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Best Apps for Setting Goals and Keeping Resolutions

Stay on track with these free goal tracking tools

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Whether you have small, short-term goals or big dreams for your future, the key to achieving them is in regularly reviewing your resolutions so they don't get forgotten (sadly, less than half of people who make New Year Resolutions actually fulfill them). The sites and apps below can increase your odds of success by reminding you of your goals, helping you track them more easily, and providing motivational support.

Joe's Goals

Joe's Goals - goal planning and tracking tool
Screengrab by Melanie Pinola

Joe's Goals is a free daily goal or habit tracking web tool with a simple and pleasant interface. You can create multiple goals and check off each day you accomplish them. A daily score helps you stay motivated, and you can also share your progress with others. Ease of use and simplicity are this tool's key strengths.

  • Best for: keeping track of short term objectives -- things you need or want to do every day or week, such as exercising or writing your daily blog.

43 Things

43 Things - goal setting tool
Screengrab by Melanie Pinola

43 Things is a social goal-making site that helps you create your list of goals, set reminders abolut your resolutions, and connect with others who have similar goals. The community aspect of 43 Things is what makes it shine: you can get inspiration for new goals and adopt others' ideas, send and receive "cheers" for supporting resolutions, add comments and progress updates (the site connects to your Facebook account) and more with the free service. 43 Things is funded by Amazon.com, developed on Ruby on Rails, and made by Robot Co-Op, who also developed other social tools, including 43 Places, a social travel weblog of sorts.

  • Best for: Finding new goal ideas and getting support from the Internet community for achieving difficult goals (like finding a job or quitting smoking). The site also has very interesting statistics on New Year's resolution trends (the 10th top resolution for 2010 is especially interesting and strange, unless, I guess, if you're a 40 year old virgin).

GoalsOnTrack

GoalsOnTrack - goal setting tool
Screengrab by Melanie Pinola

GoalsOnTrack is a robust goal tracking, task management, and time management service positioned as tool for SMART goal setting. Unlike the simpler tools above, GoalsOnTrack lets you add a lot of details about your goals, including categories, deadlines, and motivational photos that can be played in a slideshow to help you "subconsciously find ways to achieve your goals." GoalsOnTrack has an integrated calendar and journal for creating an action plan, as well as an offline planner for printing. Membership is $68 per year, and although the site is designed a bit like a Web infomercial, GoalsOnTrack is BBB accredited and offers a 60-day money back guarantee.

  • Best for: anyone looking for a full-featured goal planning/achievement system.

Lifetick

Lifetick - goal setting tool
Screengrab by Melanie Pinola

Lifetick is like a personal trainer, except for your personal or professional goal achievement. The site provides email reminders, progress charting, and journal tools to help you set and accomplish SMART goals. An additional selling point is Lifetick's accessibility from smartphones, with a mobile Web version for iPhone, Android, and Palm users. The free version, good for trying out the service, supports up to 4 goals, while the paid ($20/year) version allows unlimited goals, the journal tools, and live stats widgets.

  • Best for: using the SMART methodology of goal setting and accessing your goals from a mobile device.

Don't Break The Chain!

Don't Break the Chain - goal setting app
Screengrab by Melanie Pinola

Don't Break the Chain is a simple calendar designed with the Jerry Seinfeld motivation technique in mind. As explained on Lifehacker, Seinfeld's productivity secret was to use a giant calendar and mark off each day he completed his writing task; the growing chain of red X's encouraged him to maintain his desired habits. Don't Break the Chain! has the simplest of interfaces and can be integrated with iGoogle and Google Chrome.

  • Best for: staying motivated to complete a single goal in the quickest, most visual way possible.

stickK

stickK - goal commitment tool
Screengrab by Melanie Pinola

If you're the kind of person who really needs more motivation, stickK may be the Web tool for you. The site gives you an option to commit money to the goal -- if you don't achieve it, stickK will send your money to a friend, charity, or an organization you don't like (as a further incentive to make sure you achieve your goal). stickK says that your chances of success when you put actual money on the line increase up to 3X. Best for: people who need extra incentive to really accomplish critical goals.

ToodleDo

ToodleDo - task and goal management tool
Screengrab by Melanie Pinola

One of the best to-do list apps available today, ToodleDo allows you to set multiple goals and associate your tasks with those goals. This is integration is convenient because you can create an action plan or at least a set of tasks that will help you achieve your goal. Both web version and mobile apps are available.

  • Best for: having tasks and goals tracked in one place.
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