10 apps to prepare for a successful new year

9 min read

Once again, we find ourselves in the holiday spirit, where the nights are longer, sugar cookies fill our kitchens, and the tunes of "Jingle Bells" ring out from every store. As we get ready to celebrate the end of the year and gather with family for the holidays, let's explore some great apps that can come in handy during these merry times.

The apps will help you set goals and prepare for a successful new year, create a good holiday mood, and build warm connections with the people surrounding you.

1. Decorate your Mac with amazing wallpapers from Wallpaper Wizard

From decorating the Christmas tree to festive activities, it's always fun to get in the holiday spirit. How about decorating your Mac, but not literally? You don't need to order anything from the internet. Just choose a festive wallpaper. There are dozens of images in Wallpaper Wizard, so you'll never have to Google "nice wallpapers" again, even if you want a new desktop every day! Simply open the app and choose a collection that catches your eye, or browse by category and keyword to find the perfect eye candy.

Christmas Traditions wallpapers and backgrounds

You can add wallpapers you like to Roll, choose how often you want them to change, and let the app do its magic.

2. Plan and track tasks in one place with NotePlan

For many people, the end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on their lives and realize where they want to be in the future. However, a New Year's resolution is a tricky beast. You start with good intentions, but by the second week, poof, it's often as forgotten as last year's socks. But 2024, that's your year! You've got the will, you've got the fire!

So, how do you make sure that resolution sticks? Whether you want to make your bed, cook more often, or go to the gym three times a week, building a habit takes commitment. Write everything down and keep track of your journey with a proven New Year's resolution app.

Noteplan is a to-do list, planner, and organizer that helps you manage notes, tasks, and your calendar. It provides all the notes and tasks you need every day in a single view, integrates with your calendar, and supports Markdown.

Noteplan planner and organizer

3. Master your cash flow with Expenses

New year, new financial goals: If you're starting the new year with a list of resolutions, consider adding some financial to-do's. For example, improve your credit score and make a plan to pay off your credit card debt once and for all.

To achieve these goals more easily, try to track your spending with Expenses. Log your expenses and income in any currency, add categories to analyze where your money goes, and view how money is spent over time.

Expenses app

You can use the app on your Mac and iPhone and easily sync between devices through iCloud.

4. Get organized with BusyCal

Getting organized is one of the most common New Year's resolutions. And even if becoming more organized isn't one of your top resolutions for 2024, making your life a little less stressful by getting organized will help you achieve any goal you choose.

By mapping out your goals and tasks on a calendar, whether for a day, a week, or an entire year, you create a visual guide to what you want to accomplish. Putting something in writing makes it more tangible, more real, which can help motivate you to stay on track.

A calendar can also help you manage your time more efficiently. By scheduling activities that support your goals, whether it's time to read, exercise, or work on a specific project, you can hold yourself accountable and make sure you spend enough time on those endeavors.

BusyCal is like Apple Calendar, enhanced with tons of useful stuff. Major improvement: You can see your daily events next to your tasks across all your accounts.

BusyCal calendar

Here are some other reasons to switch to BusyCal: 

  • Fast event entry
  • Super customizable calendar view
  • Weather integration
  • Info panel with all the details you need
  • Menu bar application for a quick overview of upcoming events
  • Integration with all leading cloud services, online conferencing solutions, and more.

5. Motivate yourself with Due

If you like to use upcoming deadlines or treats as motivation for getting work done, Due is the app for you. It allows you to set a countdown timer for each upcoming event so you can see how long is left until the big day, whether that day is a deadline or the date of your flight to a dream holiday. It sends notifications as events approach and allows you to edit the timer's appearance, sound, and other options.

upcoming deadlines

6. Learn to listen to yourself with Diarly

It can be easier to focus on your to-do lists if you start to notice how you feel. When we feel motivated, energetic, or positive, we can take advantage of those feelings and use them to tackle our to-do lists with gusto. On the other hand, when we feel overwhelmed, stressed, or exhausted, it may be a sign that we need to reevaluate our priorities and take a step back.

Diarly is an easy journaling app to try out. You can choose to write anything on a blank page, use Diarly's prompts for guidance, or even get inspired with a daily affirmation.


7. Choose gifts and save time with Hookmark

Gifting can be a way to show that you care about someone or to reflect the care that someone has shown you. But how to choose gifts and not go crazy? 

During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, when you're tracking Santa's sleigh full of holiday deals across various online markets, you may find yourself juggling a sleigh's worth of links in different apps and browsers. Here's a little tip: Keep all your links in one place with Hookmark. You'll love how you can bookmark not only your favorite sites but virtually anything else – from your holiday hosting ideas in the Notes app to your family's gift registry in a spreadsheet.


To add an item to your bookmarks, just open Hookmark's contextual window (Control + H or the menu bar icon) and let the Copy Link command (Command + C) do its magic. 

8. Make memories with Luminar Neo

Pictures, or it didn't happen, right? Seriously, take pictures. You will forget the details over the years unless you have a photo and/or a journal to remind you. Don't feel confident as a photographer? Do your best, and then find a good app to improve your shots.

Luminar Neo provides a set of basic adjustment tools to enhance your photos. Start by adjusting exposure, contrast, and saturation to fine-tune the overall look of your images. It only takes a moment with the Enhance AI feature.

Luminar Neo

You can also get creative with the filters in Luminar Neo. Experiment with filters like Glow to add a magical touch to your photos or Golden Hour to add warmth and charm. These filters can create the mood you want for your New Year's celebration.

9. Start a new tradition with GlueMotion

How about creating an annual time-lapse of your family and your dog decorating a Christmas tree? Yes, there's something special about still photos; they capture a single moment, a snapshot in time if you will, but time-lapse video brings something different to the table.

Time-lapse video captures not just the special moments of the holiday season but the entire joyous journey from the first spark of holiday spirit to the climax of the celebration, creating a fully animated, living history of our favorite holiday experiences.

GlueMotion is an easy-to-use time-lapse maker. Just import a folder of photos, make adjustments (like frame speed, flipping, etc.), and export your time-lapse in the desired format. 

Christmas time-lapse maker

10. Write sparkling holiday emails with Spark Mail

Spread holiday cheer with family, friends, and colleagues by writing holiday emails. Spark's AI-powered email assistant composes personalized emails or replies from scratch! All you need to do is provide the briefest context.

marry Christmas mail

Last thoughts on how to prepare for a successful new year

So there you have it! A list of the things to do and apps to use to prepare for the new year. With the tools mentioned in this article, you can easily track holiday to-dos, write sparkling emails, add jingles to your photos, and so much more. The best part is that all ten apps are available for a free trial on Setapp, a subscription to 240+ apps for daily tasks. So why not give it a try and discover the best way to prepare for the new year? But remember, change starts with you. Let's do it!

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