With the blank slate of a New Year ahead of us, it’s only natural to think about getting organized with your personal (and professional!) goals. Pen and paper checklists are certainly a gold standard for feeling accomplished as you move from one task to the next; having a helpful digital companion can help you stay on track, making goal setting a bit more do-able, measurable, and dare I say? Fun!
While setting goals is a healthy, productive way to launch into a new year, it’s important to remember two things:
- Smaller goals are more realistically attainable than larger, aspirational goals.
- Goal setting isn’t about the tool you use, but instead about the time you carve out to plan and reflect.
Creating some space and starting with small, concrete steps will lead you on a path towards greater success. If you’re considering looking for a digital, portable tool to help you keep your goals in check, here are 4 options to help you get started—and with anything you download to your phone, be sure to familiarize yourself with each app’s privacy features and settings prior to downloading.
Strides offers a beautiful interface with the ability to track progressive goals. Strides offers four unique ways to track your goals from visualizing your budget goals to managing specific project details. What I like about Strides are the motivating progress bars that help me see where I’m at in relation to my goal along with its daily focus goals to help me stay on track both in the moment and long-term.
Cost: Free for the basic app; subscription options for enhanced features will run you $4.99/month or $29.99/year. There’s also a nifty “life-time” purchase of $79.99.
Part task-manager, part habit tracker (those mid-afternoon walks sure add up!), Toodledo is a nicely designed (though a bit busy) tool to help you create, track, and manage goals. What’s effective about Toodledo is that you can really find yourself living in your Goal Management tool—its ability to track lists (Costco Runs and Blog Post Reminders all in the same tool!) is certainly handy though some folks might prefer to keep sundry runs and goal management in two separate lanes.
Cost: Free with in-app purchases.
Each step forward, no matter how big, is a step in the right direction. ATracker is an awesome productivity tool that, with a simple click, provides insights into how exactly you spend your time. When you’re stuck in a job search or not meeting your health goals (even though you SWEAR you worked out seven times this week already!) this tool gives you the ability to easily see how much time you TRULY spent on your activities. This visualization can really help you track themes and notice what times of day you may be the most productive or identify pockets of time that could be better utilized.
Cost: Free but they also offer a lifetime subscription at $4.99 with some nifty integrations.
I saved my personal favorite for last: Notion. It’s amazing how much I live in Notion—across client work, my personal life, tracking my own accomplishments, year in reviews, and goals…I learned about this productivity tool when I started consulting and this Notion goes far beyond goal-setting and tracking through its wonderful UI and ease-of-use. Notion is also fantastic at helping improve organization and communication across businesses and remote collaborators as well. Notion creates your very own intranet for your life. From building simple budgets to logging and roadmapping professional achievements (I will write about this in future 2023 article!), Notion is an awesome way to help you reach your goals and track your everyday successes.
Cost: Free for personal use.
Remember, They’re Just Tools
Apps, widgets, chimes, notifications, and fancy progress bars can really help give us a gentle push towards visualizing our goals but it’s equally important to remember that all these tools are just that, tools. The real work is dedicating time to remembering what you accomplished along with thinking about what you’d like to do next as the year gets off to a start.
As I wrapped up 2022, I dedicated a few hours in the quieter last week of the month to dive into a year-end-review using Notion. The tool gave me the space to articulate and realize my wins (and losses) along with projects that I may have forgotten about if I didn’t give myself a small window of time to sit and reflect. Yes, the tool made the reflection task easier, but I had to carve out the time to sit and do the actual reflection.
Sometimes fear of disappointment of what we didn’t accomplish or pressure to think about what on earth we want to accomplish next can make us simply stand up, walk away, and turn on Netflix…but with Netflix now streaming on-demand workouts, goal setting is certainly encroaching all of our nooks and crannies.
Hopefully this list of tools can you help minimize the distraction to reflect upon the great things you DID accomplish in 2022 and help you choose one small (but yet great) item to accomplish in 2023. Good luck!