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Published on June 10, 2020

15 Powerful Tools For Goal Setting

15 Powerful Tools For Goal Setting

It’s obvious that in order to achieve your goals, you’re going to need to set them. However, we tend to forget to use specific tools for goal setting. There are several kinds of tools for you to use, and when leveraged properly they can be just as impactful as setting a goal and striving to achieve it.

The tools presented below are the glue that keeps a goal-setting system together. The more of them you’ve got keeping your system intact, the more valuable it is to have them around. Here are some suggestions for tools and how to get the most out of them.

Why Does Goal Setting Matter?

Before getting into the specific tools for goal setting, it pays to know why it’s worth tracking and setting goals in the first place.

The largest reason to consider tracking and setting goals is the fact that our goals change the older we get. You develop new priorities as you get older, and your goals in your twenties are going to be different than the goals you’ll be setting in your forties or fifties[1].

The fact that your goals are going to be shifting means that it’ll be helpful to have some way of tracking and setting goals. Another way to be looking at this is that setting goals give you a direction to go in life. Similar to a compass, it leads you to your destination in due time. Tracking goals is like a map, and if you know where you are going, it will ensure you are still going the right way and that your pace is still good.

15 Best Tools for Goal Setting

The list of potential tools for goal setting is extensive. From physical objects to apps, you have options to customize your map. Here are my suggestions and how to best leverage them.

Online Resources for Goal Setting

Some people work best when technology is involved to simplify the process. If you’re one of those people, get started with these apps and platforms today.

1. Basecamp

Basecamp

 is a platform created by Google for project management. While it’s built for groups to help organize teams, there are features that help an individual in setting goals.

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Through this tool, you’ll be able to create multiple to-do lists that cover various sections of your life. Better yet, you’re able to set yourself deadlines and assign several goals into those sections. What this does is effectively set milestones for you to complete.

Best of all is that this is free to use so long as you have a Gmail account.

2. Goal Buddy

Another free platform to consider is Goal Buddy. This one is an actual goal-setting system that puts you through the paces to create SMART goals. You can then use the same platform to track your progress and keep yourself focused on the goals ahead.

3. Lifetick

For those considering one of the more in-depth tools for goal setting, Lifetick is a worthwhile option. This app is great for those who don’t know their core values or feel stuck with what to do.

This app dives into identifying your core values and then offers a platform for you to set SMART goals and begin tracking them.

4. Milestone Planner

Milestone Planner

 is a goal-setting platform that makes setting goals and tracking them easier. It gives you an opportunity to brainstorm, visualize, and track your goals all in one.

5. Todoist

To-do lists are powerful as they are like mini-goals that lead into your bigger goals. Todoist is like that, but it allows you the opportunity to set more significant goals as well. That way, you’re able to keep track of what your small goals are leading to without having to set them aside or try to recall it every time because of app limitations.

6. Single Step

Another in-depth app to consider is Single Step as this platform identifies areas in your life that are significant to you and that are worth striving for. The app also gives you graphs, charts, and other visual aids to help you track and moniter progress.

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7. Move Mountains

This platform is an impactful one. Move Mountains is a free platform that offers various courses to help you stay motivated on your goals. It’s ideal for people who need a coach to keep them accountable.

8. Habit List

Another perspective to goals is that goals are nothing more than a build-up of habits. For example, if you want to lose weight, you’ll develop a habit of exercising more or change your eating habits if necessary. Habit List focuses on the habit aspect.

It’s only available on iPhones, but it’s still an intuitive tool for goal setting that’s worth trying if you can.

9. StikK

StikK 

is a platform that adds in some extra accountability for those that need it. Use it for yourself or in a group, and you can begin prioritizing your goals.

On the surface, you can use this for simple tracking and setting of your goals, but where you can get the most out of it is through that extra accountability. StikK makes it easy for you to set your goals in such a way where if you don’t complete the goal in time, you’ll donate money to something.

This is a similar idea to giving money to a friend and asking for it back after you complete your goal within a period of time. But if you don’t complete it in time, they get to keep it. All in all, it adds an extra incentive as no one wants to give money away for free, especially when it can be avoided.

10. Goalscape

Similar to Lifetick, Goalscape offers a more refined and detailed interface for you to look at. It considers all aspects of your life and allows you to prioritize certain aspects. Overall, this provides great information that helps you to visualize what must be done in your life.

Traditional Methods for Goal Setting

Some people prefer to have a constant visual or place to write down their goals. If that’s you, incorporate these materials into your life to make sure you’re setting your goals right.

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1. Post-It Notes

While there are many perks to using online platforms like the ones mentioned above, sometimes you need to go back to traditional methods, and it pays to do so. In this day and age, we are so used to typing things out or using various online tools to enhance our lives.

While that’s great, going back to traditional pen and paper to jot down goals or to-do lists can be just as powerful.

Considering the fact we don’t write as much, there is statistically higher odds of you succeeding when you define goals and write them down[2]. One way to facilitate that is to have some Post-it notes available. They’re small and compact, so they won’t take up much space.

2. A Whiteboard

On a similar note, another helpful tool is a whiteboard. It follows the same principals as the Post-it notes in that you have a surface where you can jot down notes, goals, and ideas easier and can get more creative with it through the form of colored markers.

But one other thing you can do with a whiteboard is better map out your month or a week at a time. What’s nice is that you have a convenient spot to turn back to rather than hopping to various pages on an app or platform.

3. A Journal

Another great tool to consider is a journal. While there are specific journals that you can use, my suggestion is to go with one of the non-goal setting formatted ones. A journal provides an opportunity for you to write more details and to create dedicated sections to particular things using your particular style.

While goal-setting journals are formatted that same way, they often focus on giving you space to write down goals and not much else.

A blank journal can allow you to jot down ideas of what’s working for you and what isn’t. You can use it to record how you feel or maybe jot down quotes that inspire and motivate you.

4. Support System

Apps like StikK or Basecamp work better when you’re with a group. However, a group of friends on their own is just as impactful. A group of friends impacts on your life both directly and indirectly.

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Research shows that those that are in our inner and outer circle do play a role in our overall social behavior[3]. This also includes the goals that you set and your chances of achieving them. If you’re around a group of people who aren’t setting goals, it’s harder for you to achieve them as they are rubbing off on you.

On the other hand, when you have people who care about your goals and are striving to succeed themselves, you’ll find it easier to rely on them and get to where you want to go.

The “One Year From Now” Exercise

This isn’t so much a tool, but a way that can lead into using some of these tools. The whole premise of this exercise is to ask yourself where you want to be one year from now.

This isn’t a broad stroke though. You want to focus on five aspects: your work, home, finances, relationships, and yourself. Some more specific questions to ask in these areas are:

  • Work: What job will you be working? How will you be working towards the life you want?
  • Home: Are you looking to save for a home or buy one? Are you happy with your current living conditions? Are there any home improvement projects you have in mind?
  • Finances: Are there any debts you wish to pay off? Is there something you are saving up for specifically?
  • Relationships: Are you happy with your partner? Have you been thinking of marriage? How much value are you getting from the closest relationships you have right now?
  • Yourself: How do you want to feel one year from now? What parts of your personality do you want to develop?

The idea with this exercise is to jot down enough to create a plan for where you’ll be in the future. From there you can narrow it down to monthly goals and daily tasks.

Final Thoughts

Technology has opened up the gateway for many ways for us to set and track goals, but it never hurts to go back to basics and use the traditional methods. Regardless of what tools for goal setting you want to use, both digital and non-digital tools are impactful and have their roles to play. All that matters is that you use the best tool for you get started on your goals today.

More Tips on Goal Setting

Featured photo credit: freestocks via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on September 24, 2020

How to Take Advantage of the 80 20 Rule to Succeed in Life

How to Take Advantage of the 80 20 Rule to Succeed in Life

The world of productivity has several hacks or tricks to help you manage your time: to-do lists, the Pomodoro Technique, Parkinson’s Law… All of these strategies are great strategies in their own way, but one strategy stands above all the others: the 80 20 rule.

This particular strategy has been used the most and is regarded as the most helpful in developing time management and other concepts in life.

But what’s so special about this rule? How does it give you success and how do you use it? Let’s explore the specifics.

What Is the 80 20 Rule?

Many people regard this rule as the 80 20 rule, but it has a proper name: the Pareto Principle[1]. The principle was named after its founder,  the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, in 1895. Pareto noticed that people in society were divided into two categories:

  • The “vital few,” which consisted of the top 20 percent with respect to money and influence.
  • The “trivial many,” otherwise known as the bottom 80 percent.

As he researched this further, he came to discover that this divide didn’t apply only to money and influence, but other areas, too. Virtually all economic activity was subject to his previous observation.

He observed that 80% of Italy’s wealth at the time was controlled by only 20% of the population.

Since the development of this rule, humankind has used this particular ratio in all kinds of situations. Even if the ratio isn’t always exact, we see this rule applied in many industries and in life. Examples are:

  • 20% of sales reps will generate 80% of your total sales.
  • 20% of customers account for 80% of total profits.
  • 80% of the revenue will stem from 20% of the workers.

Either way, I’m sure you can piece together why people call this rule the 80 20 rule over Pareto’s Principle[2].

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Make Your Life and Your Business More Efficient with the 80-20 Rule - Salesforce Canada Blog

    In terms of how this particular rule will be able to work for you, it’s a matter of applying this rule to how you spend your time. For us to see success, the goal is simple.

    We need to set it up in such a way that 20% of our input is responsible for 80% of our results.

    Another way to think about it is we use 20% of our time on activities that give us 80% of our results in a given area of life.

    How Does the 80 20 Rule Work?

    To best explain this, let’s visualize a bit.

    In an ideal world:

    • Every employee would contribute the same amount of effort to work.
    • Every feature that’s released for an app or product would be equally loved by users.
    • Each business idea you come up with would be a hit.

    In that scenario, planning would be a breeze. There wouldn’t be any need to analyze anything so long as you put in the effort.

    But that’s not reality.

    Yes, the effort is certainly an element, but what the 80 20 principle states is that everything is unequal. Invest in 10 start-up companies, and you’ll find only a few will pass year two and make it big. You’re in a team of five, and there’ll be one person doing more work than others.

    We wish our lives were always one-for-one in terms of input and output, but that’s simply not true. Understanding this is key to understanding how the 80 20 rule really works.

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    So how does it really work?

    It’s a matter of focusing on what’s giving you the most in your life for little of your time.

    Going back to the few examples I’ve presented above, consider this:

    • If two start-ups you invested in are making it big, focus on having a more direct hand, and see if you can help them prosper more.
    • If 20% of sales reps are giving you 80% of your sales, focus on rewarding those and keeping their spirits high and motivated.

    These scenarios can go on and on, but the idea is to place your efforts on the 20% that is actually making the difference in your life. Another term that’s good to know is the diminishing marginal utility[3].

    Pareto didn’t come up with this one, but the law goes as follows: each extra hour of effort or worker will add less “oomph” to your finished results.

    Eventually, you’ll hit a point where you will spend a lot of time on small and unimportant details, similar to perfectionism.

    So before hitting that point, you want to have a laser focus on the most important details, from family and relationships to your work or business. Prioritize the activities that are going to move you forward the most, and be wary of adding extra time, effort, or more hands into those particular tasks moving forward.

    How to Take Advantage of the 80 20 Rule

    So now that you have an understanding of the 80 20 rule and how it works, what is the best way to take advantage of it?

    Depending on where you are applying this rule, this can be used in all kinds of fashions.

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    For example, you can apply this rule to goal setting, as demonstrated by Brian Tracy in this video:

    Or you can apply it in terms of general productivity as explained in this article: What Is the 80 20 Rule (And How to Use It to Boost Productivity)

    The core of this rule is that it forces us to ask ourselves the questions we wouldn’t consider otherwise. It helps us to place our focus in the right places with regards to all things in life.

    In short, the 80 20 rule places us in charge of our lives and helps us set out on our goals and dreams. With this in mind, here are some things you can consider concerning this rule.

    1. Focus on Your Big Tasks First

    While this is the essence of the 80 20 rule, it’s still worth mentioning. Why? Because so many of us feel intimidated by the biggest task. We instinctively avoid it and opt for smaller tasks first.

    We think that if we complete enough small tasks that we will feel motivated to finish that really big one later. But that’s really false hope at work.

    Once we finish off a lot of small tasks, we either feel drained, or we tell ourselves we’ll do this the next day.

    Instead of doing all that, bite the bullet and tackle the largest task first.

    If you need help with prioritization, check out this article.

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    I argue this by challenging you to ask yourself this one question:

    “Is the task I’m about to do the top 20 percent of my activities or the bottom 80 percent?”

    I’m sure you’ve seen time and again you or other workers spending a lot of time on one task for most of the day. In those kinds of grinds, you’re barely getting ahead and have next to nothing to show for it. That’s because they’re putting all their attention on work that’s in the 80 percent.

    It’s normally the big tasks that are part of the 20 percent.

    Another way to think about this is that everything we do starts a habit. If every day we spend our energy on low-value tasks, we will always prioritize those.

    2. Stretch This Into Personal Life

    While I’ve been talking about business and setting goals, remember you can use this in other areas of your life, too.

    Take your personal life and ask yourself some of these questions:

    • How much TV do you watch on a regular basis? What sort of shows are you legitimately into? These questions can help you in recognizing what shows you are watching purely for consumption. By applying the 80 20 rule, you can cut back on Netflix, TV, or YouTube video consumption and prioritize other areas of your life.
    • What does your wardrobe look like in terms of colors? Are there specific colors that you like? Knowing what you wear most times will help you in sorting out your wardrobe significantly. It also saves you time to come up with what to wear every morning.
    • How many newsletters do you actually read? This question can help you in figuring out which newsletters to unsubscribe to and can clear up a lot of space in your inbox. It can also relieve pressure from having to check your emails constantly.
    • How much time do you spend on your phone every day? How much of that time is actually doing something meaningful? These questions can help you in clearing out various apps that aren’t helping you with your goals. In fact, this can curb the need to check your phone constantly.

    Final Thoughts

    The 80 20 rule is the productivity hack that many of us need, and for good reason. As you can tell, it’ll help you to focus and prioritize the more important aspects of your life.

    Not only that, but it’ll maximize those outputs at the same time and ensure you’re not spending too much time working on them. All you need to do is start asking questions and taking action.

    More Techniques to Help You Succeed in Life

    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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