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New Year, New Goals: Goal Setting 101

With a new year comes new goals. It’s a fresh start to channel energy towards where it is most valued, needed, and appropriate. However, creating goals AND actually following through with them can be difficult. Sometimes it gets hard to keep powering through and work towards what you want for yourself. Keep reading to find out effective goal setting methods, the methods to stay on track, and the best apps for sticking to your timelines.

An Effective Goal Setting Technique - SMART Goals

The first thing to keep in mind when setting goals is to follow a process. According to the New York Times article, How to Make (and Keep) a New Year’s Resolution, it is best to follow the SMART goal system. Setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals are helpful because they provide clarity on what to work towards. Specificity will allow for a clear idea on what exactly you want to gain and being able to measure progress can serve as a motivator. Knowing that the goal is achievable provides knowledge that it is possible and having a relevant goal will ensure that the goal serves purpose. Lastly, sticking to a certain timeline forces you to check off milestones in progress.

Methods to Stay on Track - Timelines, Progress Checks, and Reminders

Once you set your goals, it can be difficult to stick to them. Three great methods to ensure that you go through with the goals you set are to use timelines, progress checks, and reminders.

1. Timelines

When setting your goal(s), make sure they stick to the time-bound aspect of the SMART method by writing out a timeline. Noting down important dates by which you want to achieve certain parts of your goal can motivate you to make sure you are working towards completing them in time and staying on track to achieve them.

2. Progress Checks

Choosing to set aside certain times to reflect on the progress you are making to reach your goals can help you realize if the methods you are taking are effective, help you notice if you need to make any changes, and encourage you to look back on the work you have done.

3. Reminders

Utilizing widgets on your phone screen with reminders of what you want to accomplish is a great way to stay on top of your progress towards your goal because it is something you will always see when you unlock your phone. In addition, having a “Notes Page” widget or another app can serve as a reminder of your progress for you to see on a device you use often.

Best Apps for Goal Setting

According to an article from Bustle titled The 14 Best Goal-Setting Apps To Keep You On Track, there are several apps that focus on different areas to help you reach your goals. A few apps from this article are highlighted below, but you can read more about the other apps here:

1. Habit Tracker

A free app for both Apple and Android that allows for you to track your progress on your goals (personal, career, physical health), set reminders, and celebrate your achievements.

2. Way of Life

An app that allows you to set simple goals and verify progress through a color coded system. It is a free app for both Apple and Android.

3. Habitica

This free app for both Apple and Android is a little different. It will ensure you are working towards your goals by offering both rewards and punishments based on what you are doing (or not doing). Habitica would be extremely helpful for people who struggle to keep going with their goals.

4. Productive

Productive is best for those who are seeking to set routines for their lives and stick to them. It is free for both Apple and Android.

5. Habit Tracker

This app will suggest habits, and let you select additional habits that you want to develop and continue. Over time, Habit Tracker will also provide visuals on how you have been progressing.

With all that being said, good luck with setting and sticking to your goals! It may seem difficult at first, especially when it feels like minimal progress is being made. But remember, there are so many tools, apps and people, who are more than willing to help you and make sure you achieve what you are setting yourself up for!

By Ananya Kanuparthy

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