Every January Google Trends shows a spike in people searching for “how to set goals.” Unfortunately, only 8% of people actually manage to keep up with their goals throughout the year. To improve your chances of accomplishing your objectives, you should start using goal setting tools. The market for them is huge, with different tools that help you achieve different things.
You also need a good methodological approach to setting. I recently wrote a book on one of those methodologies called Objectives and Key Results, but different people resonate with different things. So here are a of the most popular and useful goal setting tools you could consider.
Balanced is an iPhone app driven by positive reinforcement. It encourages users to achieve their goals and introduce positive habits into their life. As I think that positive reinforcement is an absolute must when changing habits, this app really gets me. It is designed to motivate and support users to achieve positive and healthy tasks (such as being grateful or exercising more). Users can set their own tasks or chose from an extensive list and decide how often they would like to complete that activity.
I feel this app could also be very helpful for young people with organizing and planning difficulties and for those with limited access to other forms of motivation like social or family support.
Nozbe is a GTD (getting things done) based task management system. It organizes tasks by context in which they are done (e.g., while online, while at the office, while at home etc.). It also works with many third-party applications from e-mail to Evernote or Dropbox.
The Getting Things Done framework is very interesting. The method is based on the idea of moving planned tasks and projects out of the mind by recording them externally and then breaking them into actionable work items. David Allen, author of the framework, offers five steps to “organize the chaos.” While this methodology might not work for everyone, it’s worth a try. The app itself is free but it charges money for syncing information between your devices. It is supported by most devices.
Strides is a goal and habit tracker that uses the SMART goal methodology. It allows you to set goals and asks you to report on the progress you’re making toward your goals. And then Strides presents your data on a dashboard that helps you make better decisions.
You can also set it up to track your bad habits (measuring them x time per day/week/month) to record what you’re doing and see your streaks. This is one of the most in-depth apps for habit tracking and it’s free to use in both mobile and desktop.
Coach.me (previously Lift) is a simple app that let’s you develop new habits and change yourself for the better. In the app you first set the habit you want to achieve and then record your progress. There are many different habits and lists of things you want to stop doing. For example, you may want to start exercising every day, wake up earlier or start practicing a new skill, or perhaps you want to quit smoking or stop eating junk food.
While the app itself is free, you can also hire a personal coach through the app that consults and helps you on your path.
Weekdone is a goal setting and weekly planning app. I uses the popular Objectives and Key Results (OKR) methodology that is used for both personal goal setting and handling company/team objectives. OKR helps you to focus on your most important tasks, increase your productivity and helps to get things done.
In Weekdone, you set your quarterly goals and assign them measurable key results. The app encourages you to update your progress on these key results weekly to make sure you stay on track. You can also use it as a weekly to-do list: recording your plans and marking them done as you go along. It is very good for both team and personal goal setting and is free for single users.
A lot of ways to track goals.
The tools in this article offer different ways to track your goals and form habits. The reason why I choose different approaches was, everyone approaches goal setting a little differently. As the list of available tools is long, it is nearly impossible to use an excuse like “I can’t find the right tool.” The important thing is to stay determined in achieving your goals, finishing your bucket lists and getting things done. Remember, it takes 66 days to form a habit, so quitting your new year goals early February is too soon.