'Tis the season for New Year's resolutions. But if you're like many Americans you may have already fallen off the wagon. One study by psychologists at the University of Scranton found that 36 percent of the people who made New Year's resolutions had already broken them by the end of January, and less than half (44 percent) were still going strong in July.
Fortunately, the open source community has created a lot of tools to help you keep your promises to yourself. We last researched these types of open source apps in 2010, so we updated the list for 2012. We found apps to help you improve your financial situation, lose weight and get fit, quit smoking, break a bad computing habit, start your own business, get organized, make better use of your time, take up a new hobby, learn a new language, improve your mind and become more spiritual. At the end, we've also included a list of suggestions for those few people whose resolution is to try out an open source application for the first time.
As usual, feel free to make use of the comments section below to note of other apps we should consider the next time we update this list.
Designed for home users who have "little or no financial experience," Buddi aims to offer all the features most people need while keeping the interface as simple as possible. It tracks account balances, transactions and budget categories, and it creates simple reports. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
This open source Android app lets you track your budget from your smarphone or tablet. Key features include Quicken and CSV import, support for multiple accounts and currencies, recurring transactions, budgets and advanced reports. Operating System: Android
3. HomeBank Now nearly 17 years old, this personal finance solution boasts powerful filtering and graphing tools. It imports and exports data to other financial software, and it offers helpful features like auto-completion, transaction reminders and a "car cost" report that tallies up all your vehicle-related expenses. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
This extremely simple double-entry accounting budget is aimed at home or small business users. The interface is very basic, but the Android support is nice for tracking purchases as you make them. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android
Java-based jGnash offers double-entry accounting for your home finances. It imports data from Quicken and Microsoft Money, and it tracks investments and supports multiple currencies. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
This portfolio manager offers near real-time data from 24 world stock markets. Two features that set this project apart are the cloud-based storage option and the integrated chat capabilities for exchanging tips with other investors. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
This app from KDE claims to be "the BEST Personal Finance Manager for FREE Users, full stop." If you've ever used Quicken or Microsoft Money, you should find it easy to use, and it also imports and exports Quicken files. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
With "all the basic features that 90% of users would want to see in a personal finance application," Money Manager Ex offers a very user-friendly, simple interface. Key capabilities include AES encryption, one-click reporting, the ability to run from a USB drive without an install, depreciation tracking, investment tracking, international support and import from CSV and Quicken file formats. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
StockManiac describes itself as an "investment time machine" for private investors. It tracks transactions and stores documents related to your portfolio, and it makes it easy to track multiple accounts and multiple portfolios. It automatically updates stock prices with Internet data, and it includes a feed reader that lets you keep up on relevant news. Operating System: OS Independent
One of the newer double-entry accounting apps on our list, UnkleBill offers a particularly attractive interface, complete with a cute UnkleBill cartoon character who offers tips and advice for new users. It supports multiple users and multiple accounts, and it creates PDF reports. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
If you're on a restricted calorie diet, this app can help you track the calories in the foods you eat as well as other health data. The link above will take you to the free Web app; you can find the source code at SourceForge. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android, iOS
With a database of nutrition information for 10,000 foods, this app helps you plan meals and count the calories you consume. It also includes a helpful recipe creator and a tool for tracking your body measurements. Operating System: Windows
This app supports multiple diets, including Atkins, Summer Fresh, The Zone and Body for Life. Simply input the diet you're following and your goal. The app calculates how many calories, fat, protein, carbs, etc. you should be eating and then tracks your actual food consumption to see if you are staying on your plan. Operating System: OS Independent
14. My Tracks
This Android app uses your smartphone's GPS to trace your path when you go running, walking, biking or hiking. When you're finished, you can import your time, distance, speed and elevation change to a spreadsheet so that you can track your fitness or share your stats with others. Operating System: OS Independent
Whether you're training for a specific event or just want to track your progress toward a more healthful lifestyle, Sports Tracker makes it easy to set up a plan and track your statistics. It also integrates with several popular heart monitors. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
If you have a Garmin fitness device like the Forerunner or the Edge, this app can retrieve your data and create reports. It also integrates with Google Earth and Google Maps so that you can see where you've been. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
This Linux-only app helps keep you motivated to stop smoking. You tell it the day you quit, and it keeps a running total of how much money you've saved, how much tar you didn't put into your body and how much time you have added to your life expectancy. Operating System: Linux
18. Smoke Reducer
Smoke Reducer keeps track of how long it's been since your last cigarette. It plays an alarm when it's time to smoke again, gradually lengthening out the time between smoking sessions until you stop completely. Operating System: Android