8 Best Self-Improvement Apps to Achieve Your Potential - Deepstash

8 Best Self-Improvement Apps to Achieve Your Potential

How often have you whispered to yourself, "I'm going to start exercising," or "I need to find a better job?" We've all been there, whether it's a New Year's resolution or a heartfelt promise we make to ourselves. But the truth is that most of us struggle to turn these dreams into reality. Despite our best efforts, we often find ourselves falling short, needing more motivation to stay on track, and feeling lost in our quest for self-improvement.

Deepstash Team • 9 minute read

8 Best Self-Improvement Apps to Achieve Your Potential Image

If this sounds familiar, don't feel bad. It's common for many of us to set goals that would improve our lives only to fall short or not follow through. Continuous learning and personal growth are attainable goals. However, sometimes we need a little push, some inspiration, and, yes, an app to keep us motivated to strive for our personal best.

Regardless of age, educational background, or financial situation, everyone can become a better person and improve upon themselves. If you’ve tried to do so in the past and failed miserably, keep trying. For many of us, the key to the self-improvement puzzle has been a daily commitment to using an app. We’ll bring you up to speed with what you need to know about self-improvement tracking and the apps that can help facilitate this process.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Self-Improvement App?

Example of features that aid personal development on the Deepstash App

Self-improvement apps have many benefits, especially for those who desperately want to experience personal growth or growth through following the insights of others or role models but may lack the skills to move forward. After numerous attempts to achieve our goals and getting not much farther than a few days into them before we make excuses about why we’re too busy, or it’s too difficult, many people turn to self-improvement apps and have found success.

These apps got a couple of outstanding traits which we’ve used as the main factors to determine if an app or platform is a viable pick in order to be considered a self-improvement app:

  • They build healthy habits: Bite-sized learning and continuous self-growth are good habits. Self-improvement apps, especially gamified ones, keep users interested and engaged. Gamified elements are a major factor that contribute to making self growth a habit.
  • Convenience and Accessibility: Self-improvement apps allow users to access content anytime, anywhere, and on any device with or without internet connectivity. This convenience means users can engage with learning nuggets during their spare moments, such as commuting or waiting in line, maximizing their time and productivity.
  • They hold users accountable: While you won’t be scolded for not using your self-improvement app, you may feel obligated at first to use it, even when you aren’t in the mood. Many of these apps have features to help users stay accountable, which can provide motivation to use them and a sense of accomplishment when milestones are hit.
  • They provide support and learning: Some apps provide an anonymous community of other users trying to achieve your goals. Many have online forums and discussion boards so users can collaborate or observe each other's progress and achievements and share what works best for them. They are a great way to share information with other like-minded users.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to traditional self-development methods like attending seminars or hiring personal coaches, self-improvement apps often offer more affordable options, including free or low-cost subscriptions. This accessibility democratizes self-improvement, making it more financially feasible for a broader audience.
  • Diverse Content Options: Self-improvement apps often boast extensive libraries covering a wide range of topics, from personal development and mindfulness to professional skills and hobbies. This diversity allows users to explore multiple areas of interest and customize their learning journey according to their evolving needs and aspirations.
  • Personalized Learning Experience: Many self-improvement apps utilize algorithms and user data to tailor content recommendations based on individual preferences, goals, and learning styles. This personalized approach ensures that users receive content relevant to their needs, increasing engagement and effectiveness.

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What is Self-Improvement?

The definition of self-improvement is pretty self-explanatory: Self-improvement is the improvement of one's knowledge, status, or character by one's own efforts. It's the quest to make ourselves better in any and every facet of life.

Self-improvement almost always starts with self-awareness and the ability to transform your habits. If you're serious about transforming your life and improving yourself, you should start with these two articles:

How to Stop Lying to Ourselves: A Call for Self-Awareness: If you're serious about getting better at something, then one of the first steps is to know—in black-and-white terms—where you stand. You need self-awareness before you can achieve self-improvement.

Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead: For most of us, the path to self-improvement starts by setting a specific and actionable goal. What I'm starting to realize, however, is that when it comes to actually getting things done and making progress in the areas that are important to you, there is a much better way to do things. It all comes down to the difference between goals and systems.

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The idea format used by Deepstash is important because it condenses complex concepts and profound thoughts into easy to understand sentences. It makes ideas easier to apply in daily life, helping you to make positive changes and achieve your goals.

8 Best Self-Improvement Apps to Try Out in 2024

Stashy Looking at the 8 picks for the best self improvement apps to try out

You’ll notice that Gamification elements are a very common trait among all these picks, and that’s mostly because gamified mechanics are an outstanding way of enabling the user to track their personal growth progress and remain in control of the input effort and output gains.

There are as many self-improvement and personal development apps as there are reasons to use them. Whether for specific skills, or to end bad habits, there’s an app for it. We’ll try to cover all the bases and present you with some of the best apps that help you become better, but please know that this list of ten isn’t all that’s out there.

Take a look at these gems; maybe one of them will help you kickstart your self-improvement journey.

Deepstash

App screenshots from the Deepstash featuring self improvement features

Deepstash is a Microlearning Platform where Personal Development is the core aspect of every curated idea and digest found on the App. Among the largely increasing landscape of microlearning apps, Deepstash has a unique approach, as users are able to develop a healthy reading habit by microlearning from peer-curated bite-sized learning nuggets, or simply put, cards featuring the key points each person found useful in an article, book, podcast, video or any piece of media.

Through the use of clever gamification features, users are able to track and stay in control over their self-improvement effort as this unique take on personal development and microlearning becomes a great way to spend buffer time and turn it into something productive for at least 5-10 minutes a day. The platform as well as the app feature key ideas across multiple topics ranging from Productivity and Time Management to Leadership, Entrepreneurship, History, Finance and even Love and Exercise.

Over 100k digests like these are focusing on Personal Growth alone while the others are closely related, pooling to over 230k unique and genuine perspectives from each person's personal development journey.

Key features include:

  • Users can level up by completing reading streaks that encourage continuous daily use
  • Curated content that’s current, interesting, and unique
  • Encourages breaking down complex subjects with easy-to-digest microlearning
  • Unlimited access to an ever-expanding pool of community-curated ideas
  • Authoring Tools for users to jot down and publish their own ideas
  • Gamified Progress Tracking & Personalized Stats Profiles for each User
  • Collections focusing on Personal Development Goals

Pricing & Offers:

  • Free App & Lots of Free Content
  • $8.99 Pro plan featuring unlimited convenience features like listening to ideas, stash building & collections
  • One-time purchase option for lifetime access to PRO features

Insight Timer

App screenshots from AppStore for Insight Timer featuring self improvement features

Insight Timer, a meditation app, has one of the largest free guided meditation exercise libraries. For those looking to spend more time on inner reflection, trying to tame their anxious mind, dive into a better night's sleep, or live-stream yoga lessons, this is the app you’ve been looking for.

Insight Timer is free but offers a premium subscription service called Member Plus. Their premium service unlocks thousands of additional meditation tips & courses and allows premium members to download them for offline use.

Users can customize their experience by using meditation times of different lengths and incorporating ambient sounds to suit their preferences. With Insight Timer’s profile hub, tracking meditation time is easy. The hub shows a user’s total meditation time, streaks, and milestones.

Key features include:

  • Allows users to join “clubs” of like-minded people, which offers support and a sense of community
  • A “check-in” feature to build the habit of practicing some form of mindfulness every day
  • Featured events to learn more about how to take care of your mind, spirit, and body
  • Helps users develop a healthy habit of lifelong learning with its varying content and live streams

Pricing & Offers:

  • Free App & Free Content on Web
  • $9.99 Starting Premium Plan
  • Insight Premium Meditation Course Plan at $9.99/month or $59.99/year
  • Family Membership Plan at $89.99/year

Habitica

App screenshots from AppStore for Habitica featuring self improvement features

If you never seem to check off all the boxes on your daily to-do list or have issues getting your tasks done, the Habitica app is a very unique take on time and task management. This gamified task management app is for those who aim to accomplish tasks but never finish them. From drinking more water to exercising more to finishing household chores, Habitica, with its retro RPG elements, allows users to earn points and level up their avatars for each task they complete.

Although a large portion of the app is free, Habitica offers a paid subscription plan to enjoy full functionality. Paid members have access to more gems and hourglasses, a form of in-app currency that allows users to unlock exclusive content.

Gamified learning like this maintains user engagement, encouraging them to return for more. Habitica, with its retro game graphics, appeals to those nostalgic for old-school gaming experiences and encourages daily use.

Key features include:

  • Its retro RPG interface will appeal to users who have a fondness for old-school video games and help to increase engagement
  • With a chat and communities feature, users can gain support from others attempting to improve their daily habits
  • Allows users to set daily tasks, habit tracking, and goal-setting
  • Customizable avatars allow users to be creative and add a fun element to task management

Pricing & Offers:

  • Free App & Many Free features
  • Digital Currency systems for boosts and power-ups in the form of gems
  • Subscription plan starting at $4.99

Duolingo

App screenshots from AppStore for Duolingo featuring self improvement features

Anyone who wants to learn a new language is probably aware of Duolingo. This popular gamified learning platform offers courses in 43 languages and is a fun and interactive way to become a better version of yourself. Duolingo is perfect for teens and adults alike or just anyone looking to improve themselves and create a self-growth plan out of learning a new language. Users can earn gems to unlock exclusive content and hearts that allow for extended play after losing daily access for too many incorrect answers. Duolingo is a good choice for learners with limited spare time as it employs bite-size learning chunks that fit into any schedule.

Free to use, Duolingo does show ads. For an advertisement-free learning experience, users can pay for a monthly or yearly subscription.

One of the better adaptive learning platforms, Duolingo keeps its lessons challenging enough to keep learners motivated while providing personalized feedback to address areas of weakness. Using gamification and continuous learning (since we always have our phones nearby), this language tutor helps to foster daily use.

Key features include:

  • A fun game-like experience that keeps users entertained and engaged
  • Weekly challenges and a leaderboard that encourages friendly competition and encourages daily use
  • Using AI, Duolingo allows adaptive self-development at each user’s own pace
  • An overall fun app that incorporates microlearning to teach users a new language

Pricing & Offers:

  • Interesting Monetization Model for Free users
  • $9.99 starting Subscription plan
  • Pay-for-Convenience microtransactions

Happify

App screenshots from AppStore for Happify featuring self improvement features

Do your self-improvement goals include defeating negative thoughts, breaking bad habits, and reducing stress? Happify has groups of activities and games to help users improve their mental health and uplifting and calming articles to read. Users gain badges upon listening to calming music, reading something positive, or using other features. Happify also has some basic games to play; each one is focused on helping to calm an overactive mind.

Happify has a free version and a paid membership option that unlocks exclusive material.

Users are encouraged to perform tasks like journaling on a specific topic, watching peaceful videos, or playing mind-calming games (such as popping balloons with negative words). Happify aims to use positive reinforcement and carefully picked micro-content to instill happiness.

Key features include:

  • Users can earn badges for completing activities, which helps to celebrate accomplishments
  • Insightful, uplifting articles to keep users focused on positives instead of daily doomscrolling
  • Each track contains bite-size quizzes and games, which helps users digest positivity easily
  • Users can track their progress and monitor changes in their emotional well-being over time

Pricing & Offers:

  • Free App & Plenty of Free resources
  • $14.99 starting Subscription
  • $9.99 Plan for a Coaching Programme

Lumosity

App screenshots from AppStore for Lumosity featuring self improvement features

Using challenging games, Lumosity aims to improve memory, problem-solving, vocabulary, and math skills. What may seem like a fun opportunity is a science-backed lesson that increases a user’s overall knowledge and builds better thinking skills. This popular self-improvement app is an excellent choice for anyone looking to practice spaced repetition and keep their mind sharp, as it helps to retrain our brains using fun-to-play games.

Lumosity is free to use. However, monthly or annual subscriptions are available for full access to all its features and games.

Lumosity offers a wide range of brain training games to help users improve memory, attention, processing speed, and problem-solving skills. It’s a mixture of gamified learning, micro-content, and learning nuggets, all masked with fun and challenging games. Adaptive learning is a big part of what keeps users engaged by addressing weaknesses in a fun way.

Key features include:

  • A unique approach to self-growth through science-based challenging games to help improve brain skills
  • Helps to improve cognitive skills without feeling like “work”
  • Bite-size learning that fits into busy schedules
  • With quick-to-play games, users can kill spare time with daily learning

Pricing & Offers:

  • $11.99 starting Premium Subscription
  • Various Plans and Packages to accommodate different needs
  • Free App and Plenty of Free content available
  • Friendly Freemium Monetization model

MyFitnessPal

App screenshots from AppStore for Myfitnesspal featuring self improvement features

If your self-improvement goals are to count calories, start an exercise routine, and build healthy habits, check out the MyFitnessPal app. By tracking your eating and exercise habits, MyFitnessPal provides all the information you need to stay in shape or maintain your ideal weight. The app provides easy-to-follow meal and exercise plans and a feature to track your sleeping habits. Its dashboard allows users to track their calories, steps taken, and daily weight.

MyFitnessPal offers a free basic version. There is a paid subscription service for an ad-free user experience with full access to all features.

This self-improvement app allows users to make healthy decisions with its wide range of information on nutritional content. Its extensive library of curated content contains meal and workout plans to fit each user’s goals. MyFitnessPal can help keep users accountable with its tracking tools that help them achieve their goals.

Key features include:

  • Message boards help users connect with other health-conscious members and provide a sense of community and belonging
  • Includes forum posts to help educate users by offering healthy, life-changing suggestions
  • It can be paired with other fitness devices and apps, like Fitbit and Apple Watch
  • Progress tracker and goal-setting functions help users stay engaged and committed to their fitness plans

Pricing & Offers:

  • Free Large Glossary of Exercises and Food items to view the stats for
  • Free App with a Freemium Monetization model
  • Multiple Subscription plans starting with $19.99

Headspace

App screenshots from AppStore for Headspace featuring self improvement features

If meditation, mindfulness, and a good night's sleep are your self-improvement goals, Headspace checks all the boxes. This self-help app features mindfulness and meditation exercises and is ideal for those new to mindfulness and guided inner journeys. Offering a good mix of guided meditations, inspiring podcasts, and breathing exercises, Headspace helps users ensure they take the time each day to improve their mental health.

Headspace offers a 7 or 14-day free trial. After this period ends, users can opt for a paid membership.

One of its more beneficial features is the SOS Sessions. These can be utilized during times of high stress or anxiety. These short guided meditations and breathing exercises help users quickly calm their minds and regain focus during stressful situations. Headspace encourages daily use with its “Today” section that recommends short one-minute breathing exercises to help users start their days off on the right foot.

Key features include:

  • Encourages daily use with its many guided meditations
  • Its stats feature allows for easy access to the user’s progress
  • Has a buddy feature that allows users to share their goals and accomplishments
  • An excellent app for anyone looking to increase mindfulness, learn about meditation, and other healthy stress-relieving techniques

Pricing & Offers:

  • $12.99 Starting Subscription to access the app’s content
  • 14/7-day Free Trial if opting for a yearly/monthly plan

How to Notice and Track the Efficiency of a Self-Improvement App

These are some great picks that stand out as having some unique takes on self-development through different mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics. However, it is hard to say which one is the best as there is no one app fits all, no app covers all aspects of self-development, especially since this concept is so broad. However, besides some of the deciding factors we’ve presented at the beginning, here’s some tips from the Deepstash team on how to find and determine if the app you chose to use does its thing:

  1. Set Clear Goals: For example, if your goal is to improve your productivity, you might set a specific target, such as reducing procrastination by 25% within the next month. Having a clear, measurable goal provides a benchmark for tracking progress.
  2. Utilize Progress Tracking Features: In a productivity app, you could track completed tasks, time spent on different activities, or even your focus levels throughout the day. Seeing your tasks checked off or your focus time increase can provide tangible evidence of your progress.
  3. Make use of the Gamified Elements: Imagine earning experience points for every completed task in your self-improvement app. As you accumulate points, you level up, unlocking new features or rewards. Additionally, competing with friends or participating in challenges can add a competitive yet fun aspect to your journey.
  4. Reflect Regularly: Utilize journaling or create notes of your own in your self-improvement app to reflect on your productivity journey. For instance, you might answer questions like "What was my most productive moment today?" or "What obstacles did I face, and how did I overcome them?" Regular reflection helps you identify patterns and areas for improvement.
  5. Leverage Analytics: Analyze the data provided by your app to gain insights into your productivity habits. For example, you might discover that you're most productive during certain times of the day or that specific tasks consistently take longer than expected. Armed with this information, you can adjust your schedule or approach accordingly.
  6. Stay Consistent and Flexible: Make it a habit to review your progress daily or weekly, but don't be afraid to adapt your goals or strategies as needed. For instance, if you find that a particular productivity technique isn't working for you, be open to trying alternative methods until you find what works best.
  7. Celebrate Milestones: When you reach significant milestones, take the time to celebrate your achievements. For example, if you successfully complete a challenging project ahead of schedule, treat yourself to a small reward or share your success with friends or colleagues. Celebrating milestones reinforces your progress and motivates you to keep pushing forward.

Further Exploration: Learn more about Gamified Learning and related Concepts

Self-improvement is a very broad concept at the end of the day, and since we all want to develop in certain ways, explore, and refine certain aspects, any effort for personal growth should be approached with the goal before anything else. On Deepstash, we've handpicked great ideas curated by our users that converge into different aspects of personal development:

  • Productivity Hacks: Productivity is often one of the most sought-after aspects of self-improvement to a point where they are often intertwined. Explore a collection of productivity tips and hacks curated by other users on a similar self-development path.
  • Beat Procrastination: Procrastination is among the driving factors that remind us to become better, more productive, more focused, and more efficient. Find what has helped other users and what tips they found to be the best when fighting procrastination.
  • How To Recover From Burnout: We often reach burnout when personal growth is dwindling, when the will to become better slows down, and we start accepting our failures. Find genuine insights from others and what they found useful when dealing with burnout.
  • Ways to Move Forward When You're Feeling Stuck: Facing roadblocks in your daily life is part of the process of becoming better, self-improving, yet sometimes those are too much. Find useful ideas and insights from other users that made it through and what they found useful.

Apps are perhaps the most accessible medium to practice self-growth and find useful resources as not only you are met with mechanics that facilitate this process, but often you've got access to communities of like-minded people to share your insights with.

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