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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

15 Powerful Tools For Goal Setting

15 Powerful Tools For Goal Setting
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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

A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up Can’t Focus? The Mistake You’re Making and How to Focus Better 17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

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Last Updated on July 29, 2021

A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success

A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success
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If there was a rule book of life, there would be one particular page that was highlighted, underlined, and titled as most important. It would be the one which told you that you need to master effective goal setting and have an aim in mind before you get on with the process. While there may not be an actual rule book of life, we do have this helpful goal setting guide to offer.

Yes, goal setting is important. In fact, it’s more important than achieving the goal itself. This is because it is the sense of direction that is needed for you to fulfill any task in life.

You don’t have to feel overwhelmed if this sounds new to you, as all the following information has you covered.

Today, you’ll find out all about the importance of goal setting, types of goals, and tips to define realistic goals for yourself!

What Are Goals?

To kick off our goal setting tips guide, you need to first recognize what goals are and how they are different from objectives, dreams, and expectations.

A goal is essentially your aim for the long-term future. It is the bigger umbrella, the main focus.

Objectives, on the other hand, fall under the umbrella of goals. They are the stepping stones that help you achieve your goals[1].

Objects vs goals for goal setting tips

    For example, you may decide you want to learn a new language. Your goal is to be fluent in the new language. Everything you do to achieve this goal, such as the daily tasks and monthly learning aims, are the objectives.

    Similarly, your expectations, visions, and dreams are not your goals. If you wish to learn a new language someday, that is your dream. If you see yourself fluently speaking multiple foreign languages, that is your vision. If you think you’re capable of learning a new language, that is your expectation.

    However, if you aim to fulfill these visions, dreams, and expectations practically, that is your goal.

    Why Is Goal Setting Important?

    Why should you bother with goal setting at all? Wouldn’t it be more convenient to just get on with your daily objectives, follow a dream or vision, and let life take you wherever?

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    While that road can feel exciting and spontaneous, if you actually want to tick off things from your list of goals to achieve, learning how to set goals is necessary.

    Being committed to a goal puts your brain to work in one specific direction. Believe it or not, by having a defined goal, your brain does its magic unconsciously, 24/7, with full efficiency, to achieve the desired results[2].

    Goal setting is important to shift your focus, boost your motivation, and give you a sense of direction. Without formally defining a particular aim that you want to reach, you won’t be able to keep your objectives in line.

    Hence, this one tiny step can end up saving you a lot of hassle and time while also encouraging your productivity.

    Types of Goals

    Before we move onto the technique of setting effective goals, we need to first take a look at all types of goals in this goal setting tips guide.

    These categories will not just help you brainstorm new one for yourself, but it will also guide you to list them down in the right way.

    Time-Based

    One of the two broad categories of goals is based on time. These goals define how far in the future you want to achieve them.

    Daily

    There are certain smaller goals that you can easily achieve in a day or two. In fact, some of these daily goals can be recurring, too. For example, you may want to run for an hour every morning.

    Now, these daily goals can also serve as objectives for a long-term goal. You may be running every day because, in the long-term, you want to increase your stamina.

    Daily goals are highly effective for people who want to improve their mental wellbeing, time management skills, and stress management.

    Short-Term

    Next in line are short-term goals. As you would have already guessed, goal setting in this area is aimed at the near future.

    The great thing about these is that they are generally easier to achieve. This is because short-term goals are set for the foreseeable future. You are aware of the circumstances and have a general idea of how much the situation can change.

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    Just like daily goals, short-term goals may also serve as objectives for a long-term goal. Your short-term goal may be to lose 5 pounds in one month. That could be a goal in itself, or maybe it is just one objective to fulfill your goal to adopt a healthy lifestyle in the next two years.

    Another example of a short-term goal is to fulfill the checklist for promotion within the next 6 months. Or, you may want to reduce your screen time within the coming week.

    Long-Term

    Lastly, we have long-term goals that are meant to be completed over a stretched period.

    Whatever you want to achieve in a later stage of life is a long-term goal. An insurance plan, for example, is a long-term goal.

    Some long-term goals don’t have any time frame at all. They are goals that you want to accomplish at some point in your life. So, something like traveling the whole world is a lifelong goal with no specific time constraint at all.

    There’s one thing about long-term goals that isn’t great.

    They are the hardest to keep up with since you’re not seeing any huge achievements regularly. This may take a toll on your motivation. To tackle this problem, it is best to divide a long-term goal into various, short-term and daily objectives so that you’re always tracking the progress you’re making.

    Life-Based

    Moving forward, you can also start goal setting based on the results you want to achieve instead of the time period.

    Career

    Like most people, you will likely want to succeed and excel in your career. Anything that has to do with this intention, regardless of the time frame, is a career goal. These are usually measurable goals, such as receiving a promotion within two years, finding a job at a certain company within the next six months, etc.

    You can learn more about how to set successful career goals here.

    Personal

    The past few years have all been about emphasizing your personal health. So, when it comes to goals, how can we forget the ones that have to do with our personal gains?

    From health to finances to relationships, everything that brings you happiness and composure as a person is a personal goal. It’s important that these are realistic and attainable goals for your life.

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    Whether you want to get rid of your debt, quit smoking, start a side hustle, have children, or travel the world, all of these goals are personal and very important to have on your list.

    How to Set Goals

    The best way to guarantee the fulfillment of goals is to set them the right way.

    1. Use SMART Goals

    Every goal you define has to be SMART[3].

    SMART stands for:

    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Relevant
    • Time-Bound

    In summary, your specific goals should be very well defined. They shouldn’t be generic or broad, and every detail should be clarified as you’re goal setting. 

    If you want to start running, how often do you want to do it? How long will each session be? For how long will you continue this habit?

    There has to be a connection between your goals and beliefs or you’ll never be able to achieve the results you want. Most importantly, do not be unrealistic. You cannot learn to fly, and forcing yourself to try is only going to demotivate and stress you out.

    2. Prioritize Your Goals

    As you’re looking into how to write goals for the next month or year, it’s likely you’ll come up with more than one. In this case, it’s important to prioritize which are the most important or the ones that have the tightest deadline. This is going to be subjective, as only you know which goals will have the most impact on your life.

    3. Think of Those Around You

    As you’re working on goal setting, keep your loved ones in mind. You may have a partner, children, or employees that depend on you, and you should take them into consideration with your goals. For example, if you set a goal to travel to 10 different countries in the next two years, how will this affect your children?

    If you want to lose 30 pounds this year, is there something your partner can do to support you? S/he will need to be made aware of this before you set off on your weight loss journey.

    4. Take Action

    Setting goals is the first step, but in order to be successful, you have to follow this with action. If you set goals but never act on them, they become dreams. Create an action plan laying out the steps you need to take each day or week in order to achieve your big and small goals.

    You can also check out Lifehack’s free guide: The Dreamers’ Guide for Taking Action and Making Goals Happen. This helpful guide will push you to take action on your goals, so check it out today!

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    5. Don’t Forget the Bigger Picture

    Most people refer to the big picture as their vision. Whether it is the long-term result or the connection of the goal with your desire, keep it in mind to keep yourself from getting distracted.

    You can learn more about creating a vision for your life here.

    I also recommend you to watch this video to learn 7 strategies to set goals effectively:

    How to Reach Your Goals

    You can ensure your progress by following some foolproof tactics. The use of relevant helpful tools can also keep you on the right track.

    Tactics

    One rookie mistake that most people make is that they work on too many goals simultaneously. Create an action plan and focus on one thing at a time.

    Divide your goal into smaller, easily achievable tasks. Taking it one step at a time makes it much easier. However, do not break them down too much. For example, for long-term goals, you should go for weekly checkpoints instead of daily ones.

    Also, keep track of your progress. This will keep you motivated to work harder.

    Tools

    With so many categories of goals and so many aims, it is almost impossible to remember, let alone work, on all of them.

    Luckily, numerous goal tracker apps will help you keep track of your goals, as well as your plan to achieve every single one. Have at least one installed in your smartphone so that your plan is always within reach.

    The Bottom Line

    In conclusion, using a goal setting tips guide is not rocket science. All that it takes is strong will power along with all the knowledge that you’ve learned so far.

    Try out the tactics and goals setting tips mentioned above to be able to set successful goals so that you can achieve the life that you want!

    More Tips on Achieving Success

    Featured photo credit: Danielle MacInnes via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Smart Insights: The difference between marketing objectives and marketing goals?
    [2] Confluence: Goal Setting Theory
    [3] University of California: SMART Goals: A How-To Guide

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