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15 Apps To Train Your Brain

15 Apps To Train Your Brain

As the ever-expanding world of technology mercilessly propels forward, people have begun to urge us to stop and smell the electric current. Every day, we become more dependent on the machines that we created, and it’s easy to condemn the likes of the smart phone for the way in which it transforms so many of us into hunched, shuffling, grunting, zombie-like creatures.

But having your head buried in your phone isn’t always cause for concern, as the brain-training app industry so aptly proves.

The popularity of these applications proves that human beings’ thirst for knowledge and mental well-being is still alive and well, as people seek to give their brain a thorough workout through the medium of smart phone technology.

Only problem is, there’s now a heck of a lot of these apps to choose from, and selecting which one to download can sometimes be the trickiest puzzle of all. Listed below are the main apps that sell themselves on their ability to get the mind sweating, each one reviewed and analysed for your benefit.

1. ReliefLink

ReliefLink doesn’t train your brain in the conventional sense by making you sharper and faster, but rather in a way that soothes the mind, and acts as a conscious, calm digression away from dark thoughts. ReliefLink is focused on improving the mental health of its users who possess troubled minds.

It allows people to log any suicidal thoughts they might have had on any particular day, and hooks them up with a whole host of help numbers and hotlines to prevent tragedy striking.

Offering a variety of soothing exercises that train the brain to steer itself away from the pitfalls of dark ideas, ReliefLink has actually saved lives. If you’re ever in a bad place, it’s an app that really is worth looking up, and you can download it free of charge.

It might just be the best thing you ever do.

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    2. Eidetic

    An incredibly useful app that actively improves users’ memory skills, Eidetic unabashedly throws pieces of information at you at a rapid rate so that you can’t help but remember it.

    Say you need to remember a phone number or date for future reference, all you need to do is enter it into Eidetic, and the app will hit you with constant reminders so that the piece of information remains burned into your memory forever.

    The creators call the technique “spaced repetition” – a startlingly simple and effective way for the user to remember important snippets and facts. You’ll have to fork out $1.99 for the upgraded version, but for the simplistic, limited edition, Eidetic is absolutely free.

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      3. Positive Activity Jackpot

      A simple app with admirable intentions, Positive Activity Jackpot alerts users to all the fun stuff going on in the area around them, and allows them to pull a virtual lever to randomly select an activity to attend or register their interest in.

      Aimed at curing people who are wallowing in depression, Positive Activity Jackpot acts an inspiring app to tentatively push users out of the house and into the world where they can meet other people and partake in activities that’ll boost their serotonin levels.

      Completely free of charge, this app can get you enjoying life again.

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          4. Happify

          Designed specifically to make you feel better about life, Happify does what it says on the tin. The app has become a bit of phenomenon for the way in which it boosts its users’ morale through science-based activities and questionnaires, and claims that the five essential elements of happiness are to Savor, Thank, Aspire, Give and Empathize.

          Available for free on iTunes, Happify is definitely worth a glance at the very least.

          appshappify

            5. CogniFit Brain Fitness

            Another app that prides itself on boosting its users’ cognitive skills, CogniFit Brain Fitness offers a variety of training games, mind-expanding challenges, and the opportunity to communicate with other users through the function of an IM chat system.

            CogniFit Brain Fitness focuses on improving your memory, focus and attention skills through a selection of games made up with vibrant graphics.

            Free from the off, this is definitely another brain-training app worth giving a go.

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              6. Elevate

              Winner of the coveted App of the Year title in 2014, Elevate is certainly one of the snazziest brian-training applications currently out there today. Boasting an intergalactic-like interface, Elevate promises to boost users’ memories, speech skills, number crunching abilities, and general mind speed.

              With more than 25 different games to play on this handsome app, there really is something for all users to enjoy. Available for free in its simplest form, users have the opportunity to upgrade to Elevate PRO for £4.99 a month.

              appelevate-app

                7. Sudoku

                The famous number-grid game in digital form, Sudoku offers users the opportunity to improve their maths skills on the go. Fast, free, and largely absent of bugs and crashes, this a handy little app to keep you occupied on long commutes, although depending on your personality, it can become frustratingly addictive.

                appSudoku-Free-iPad

                  8. Think-O-Meter

                  A little different than ordinary brain-training apps, Think-O-Meter focuses solely on improving the user’s critical thinking skills. Instead of offering a selection of colourful games to play, Think-O-Meter doesn’t fool and around and gets straight to the nitty-gritty of it all – throwing up questions and scenarios for the user to try and solve.

                  After using the app you might find that the skills acquired are able to help you in real life – especially when it comes to the difficult task of decision making.

                  Free to download, Think-O-Meter might be worth a punt if you have a little time on your hands and fancy improving your critical thinking abilities.

                  appthinkometercritical-thinking-university-think-o-meter

                    9. Brain Fitness Pro

                    Brain Fitness Pro makes the bold claim that it is capable of not just making you sharper, but actively boosting your IQ too. Tough and uncompromising, it’s an app that appears to do its statements justice.

                    After just a few thirty minute sessions of brain-tingling exercises, you might find that playing strategic games like chess become much, much easier.

                    Available for anywhere up to £5 in original form, but that’s a small price to pay for the effects on your mind power that this app can have.

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                      10. Brain Trainer Special

                      A mind-boggling assortment of math games, word puzzles and provocative memory sequences, Brain Trainer Special offers what you’d usually expect from a brain-training app, coupled with a sleek interface to boot.

                      Available on Google Play as opposed to iTunes, this is an app that non-Apple users can enjoy to expand their minds.

                      Usually listed with an initial price of around £.99, with optional expansions available.

                      appbrainfitnesspro

                        11. Personal Zen

                        Clinically proven to reduce stress levels, Personal Zen offers some relief for those who have the urge to bite off their own tongue after a horrid day in the office. Operating on a simple, albeit strange principle, this app works by showing two blue faces on a lush, green background – one happy, one angry.

                        The two faces then disappear underneath the blades of grass, and the user’s task is to trace their finger along the same path as the happy face. It may well reduce stress, but Personal Zen is incredibly weird and certainly takes some getting used to.

                        Completely free and offering achievements after high scores, the app has several mental benefits…even if it is a little bizarre.

                        apppersonal-zen

                          12. Lumosity

                          A free app that enhances a user’s brain speed by offering a diverse range of cognitive games, Lumosity creates a brain-training schedule separated into the five categories of Problem Solving, Memory, Attention, Speed, and Flexibility.

                          Designed and developed by an amalgamated team of neuroscientists and psychologists, Lumosity certainly has credibility on its side, and is a widely popular app with more than 70 million users.

                          Challenging, stimulating, and boasting a colourful interface, this is a free app that’s worth your time.

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                            13. Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock

                            A great little app for helping you feel refreshed every single morning, Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock analyzes your REM sleep patterns and prods you awake at just the right time in your snoozing cycle.

                            This is a cracking app for those who have trouble clambering out from under the duvet in the mornings, and allows you to go out into the world and perform at your very best all day long.

                            Available on iTunes. for just £.79.

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                              14. Memory Trainer

                              Available on the Google Play store, Memory Trainer is designed to help you improve your memory skills through a variety of puzzles and mental sweat exercises.

                              Some of the games require you to recall telephone numbers that flash up on screen, whereas others ask the user to find the odd one out.

                              Available for free, Memory Trainer is a great app for those who find themselves stumped when they’re asked to remember specific information.

                              MemoryTrainerbest-apps-for-improving-memory-memory-trainer120508

                                15. 10Plus

                                A brain-training app tailored to the younger generation of smart phone users, 10Plus accentuates and enhances children’s number-crunching skills by way of colourful, engaging cross-puzzles.

                                Made with cartoon graphics to help kids retain interest, 10Plus acts as a race against time against the computer, and ought to act as a fun, stimulating challenge for children who struggle with numbers.

                                Available on iTunes for free.

                                app10plus

                                  Featured photo credit: picjumbo Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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                                  Gareth Lloyd

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                                  Last Updated on September 28, 2020

                                  How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

                                  How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

                                  There’s no denying that goals are necessary. After all, they give life meaning and purpose. However, goals don’t simply achieve themselves—you need to write an action plan to help you reach your goals.

                                  With an action plan, you’ll have a clear idea of how to get where you want to go, what it will take to get there, and how you’ll find the motivation to keep driving forward. Without creating a plan, things have a way of not working out as you waver and get distracted.

                                  With that in mind, here’s how you can set goals and action plans that will help you achieve any personal goal you’ve set.

                                  1. Determine Your “Why”

                                  Here’s a quick experiment for you to try right now: Reflect on the goals you’ve set before. Now, think about the goals you reached and those you didn’t. Hopefully, you’ll notice a common theme here.

                                  The goals you were successful in achieving had a purpose. Those goals you failed to accomplish did not. In other words, you knew why you put these goals in place, which motivated you to follow through.

                                  Simon Sinek, author of Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Finding Purpose for You and Your Team, explains:

                                  “Once you understand your WHY, you’ll be able to clearly articulate what makes you feel fulfilled and to better understand what drives your behavior when you’re at your natural best. When you can do that, you’ll have a point of reference for everything you do going forward.”

                                  That, in turn, enables better decision-making and clearer choices.

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                                  I’ll share with you a recent example of this in my life. Earlier this year, I decided to make my health a bigger priority, specifically losing weight. I set this goal because it gave me more energy at work, improved my sleep, and helped me be a better father—I really didn’t care for all that wheezing every time I played with my kids.

                                  Those factors all gave me a long-term purpose, not a superficial short-term goal like wanting to look good for an event.

                                  Before you start creating an action plan, think about why you’re setting a new goal. Doing so will guide you forward on this journey and give you a North Star to point to when things get hard (and they inevitably will).

                                  2. Write Down Your Goal

                                  If you really want to know how to create an action plan for goals, it’s time to get your goals out of your head and onto a piece of paper. While you can also do this electronically through an app, research has found that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goal if it’s written down[1].

                                  This is especially true for business owners. If they don’t schedule their time, it’ll be scheduled for them.[2]

                                  When you physically write down a goal, you’re accessing the left side of the brain, which is the literal, logical side. As a result, this communicates to your brain that this is something you seriously want to do.

                                  3. Set a SMART Goal

                                  A SMART goal pulls on a popular system in business management[3]. That’s because it ensures the goal you’ve set is both realistic and achievable. It can also be used as a reference to guide you through your action plan.

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                                  Use SMART goals to create a goal action plan.

                                     

                                    By establishing a SMART goal, you can begin to brainstorm the steps, tasks, and tools you’ll need to make your actions effective.

                                    • Specific: You need to have specific ideas about what you want to accomplish. To get started, answer the “W” questions: who, what, where, when, and why.
                                    • Measurable: To make sure you’re meeting the goal, establish tangible metrics to measure your progress. Identify how you’ll collect the data.
                                    • Attainable: Think about the tools or skills needed to reach your goal. If you don’t possess them, figure out how you can attain them.
                                    • Relevant: Why does the goal matter to you? Does it align with other goals? These types of questions can help you determine the goal’s true objective — and whether it’s worth pursuing.
                                    • Time-bound: Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly target, deadlines can motivate us to take action sooner than later.

                                    Learn more about setting a SMRT goal here: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

                                    4. Take One Step at a Time

                                    Have you ever taken a road trip? You most likely had to use a map to navigate from Point A to Point B. The same idea can be applied to an action plan.

                                    Like a map, your action plan needs to include step-by-step instructions on how you’ll reach your goal. In other words, these are mini goals that help you get where you need to go.

                                    For example, if you wanted to lose weight, you’d consider smaller factors like calories consumed and burned, minutes exercised, number of steps walked, and quality of sleep. Each plays a role in weight loss.

                                    This may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it makes your action plan seem less overwhelming and more manageable. Most importantly, it helps you determine the specific actions you need to take at each stage.

                                    5. Order Your Tasks by Priority

                                    With your action steps figured out, you’ll next want to review your list and place your tasks in the order that makes the most sense. This way, you’re kicking things off with the most important step to make the biggest impact, which will ultimately save time.

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                                    For example, if you have a sedentary job and want to lose weight, the first step should be becoming even a little more active. From there, you can add more time to your workout plan.

                                    The next step could be changing your diet, like having a salad before dinner to avoid overeating, or replacing soda with sparkling water.

                                    Learn these tips to prioritize better: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                                    6. Schedule Your Tasks

                                    Setting a deadline for your goal is a must; it prevents you from delaying the start of your action plan. The key, however, is to be realistic. It’s highly unlikely, for example, that you’ll lose 20 pounds within two weeks. It’s even less likely that you’ll keep it off.

                                    What’s more, you should also assign tasks a start and end date for each action step you’ve created, as well as a timeline for when you’ll complete specific tasks. Adding them to your schedule ensures that you stay focused on these tasks when they need to happen, not letting anything else distract you.

                                    For example, if you schedule gym time, you won’t plan anything else during that time frame.

                                    Beware the temptation to double-book yourself—some activities truly can be combined, like a run while talking to a friend, but some can’t. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can both write and catch up on Netflix simultaneously.

                                    While you can use a paper calendar or planner, an online calendar may be a better option. You can use it to set deadlines or reminders for when each step needs to be taken, and it can be shared with other people who need to be in the know (like your running buddy or your mentor).

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                                    7. Stay on Track With Healthy Habits

                                    Without healthy habits, it’s going to be even more challenging to reach your goal. You could hit the gym five days a week, but if you’re grabbing burgers for lunch every day, you’re undoing all your hard work.

                                    Let’s say your goal is more career-oriented, like becoming a better public speaker. If you practice your speeches at Toastmasters meetings but avoid situations where you’ll need to be unrehearsed—like networking gatherings or community meetings—you’re not helping yourself.

                                    You have to think about what will help transform you into the person you want to be, not just what’s easiest or most comfortable.

                                    8. Check off Items as You Go

                                    You may think you’ve spent a lot of time creating lists. Not only do they help make your goals a reality, but lists also keep your action plan organized, create urgency, and help track your progress. Because lists provide structure, they reduce anxiety.

                                    There’s something else special about lists of tasks completed. When you cross off a task in your action plan, your brain releases dopamine[4]. This reward makes you feel good, and you’ll want to repeat this feeling.

                                    If you crossed out on your calendar the days you went to the gym, you’d want to keep experiencing the satisfaction of each bold “X.” That means more motivation to go the gym consistently.

                                    9. Review and Reset as Necessary

                                    Achieving any personal goal is a process. Although it would be great if you could reach a goal overnight, it takes time. Along the way, you may experience setbacks. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, schedule frequent reviews—daily, weekly, or monthly—to see how you’re progressing.

                                    If you aren’t where you’d hoped to be, you may need to alter your action plan. Rework it so you’re able to reach the goal you’ve set.

                                    The Bottom Line

                                    When you want to learn how to set goals and action plans—whether you want to lose weight, learn a new skill, or make more money—you need to create a realistic plan to get you there. It will guide you in establishing realistic steps and time frames to achieve your goal. Best of all, it will keep you on track when you stumble, and we all do.

                                    More on Goal Action Plans

                                    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

                                    Reference

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