BEST FOR: Learning A New Language
When most people say they’d like to learn a new language, they’re most likely referring to the spoken kind – but why not try learning a different kind of language? Sign BSL is a free app that essentially acts as a British Sign Language dictionary, using over 20,000 videos to teach you the key words and phrases you need to pick up the language. And once you’ve got the basics down? Follow Sign Island on Instagram, who post daily fingerspelling challenges and a ‘Sign of the Day’ – you’ll be able to follow a sign conversation in no time.
BEST FOR: Doing Something Philanthropic
Want to do a good deed before the year ends, but not sure where to start? There’s a number of great apps that help you ‘microvolunteer’ – we wrote about the best ones here. But our favourite? Be My Eyes – a really simple way to help people in need, this app allows anyone with a phone to help the visually impaired with everything from deciphering between a blue and yellow jumper, to reading post or expiry dates on food. All you have to do is download the app, enter your phone number, and when someone needs your help, you’ll get a video call notification. It’s as easy as that.
BEST FOR: Becoming An Artist
If you’ve always wanted to know how to draw but aren’t keen on splashing out on expensive lessons, this app is calling your name. How To Draw: With Matt Busch! does pretty much what it says on the tin – Busch is a Hollywood illustrator who’s worked on plenty of cool projects in the entertainment industry, including Star Wars. With his app, he’ll be your personal tutor, teaching you how to ace portrait drawing. Each of the lessons is broken down into 11 easy steps and offers additional tips and tricks along the way. You’ll be an artist in no time.
BEST FOR: Practicing The Art of Mindfulness
All of us have good intentions of relaxing more once the new year rolls around. But do we ever do it? Of course not. We all lead busy lives and sometimes it can be hard to find a moment’s peace in a day. But there’s still time to get a bit of calm in your life. Clementine is made specifically for women and is perfect for those who just need a moment in their busy schedule – whether it’s positivity or a confidence boost, all you need is a couple of minutes and a pair of headphones to get yourself feeling zen. Their short meditation sessions are perfect to help destress those on the go.
BEST FOR: Teaching Yourself An Instrument
Learning an instrument ranks highly as one of those resolutions that people just never follow through. But learning an instrument doesn’t have to mean paying through the nose to learn old music you don’t even like. Music app Yousician teaches you how to play the guitar, piano, bass and even the ukulele through tasks like reading sheet music, learning chords and keeping tempo. The coolest bit is, the app actually listens to you play and gives you real time feedback, just like a music teacher.
BEST FOR: Brushing Up On STEM Skills
When you’re keen to learn a new skill, night classes can be hard if you work a full-time job. But if you’re interested in something technical, Khan Academy’s focus is on STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and offers over 10,000 videos and more than 40,000 interactive practice questions to help you learn more. It also gives you instant feedback and step-by-step hints, letting you study at your own pace.
BEST FOR: Giving The Stock Market A Go
If you fancy yourself as the next Jordan Belfort (minus all the scams and drug addiction, that is), but don’t know a single thing about the stock market, then Tradehero can teach you the basics. And don’t worry, you won’t lose any money – it lets you practice with virtual money, so you can get to know the system free of risk. Once you come to trying the real thing, you’ll be a pro.
BEST FOR: Getting Your Chef Hat On
Some find cooking therapeutic, while others can’t think of anything they’d rather do less when they get home from work. But whipping up delicious meals doesn’t have to be stressful – all you need is an easy-as-anything recipe to follow. Kitchen Stories has been hailed as one of the easiest cooking apps available on your phone. With a huge database of recipes – that only gets bigger by the day – presented as straightforward text, photos and video, making dinner doesn’t get simpler than this. Just browse by theme or country and get cooking.
BEST FOR: Running Your First 5K
It’s always the top of everyone’s resolution list, but the hardest one to follow through with. Luckily, there’s never a bad time to start exercising, and apps like Couch to 5k can help you start your journey. Targeting those beginners who want to train for their first race but aren’t sure where to start, this app only requires you to do 30 minutes of exercise, three times a week, for nine weeks. You’ll be a 5k aficionado by the time the new year rolls around.