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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 July 10, 2020

Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

Have you ever caught yourself in a daydream where you’ve gone for that upcoming promotion, and you’re now the boss at work? Or how about the one where you’ve summoned up all your courage to quit a job where you’re feeling stuck in your career and live your dream instead? Or when you’ve changed career paths to do what really makes you happy?

Then, you snapped back to reality and realized that you’re not the boss, not living your dream, and not even happy in the career path that you’re on.

Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of individuals who’ve told me they feel stuck in their careers, that something had to change for them to break free and be happy, but they lacked the confidence to take that step. My mission is to make sure that nobody feels stuck in their career because of a momentary lapse in bravery that’s dragged on for too long.

Read on to find out how you can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work. .

Here are my top ten tips for becoming unstuck in your career.

1. Make Time for You

If you’re feeling stuck, frustrated, or unhappy with how your career is panning out, the first step is to work out why.

Maybe you’ve arrived in your current career by accident and haven’t ever made time to deliberately think or plan what you’d love to do and how you’d get there.

Prioritizing time to think is the first step you need to take to stop feeling stuck and start getting ahead. Book some time into your day where you can have an uninterrupted meeting with yourself. This is your thinking time.

Work out what makes you happy at work, what doesn’t, and where you might want to go. Decide on the steps you want to take to progress your career in the direction that you want it to take.

For example, are there training days, evening courses, or online learning that you can do? Have you considered getting a mentor to help you get ahead?

By booking in a meeting with yourself, it signals it’s important (to you and your colleagues) and also stops others spotting a gap in your day and filling it with a meeting.

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2. Grow Your Network Before You Need It

Who you know is more important than what you know for career progression. Don’t wait until you’re feeling stuck in your career to start expanding your networks. Do it now.

Adam Grant, the author of Give and Take, says you’re 58% more likely to get a new job through your weak ties than through your strong ones. Your strong ties are those in your immediate circle whom you interact with often. Your weak ties are your friends of friends. They move in different circles to you, they know different people, make different connections, and are more likely to introduce you to new and different opportunities[1].

When I was thinking about setting up my current company, Lucidity, I turned up to every networking event. I drank a lot of coffees with a lot of different people to understand what they did, to ask for advice, to unpick what their problems were, and to look for opportunities for collaboration and connections.

It paid off because, when I launched my business, I let my network know how I could help them, and soon I had my first clients.

Pay attention to building and nurturing your networks and focus on how you can add value to other. That’s where your next career opportunity is most likely to come from.

3. Surround Yourself With People Who Inspire You

According to Tim Ferriss, “You are the average of the five people you most associate with,” and his associations with different people ebbs and flows depending on what he’s working on and trying to achieve[2].

For example, if you are trying to be fitter, it’s easier if you hang around with people who love doing exercise–they help you to up your game.

If you want that promotion, a career change, or to set up your own business, seek out people who are excelling at it already. They’ll have valuable things to teach you about breaking free and getting ahead.

4. Work on Your Personal Brand

Jeff Bezos defines a personal brand as “what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” People will talk about you when you are not in the room anyway, so you might as well be deliberate about what you’d like people to say!

Your personal brand isn’t about pretending to be something you’re not. That can actually keep you feeling stuck in your career. It’s really about being your best “real you.” It’s about owning your strengths and being purposeful about how you want to be perceived by others.

What do you want to be known for? By being more deliberate about how you want to come across and what you’re looking for in your career, you’ll increase your chance of attracting the right opportunities.

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Once you’ve given your personal brand some thought, make sure that you show up online. Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? And if you don’t have one, get one. Make sure it communicates what you want to be known for and that it’s consistent with your other social media profiles.

Try these 5 Steps to Master Networking Skills and Perfect Your Personal Branding.

5. Be Accountable

Achieve your career goals faster, and grow and learn by making yourself accountable. Tell other people your goals and a timeline. and have them to hold you accountable.

For example, you might want to get a promotion by the end of the year, have decided the sector you want to move to by the end of the month, or have got your new business idea before the next pay day. Whatever your ambitions are, you can tell a friend or a colleague, or share this with a mentor or a mastermind group.

When we tell other people our goals and intentions, they hold us accountable, and we are more likely to make progress faster.

6. Make Sure Your Values Are Aligned With Your Company’s

All the professional development, goal setting, and networks in the world won’t make you happy if you’re working for a company that ultimately has opposing values to yours.

Figure out what’s important to you in a job. For example, does your company’s product help people live a better life? Do you feel strongly about your company’s ethics and social responsibility? Does the company culture allows employees to be themselves and shine? Or maybe flexible working and more holidays for employees with families is where your heart is?

Some companies put their employees well-being at the core of their business; others put profits first. If you feel that your values don’t match the core values of your employer, it could be a reason why you’re feeling stuck in your career and unhappy.

It’s important to work through this and identify whether it’s the job that is not right for you, or if it’s a great job but the organization or sector is wrong for you.

7. Get out of Your Comfort Zone

Your comfort zone is your safe place. For any change to happen, you have to step out of your comfort zone.

It’s actually much easier not to change anything and to keep grumbling on about how you’re stuck and unhappy in your career than to step outside of your comfort zone to address the fearful unknowns associated with change. It’s part of human nature that we’d put up with the devil we know rather than risk the devil we don’t.

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This is true even if the devil we know is a boring, unfulfilling job because we’re wired to think that making a change to find a better option might actually leave us worse off.

If you feel stuck, it might be that your confidence has got the better of you.

To get ahead at work, start taking small steps outside of your comfort zone. Consider what you’re scared of that is stopping you from making a change. Then, tackle that in small steps.

For example, if you know that to move into the job you want, you’ll have to do more public speaking, but public speaking terrifies you so much it’s stopping you from going for the job, then start small to build your confidence. You can speak up more in team meetings, then slowly build from there.

You might also choose to set up or be part of a specific group. One of my clients, who found that confidence was holding her team back in achieving work goals, set up a “get out of your comfort zone club,” where they challenge and support each other to build their confidence by regularly leaving their comfort zones.

8. Learn to Embrace Failure

Failure is part of life. A New York University study found that children learning to walk averaged 2,368 steps and fell 17 times an hour[3]. Failure is simply the natural path to success.

The truth is that we don’t get everything right the first time. We fail, we learn, we pick ourselves up, and we try again.

In my experience, it’s common that whilst the theory of learning from failure is supported, the reality of being open about failures to enable personal learning is much harder to achieve.

We don’t like to admit that we’ve failed. We have a fight or flight response to failure. It’s a normal gut reaction to ask ourselves: “Will I get away with it if I don’t tell anyone?” We are fearful of criticism, of losing face in front of others, or even being fired for failure.

However, if you’re going to stop feeling stuck in your career, you must be open to learning from failure.

Reframe failure by viewing everything as an experiment because you can’t have a failed experiment—you just learn whether something works or not. Think of Edison inventing the lightbulb, when he said:

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“I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

9. Build Your Resilience

Resilience is the ability to tackle difficulties and setbacks, to bounce back, regroup, and to keep going.

Getting unstuck in your career, taking a different path, and achieving the results you want will take resilience. Having resilience is also the capacity to choose how you respond to the unexpected things that life throws your way and adapt and thrive in times of complex change.

Given that the world we live in is in constant flux, and the only thing that is certain is uncertainty, the ability to adapt and bounce back is an important life skill, as well as a career skill.

In her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth’s research shows that when measuring success, the ability to persevere beats talent every time.

Learn more about how to build resilience in this guide: What Is Resilience and How to Always Be Resilient (Step-By-Step Guide)

10. Ask for Help

It can be hard to ask for help, as it can make us feel vulnerable.

No one person can be expected to have all the answers. That’s why we need a group of people that we can go to for help, people who can pick us up when we have setbacks and also help us to celebrate success.

My advice is to be deliberate about creating your group. You can do that with a tool called a “Me Map”:

  1. Write down all the things that you might need support with, like help with career progression, interview practice, making new connections, talking through business plans, learning from failure, etc.
  2. Next to each thing, write the names of the people you go to when you need that particular thing.
  3. Make sure you get in touch and regularly connect with them.

Final Thoughts

You can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work by applying the tips in this article. Start small by incorporating three new things in your first week, and then adding more as your comfort zone and capacity expands.

Remember, no matter how stuck you feel, it’s never too late to make a change and land the career that you truly want.

More Tips to Stop Feeling Stuck in Your Career

Featured photo credit: NEW DATA SERVICES via unsplash.com

Reference

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