11 Innovative Ways to Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions

istock
istock

If you want to make 2015 the year your resolutions finally stick, you won’t have to tackle them on your own. Whatever you’re trying to make happen in the New Year, you can get a leg up with some help from technology.

1. Stop Smoking for Good

Quitting smoking is one of the best resolutions anyone can make, but it’s also one of the most difficult to stick to. Enter the Livestrong MyQuit Coach, which helps you create a personal quitting plan whether you prefer to quit cold turkey or reduce your nicotine intake gradually. You can set goals, track your cravings, and even share your progress with your friends on social media for extra support.

2. Find the Right Volunteering Opportunity

The New Year is a great opportunity to make service a priority, and the GiveGab app makes it easier than ever. GiveGab allows you to connect with fellow volunteers and helps you to find opportunities in your area. Connecting with others can keep you motivated and accountable, both of which are key for sticking with your resolutions.

3. Eat Healthier at Home

Whether your resolution is weight loss or mindful eating, Blue Apron can give you the tools to create healthy meals at home. For $60 a week, they’ll send you three recipes (and all the ingredients you need to cook them) for two-person dinners, each containing 700 calories or fewer. You’ll be able to reap the benefits of a home-cooked meal without all the guesswork.

4. Get Serious About Losing Weight

For those whose resolution is serious weight loss, there’s Rise, an app that connects users with their own personal nutritionists. For $10 a week—far less than a traditional nutritionist—you’ll work with a diet coach to create a personalized plan. You can track your meals by sending pictures and descriptions to your coach, who will give you feedback and suggest adjustments as necessary.

5. Stop Wasting Time Online

The Internet is a beautiful thing, but as anyone who’s ever gone down a Wikipedia wormhole while attempting to get work done knows, it can be a major distraction as well. If you have resolved to waste fewer hours procrastinating on the Internet, there’s the Freedom app. For $10, Freedom will block the Internet on your computer for whatever length of time you select.

6. Spend More Quality Time With Friends

Sometimes the resolutions that sound the most pleasurable can be the most difficult to implement. Spending more time with friends and family often takes a backseat to the realities of overbooked schedules. While Doodle, a service that promises to “radically simplify the process of scheduling,” can’t grant you free time, it can seriously reduce the amount of time spent wrestling with calendars. So if you want to make dinner with friends a priority, Doodle uses participants’ reported availability to determine a day and time that works best for everyone.

7. Get Your Finances in Order

The New Year is a great time to get serious about your finances, particularly for those with significant debt. The Pay Off Debt app uses the Snowball Method—paying off smaller debts in full before proceeding to larger ones—and allows you to track past payments, calculate time left in your repayment, and set reminders. For extra motivation, the app will display your progress on a bar graph so you can watch your debt shrink.

8. Put Your Brain to Work

If you’ve resolved to read more, Scribd can make finding books much easier. For $8.99 a month, Scribd gives you unlimited access to its digital library of over 500,000 titles. You’ll never be at a loss for a book that interests you.

9. Organize Your Life

Getting organized is a frequently made (and broken) resolution. Evernote can help make the prospect less daunting. As a virtual workspace platform, Evernote allows you to take notes, clip online articles, and upload photos of physical papers. You can even search for terms in handwritten notes. At the very least, Evernote will help you rid your home of some paper clutter.

10. Live a Greener Life

Going green is a great resolution for your health as well as the environment, but it can be tough to know where to start. With GoodGuide, it’s easy to put your money where your resolution is. Scan the barcode of a product and GoodGuide will tell you its environmental, social, and health impacts.

11. Get in Shape

Being more active and getting healthier go hand-in-hand, and both are resolutions that Basis Peak can help you achieve. The watch-like device tracks your steps, activity, and sleep patterns, and it can even analyze your sweat. Knowledge is power!

This year, you’ll be able to spend more time focusing on your resolutions and less time focusing your camera. Intel® RealSense™ snapshot will let you refocus photos after the fact, proving that hindsight really is 20/20. Learn more here: intel.com.

Alexander Skarsgård Could Have Played Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Larry Busacca, Getty Images
Larry Busacca, Getty Images

Marvel fans may have trouble imagining Thor played by anyone other than Chris Hemsworth, but apparently, Alexander Skarsgård was pretty darn close to getting the role. How close, you ask? He tried on the costume, held the hammer, and even filmed an audition in the garb.

In 2009—just a year after True Blood premiered—the actor told MTV that he met with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and Thor director Kenneth Branagh about the part. “Yeah, I met with Kevin [Feige] a few times and the director,” he said. “There was definitely some truth in that, yeah.”

When the MTV interviewer said he thought the actor had the perfect look to bring Thor to life, Skarsgård simply replied, “So did I.”

But before you start to feel too sorry for Skarsgård, let's not forget the number of impressive roles the True Blood alum has landed. At the moment, he’s playing Perry Wright in HBO’s Big Little Lies, for which he won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe.

As for the Thor role, Hemsworth went on to play the God of Thunder in multiple films, and although his future in the MCU is not certain after Avengers: Endgame, the Australian actor confirmed he’d love to keep playing the character.

Watch the Stranger Things Cast Recap the First Two Seasons in 15 Minutes

Priah Ferguson stars in Stranger Things.
Priah Ferguson stars in Stranger Things.
Netflix

While we can't wait for the third season of Stranger Things to premiere next month, many of us have also probably forgotten what happened in the series' first two seasons—especially the tiniest of details, which might prove to be significant in the upcoming episodes. Coming up with fan theories can get difficult when we can’t remember everything, but watching all 17 episodes before July 4 isn't feasible for everyone. That's why this new video, in which the cast of the Netflix hit provides the ultimate recap, is a lifesaver.

The video features Sadie Sink (Max Mayfield), Noah Schnapp (Will Byers), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson), and Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler) recalling all the key moments of seasons 1 and 2, in just over 15 minutes.

The actors first go through the main characters of the series, explaining how each of them are intertwined, such as Hawkins's sheriff Jim Hopper, and Nancy's then-boyfriend Steve Harrington. They introduce the Upside Down, which Will was trapped in during the majority of the first season, resulting in his mom Joyce relying on a few nontraditional strategies to get him back. The cast also explains who Eleven is and how she's able to help get Will back.

The recap pinpoints all the major moments of the first season, and then goes into the second season, where everything in Hawkins appears to be normal again. The latest season, as the cast recalls, explores Eleven's backstory and introduces new characters like Max Mayfield, Billy Hargrove, Bob Newby, and sadly, the baby Demogorgon named D'Artagnan. The video concludes with the school Snowball dance, but things don't exactly end on a happy note, as the season's final moments show a monster is still very present in Hawkins.

As action-packed as Stranger Things is, a recap like this is truly a must. We'll rewatch it a few times before season 3 debuts on July 4.

[h/t Highsnobiety]

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