The 5 Best Ways to Set Goals and 25 Apps for Tracking Them

Published on August 9, 2017 by arothstein

Man facing sun with quote "Set a goal that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning"

Tracking progress in school and life is a personal endeavor. It takes motivation and perseverance to set goals and monitor improvement. To be successful, choose important goals for yourself, such as:

When your goal stems from your motivation and intent—rather than from the need to please or impress—you are more likely to achieve it. Setting higher goals that come from your innate desire for self-improvement and sustainable happiness is the best way to create a meaningful life.

To define your personal goals, you need to be introspective…and specific. Identify what you are passionate about. What activities motivate, energize, and excite you? Lasering in on your desires provides you with a sense of purpose.

Try setting the kinds of goals that help you gain insight into your strengths and weaknesses as well as your talents and achievements. This self-knowledge will help you assess, redefine, and adjust your list of goals, and develop one-, three- and even five-year plans for achieving them.

Set Goals the Right Way

Make a list of challenging goals, academic or otherwise. Make a list of easy goals, too. Pick one choice from each. Write it all down and follow these five steps from R. L. Adams.

  1. Set a highly specific goal. Attach a number to it, whether it’s a dollar amount, a number of pushups, a target weight, or how many days it will take to reach the goal.
  2. Create strong-enough reasons. Ask yourself why you want to achieve that goal. What will you get out of it? And why do you want that? And why do you want that as well? Keep going all the way down to the bottom until you have a deep reason like security, family, or freedom.
  3. Develop a thorough plan. Create a roadmap. Even though you won’t know all the steps until you’re in progress, detail out as many as you can.
  4. Take massive action. Eliminate procrastination. See things through. Remember your reasons and use those to keep you on track. Look backward with pride. And don’t let setbacks end your progress—if you fall off the wagon for a while, you shouldn’t assume that means you can’t get back on.
  5. Manage, track, and adjust. Set daily goals and review them every single day. Adjust course if needed. Wanted to save $200 from each paycheck but only $150 is possible? Adjust your goal, then set your daily goals accordingly.

Remember, If you build out a written plan for achieving your goals, you will create a viable direction for achieving the kind of lifestyle you deserve and the happiness that comes from taking action in your own best interest.

25 Apps to Help You Make Checklists, Track Time, and Note Details

Ready to get started? We’ve gathered 25 options if you’d like to use a mobile or online app to track goal achievement and task-management.

  1. Wunderlist
  2. Todoist
  3. OneNote
  4. Centrallo
  5. Pintask
  6. Trello
  7. ToodleDo
  8. Evernote
  9. Any.Do
  10. Things
  11. Nozbe
  13. TickTick
  14. Google Keep
  15. Google Tasks
  16. HabitRPG
  17. MeisterTask
  19. Week Plan
  20. Todo Cloud
  21. TrackingTime
  22. Wrike
  23. 2Do
  24. Firetask
  25. OmniFocus

Zapier has a huge list of the best to-do apps along with details and screenshots which you should check out. Then again, an old-fashioned pen and paper might be what keeps you on the right path. Do what’s right for you.

If you’re looking for inspiration, read about how one Broadview University student, vet tech student Shalayne Luke, achieved her goals…even when she had to work two jobs and an internship.

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