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Android and iOS apps to help change your lifestyle

If you've often felt that you'd like to make some fundamental changes to the way you live, giving up bad habits, taking up good habits, learning something new, getting into a new hobby or just taking more control of life, your tablet and smartphone can be trusty allies.

Here, we've got ten ideas for changing your lifestyle, and a range of ways in which your phone and tablet can help. Where we give examples of apps, they're not the only possibilities – shop around in the app stores to find others.

Manage money

Money can trickle through your fingers like water. A dribble here, a dribble there. It's not easy to keep track of where it all goes. Well, actually, it is easy. You just need a little discipline and a good app. Do you know how much cash you spend on impromptu coffee purchases during the day? On impulse buys as you walk around town? In the pub? On meals out? It's a real pain keeping receipts and writing everything down later, but use an app and you can record as you go. Android users could try Money Dashboard (pictured above), iPhone fans should take a look at Mint Personal Finance. (Note that Mint is US focused for now, so you'll have to be prepared to put up with $ instead of £, but you can still sign up for it, and there are some strong features that are worth checking out here).

Get organised

There are two kinds of people: Organised and disorganised. Regardless of your own natural tendency, it is worth checking out apps that can help you be more organised. Try Evernote for bringing together information on different topics, so everything's at hand when you need it. Indeed, find other similar tools (there are many) and try them. The best of them synchronise across different devices so your info is with you wherever you are and whether you are using tablet, phone or laptop.

Do stuff at the right time

So much to do, so little time. No app can help you squeeze more hours into every day, but plenty of apps can help you avoid frittering away the time you do have.

Try a location aware to-do list manager like Checkmark 2 for iPhone to make sure you do things when you are in the right place – pick up stuff from your favourite deli when you are passing by, remember to collect the dry cleaning, and so on.

Stop smoking

If you want to quit, you may have tried many methods already. A mix of different strategies can help enormously. There are lots of apps that can be used to help you kick the habit. Rather than punish yourself, why not use an app that rewards you? For example Get Rich or Die Smoking on Android will not only tell you how many days you've gone without smoking, it will tally up how many cigarettes you have not had, and how much money you have saved as a result.

Get fitter

Here's the thing – you can't get fitter by thinking about it, only by doing something. Where you start with an app depends on your aspirations and your current fitness level. Keen fitness types can plunge straight in with something like Runkeeper or Map My Run. Beginners will find plenty, as well; how about the NHS's very own Change4Life Couch to 5K app on both iPhone and Android.

Eat healthily

Part and parcel of the whole improved lifestyle thing is to eat more healthily. There are lots of diet-related and healthy eating apps for you to try. The best of these help you with meal choices rather than just being calorie counters. Take a look at the Weight Watchers mobile app on Android and iPhone, and at the NHS Change4Life Smart Recipes app on Android and iPhone for starters.

Read more

The Kindle has a lot to answer for in terms of changing our reading habits, apparently. But you don't need a Kindle device to read books, nor even to read books you've bought through Amazon. Kindle apps (on Android and iOS) will synchronise your library and even synchronise books to the furthest point read so you can pick up reading on a Kindle from where you left off. The same goes for Kobo, another popular e-reader – check out the Kobo apps here. And there are other e-readers out there too, including Google Play Books and services offered by handset makers.

Learn something

Learning goes on throughout life. We don't just mean realising at long last that there's no Father Christmas (sorry if we broke the news, there), we mean learning all kinds of stuff from languages to playing musical instruments, and indeed taking up new hobbies, or even acquiring new skills for work. Use websites to learn in your own, self-guided way, or find more formal courses, many of which might be free. Lots of universities offer courses for free these days, and individuals offer training too. Check the Coursera app on iPhone and Android for starters.

Get out more

There are always lots of things going on around us, but they're easy to miss if you don't hear about them in time. Plenty of apps can help you find things to do in your local area, or further afield. For those on a budget the relatively new Frugl on iPhone is an interesting place to start.

If your desire to do stuff is tempered by a need to spend less, then help is at hand in the form of apps that bring together voucher codes. You'll find in-store discounts as well as money off tickets and events. Saving money in these ways will help you improve your lifestyle by keeping the budget, and the worry levels, down.

Keep calm and carry on

We can't second guess the different ways you might want to improve your own lifestyle but we're pretty sure your tablet or smartphone can help with whatever lifestyle change you want to make. Dig into the app store and find out what's there to help your particular need.