It’s easy to get sort of jaded about New Year’s resolutions, but we all believe that with some hard work, we can become a better person, and a new year tends to bring that out in people.
Just about everyone wants to get rid of bad habits, improve their career, work out more, or save money. Here’s a series of bots that can help you reach each of these goals.
More suggestions? Ping @kharijohnson on Twitter.
Make good habits, dump bad ones
First on the good habits list is Letz, which was named bot of the year by the Product Hunt community in the Golden Kitty Awards earlier this month.
The productivity app is available on iOS, Android, and the web, and it even has bots on Slack and Facebook Messenger.
Letz helps make sure that the tasks you set actually get done, with the help of its AI assistant Lucy. It follows your location, pings you at times you’re likely to see a notification, and makes sure you don’t forget about items on your to-do list.
Whether your goal is to make good habits or get rid of bad ones, you may want to try out Habitfy. It offers a lot of the features you get with Letz — make routines, start good habits — but a different motivation. When you complete your tasks, points are converted to cash that is donated to Charity:Water. It also comes with 40 habit suggestions, like inbox zero, write a to-do list, code for 30 minutes, or pray.
Use this app with its iMessage app extension and you can share your success streaks and accomplishments with family and friends.
Get fit and lose weight
FitStar Personal Trainer on Google Home delivers seven-minute workouts. It’s one of the 50-odd conversations actions (like Alexa skills) made available for Google Home in recent weeks. This action is an awful lot like the Alexa skill seven-minute Workout that follows the same approach: push-ups, jumping jacks, wall squats, and other exercises that require no equipment. It’s disappointing that this action makes no connection to the FitStar Personal Trainer apps for workout routines, however.
Fitbit on Alexa will tell you things like the number of steps you take a day, how much sleep you got last night, or the number of calories you need to burn to reach your goal. What Fitbit can’t do is put any of that data into context or offer proactive advise, like telling you it’s time to go to bed. It’s a standout skill, one of the best of 2016, but it is by no means a coach.
For food and cooking, the Allrecipes skill has more 60,000 recipes. You can ask for a certain recipe or just tell the skill what ingredients you have on hand, and it will tell you what you can create. If you like a recipe, you can ask the skill to send it to your Alexa app.
For meal tracking and nutritional data about more than 20,000 different foods, try the Track by Nutritionix Alexa skill.
Manage your personal finances
If your goal this year is to be smart with your money, you may want to start with a little subscription spring cleaning. Trim scans your bank account to find your subscriptions, and if you choose to jettison any of them, will take care of it for you. Doing so has helped people save millions of dollars since the bot launched earlier this year, CEO amd cocreator Thomas Smyth told VentureBeat in a phone interview.
Trim was one of the few Facebook Messenger bots highlighted this year by the Messenger team, both on the company’s blog and in the recommended bots section in the search function on Messenger.
Trim also has a chatbot with the ability to negotiate a lower payment with Comcast, a company with a reputation for the absolute worst customer service. To keep your blood pressure in check, Trim lets you play Snake, Tetris, or other games while you watch the bot negotiate your monthly fee.
Also in this category is Kasisto’s MyKAI, an AI assistant for personal finance with the ability to answer more than 1,000 different questions about your money, and financial education in general — everything from “What is stock?” to “How much did I spend eating out last week?” KAI Banking has been adopted by banks in Singapore, Canada, and India, as well as by the startup Varo Money and soon MasterCard.
Digit is another awesome automation option for your personal finances. In September, Digit CEO Ethan Bloch said his company has helped people save $230 million thus far. It uses an algorithm to figure out how much money it can put into a savings account based on your spending habits, so that saving money has as little bite as possible. Bloch wondered aloud why every bank doesn’t offer this service, and I’m starting to wonder the same.
Improve your career
If your New Year’s resolution is work-oriented, you may want to consider CareerLark. This Slack bot solicits brief feedback from your manager and is designed to improve your talents and skills.
Are you a project manager or executive? You might want to consider Polly or Growbot. Polly gives you the ability to poll your team and get their opinions on things like team happiness and product quality. From former Microsoft engineers, Polly is the most popular bot in the Slack app directory. It is also one of a handful of startups championed by Slack, and it was the first bot referenced at the launch of Microsoft Teams last month.
Growbot makes it easy to give kudos to an employee for a job well done. Those kudos, in the form of emojis, can add up to bonuses, like Uber rides.
The common trait between CareerLark, Polly, and Growbot is that all three practice some kind of micro-feedback, asking employers, managers, or teammates to take a minute out of their day to recognize a coworker. If part of the purpose of the Slack bot platform is to create positive company culture, these bots fit the bill.
Finally, if you’re going to make it through this year, you’re going to need a little chill — or a whole lot, depending on the day.
Enter Pepper:ai, a Facebook Messenger bot that takes your daily emotional temperature, an act that helps you measure your emotional state over time.
There’s also meditation assistant Headspace, which is now available for Google Home.