01 Feb 5 Apps For The Busy, Goal-Oriented Millennial
The hardest thing about life is that no one really tells you how to be good at it.
If you’re lucky as a child you have great parents or caregivers that teach you more than basic survival skills. If your parents taught you skills for managing finances, eating healthy, taking care of a home and interpersonal relationships, you’re ahead of many of your peers.
Most of us aren’t taught a lot of the things that we face as we start growing older. We’re taken care of until a certain age and then thrown out into the world expected to quickly learn how to adult. But the truth is, adulting is hard.
Here is a list of apps and services I use that make adulthood a little bit easier. Because if you’re a millennial with a busy social calendar and a long goal list, you probably don’t have a lot of time to do things the old-fashioned way.
I signed up for LearnVest a little over a year ago. I was hesitant at first because I had used a few other free money management services and found it difficult to stick with any of them. I had basically given up on the idea that anything could help me become financially responsible, and paying $200 plus the $20/month membership fee didn’t seem worth it at first. Why would I want to spend money on some boring money management tool?
It took a lot of consideration but I finally decided to give it a try, which was one of the best ideas I could have made. I’ve saved more money and paid off more debt this year than any other year. It is more expensive than the other apps I mention on this list, but it’s worth every penny. LearnVest assigns you your own personal financial planner. That is a live person who meets with you over the phone to discuss your spending habits, goals and anything else related to your finances. The planner creates an action plan that outlines step-by-step how to achieve these goals. The app allows you to track all of your spending and view trends on a monthly or annual basis. The planner sends you challenges and checks in frequently to see how you’re doing and talk about where you’re doing well and areas for improvement. If financial planning is something that stresses you out, I highly recommended budgeting $20/month for this program if you can afford it.
Eat Healthy and Lose Weight
We all want to look and feel healthy, right? But the truth is as millennials we often fuel ourselves with alcohol, pizza, and french fries because those things make us feel good in-the-moment and we really like that. Sticking to diets on our own is difficult when it seems like everyone around us is eating and drinking as much as they want and doing just fine. Fun fact: “Doing just fine” is harder than it looks. Thankfully, there are a few apps that make it easier.
My Fitness Pal is free calorie counter and food tracking app. I used MFP fairly religiously for a year. I no longer track my meals daily because after 365 days of food tracking I have a pretty good idea of the calorie count and nutritional value of most food. MFP allows you to customize your plan based on your lifestyle and personal health and fitness goals. I wasn’t on a strict diet (my calorie goal was around 1,500 per day for most of the year) and still lost around 8 pounds. That was combined with regular exercise, which you can manually track in MFP or sync with an activity tracking device like Fitbit.
Expand Your Knowledge on Various Topics
If you’re not already listening to podcasts, you’re slowly fading into the minority. Even though they’ve been around for years and I’ve had the app since getting an iPhone five years ago, I didn’t start listening to Podcasts until last year. My brain was definitely missing out.
Whatever your hobbies or interests may be, there’s most likely a podcast on that topic. I personally like to listen to Podcasts as a method of continuing education rather than purely for entertainment purposes. Three of my favorite Podcasts are:
This podcast explores being a woman from every angle. The hosts discuss women’s history and how issues of the past and present affect women today. It may not be progressive enough for some and perhaps too progressive for others, but overall it presents a refreshing perspective that isn’t explored too often in mainstream media or history books.
If you’re a personal growth nerd like me, you’ll probably enjoy the Personality Hacker podcast. According to the website, “Personality Hacker is an organization designed to help people leverage their own mental processes to optimize whatever can be optimized: productivity, communication, job satisfaction, and most importantly – happiness.”
The Freakonomics podcast is hosted by the authors of the New York Times best-selling book of the same name. The podcast “explores the hidden side to everything”, asking questions such as: “Why do people keep having children?”, “Is migration a basic human right?” and “Does religion make you happy?” It is mostly non-biased and tries to explore these questions from multiple perspectives.
Train Your Mind to Focus More and Worry Less
Headspace calls itself “your gym membership for the mind.” It is essentially a meditation app that is free to download. You get ten 10-minute meditation sessions with the free download. For a monthly fee ranging from $6.24-$12.95 per month, you receive access to a host of guided meditation sessions organized by categories such as health, relationships, sports, and performance. It also includes topics designed for practice during daily activities such as cooking, sleeping, running, commuting, and cycling. There is even a session designed for people who have a fear of flying. Adulting is stressful, but Headspace makes it slightly easier to deal with that stress in a healthy way.
Make Friends as an Adult
Meeting people as a grown up is hard, and meeting people who you want to form close relationships with is even harder. Especially if you’re an introvert, like me.
I discovered Meetup.com when I was traveling a couple of years ago and a friend in New York suggested we go to a Meetup event. I had a lot of fun connecting with like-minded young professionals at the event (the free wine was also a perk!) so when I came back to Texas I joined a few Meetup groups in my area. I attended my first Meetup group alone which was terrifying, but it turned out to be a good idea because that’s where I met my boyfriend. Whether you’re looking to network professionally, make new friends, find a romantic partner, or just want to hang out with people who are interested in the same stuff that you’re interested in, Meetup makes it all a thousand times easier.
What apps or services help you deal with the difficult realities of adulthood? Share in the comments!