easy to turn out low-cal meals even when you're short on time.

Plan your meals with...PepperPlate (available for iPhone and Android phones, pepperplate.com)

Channel your inner foodie with this all-in-one kitchen tool kit: Import recipes from websites, food blogs, or Word documents, then put them in a weekly or monthly menu planner. Tap 'Add to shopping list' and the ingredients appear on your grocery menu. During meal prep, use the app's timers to keep tabs on what's cooking.

Find healthy recipes with...BigOven (available for iPhone and Android phones, bigoven.com)

Cobbling together dinner has never been easier. Plug in as many as three ingredients and this app will generate tasty suggestions from its database of more than 500,000 recipes. Or browse the offerings by category, such as Healthy Recipes, which includes recipes with Weight Watchers points noted and meals based on those from The Biggest Loser.

Shop smarter with...Fooducate (available for iPhone and Android phones, fooducate.com)

Reading food labels is important, but it's also time intensive. Fooducate helps speed things up. Use it to scan an item's bar code, and not only will it offer a quick nutritional rundown, but it will also give the food a grade and highlight important details, such as "Serving size is unusually small." You can tap it to get a better-for-you swap if your pick doesn't rate so well.

Improve your diet with...My Healthy Habits (available for iPhone and Android phones, iuhealth.org/healthyhabits)

Whether you're trying to eat more fruits and veggies or drink more water, this app can help you reach your goal. Choose a habit and the program monitors your progress in 21-day increments, sending out reminders, motivational messages, and tips to help you stay the course.

Goal: Get Your Life in Order

Overwhelmed with all you have to do? Take the crazy out of your crazy-busy schedule.

Cut down on paperwork with...Evernote (available for iPhone and Android phones, evernote.com)

No more searching for a Post-it note or hunting down a favorite website. This app is your digital filing cabinet: Store personal notes, save Web pages for future reference, take and store photos, scan receipts and bills, and log important work documents. Plus your computer and other devices constantly sync up with Evernote, so all of your important info is where you need it.

Tackle to-dos with...Remember the Milk (available for iPhone and Android phones, rememberthemilk.com)

This hyperorganized app can tame even the most insane schedule. Categorize your tasks by priority (bills that are due), day of the week (errands you have to run for your Saturday dinner party), and type (home, work, or personal responsibilities). You can also look up errands by location: If you're in a neighborhood with time to kill, knock out a to-do list that's scheduled for next week. Plus, share that "honey-do" list with your husband so he remembers the milk.

Stay on schedule with...Mynd Calendar (iTunes, myndcalendar.com)

Sure, your phone has a calendar, but this upgrade is worth the download, if only for the cool infograph-like home screen that shows at a glance everything that's on your plate for the day. Besides standard details like time, location, and upcoming special occasions (your anniversary), listings include images of the coworkers or friends you're meeting with (the app syncs to their LinkedIn accounts) as well as current weather info and pertinent Evernote attachments (for instance, the PowerPoint presentation for that afternoon meeting). There's even an automatic reminder for your next appointment, alerting you when to leave based on current traffic conditions.

Clean up your news feed with...Cloze (iTunes, cloze.com)

Love the BuzzFeed links your roommate tweets and New Yorker essays your colleague shares but hate the clutter of random photos and updates that also appear in your news feeds? Tell Cloze whom you really want to keep up with and the app, like a personal editor, will sift through friends' tweets, e-mails, Facebook posts, and other bits of communication. If someone tweets three times, posts on Facebook twice, and shares an article on LinkedIn all in a single day, you can see the activity in one shot on Cloze. Now you can get closer to the people that matter the most to you.

Goal: Have Fun with Friends

Rekindle relationships — real, not virtual. (Remember those?)

Try out a new activity with...Weotta (available for iPhone and Android phones, weotta.com)

Stay in the loop with what's going on in your hood and see what friends are up to. You can search by occasion — girls' night out, first date? — and purchase tickets for events.

Schedule impromptu drinks with...WePopp (available for iPhone and Android phones, wepopp.com)

Want to get your besties together? WePopp delivers invitations via text message, e-mail, or Facebook. It also takes polls, so your pals can weigh in on time and/or location.

Meet the neighbors with...Nextdoor (available for iPhone and Android phones, nextdoor.com)

Just moved in? Skip the casserole swap and start convos by using public posts and private messages and sharing photos of your favorite local occasions (Scandal wine nights and Super Bowl parties) — then ask your new block buddies over the next time you have guests. Other cool features: Find a babysitter at the last minute, organize a neighborhood crime watch, or plan a group yard sale.

Goal: Stop Stressing Over Money

If you hold your breath every time you check your bank-account balance, it's time to get your finances under control for good.

Stay on top of your cash flow with...Mint (available for iPhone, Android, and Windows phones, mint.com)

Watching your bottom line is a cinch with this app. It connects you to your bank, credit cards, 401(k), you name it, and organizes purchases by category — you'll know exactly how much you're shelling out for, say, that daily latte habit or occasional Lululemon splurge. Set a monthly budget and you'll receive reminders and expert advice to help you stay on track.

Score a discount with...RetailMeNot (available for iPhone and Android phones, retailmenot.com)

Why pay full price when coupons are this easy to use? Scroll through thousands of deals, bookmark your favorite stores, or search for steals in workout gear, clothes, electronics, and more. You can even request text alerts for discounts at specific shops so you'll never miss a bargain.

Get out of debt with...ReadyForZero (iTunes, readyforzero.com)

Whether you're paying off credit cards, your mortgage, or a student loan, this app can help you reach your target faster. It analyzes your bank accounts and spending habits to suggest strategies for saving. By using a slider tool, you automatically see how increasing your monthly payments can reduce the amount of time it will take to get in the black.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, February 2014.

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