It's nearly 2019, and many of us are thinking about New Year's resolutions in our personal and professional lives. Only 8% of us will succeed in keeping those resolutions, so you might benefit from these five goal-setting apps. Each app offers different and unique ways to track your goals, reinforce your desire to do them, and even gamify your accomplishments if that's what it takes.
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Strides wants to help you set, track, and meet goals in whichever way you feel most confident—within its four options, that is. Flexibility is how Strides sells itself, and its four tracking methods encompass most any kind of goal you want to set or habit you want to change.
- Habit tracking involves a simple swipe to indicate whether you did or didn't do a thing. Habits can be both positive and negative.
- Targets let you set a target number (savings, running pace, calories burned, weight lost, etc.), a target date, and a daily target toward that goal.
- Averages help you keep track of regular entries (hours slept, time spent reading, time spent exercising, etc.) with a target number set as a cumulative goal.
- Projects will be familiar to anyone who has used project management software: You can track completion by percent for projects and sub goals within that project.
Strides also has templates to make goal creation easier and various screens to view metrics and data in different graphs and charts. With all those features, it seems like Stride has everything—except an Android client. This one is sadly iOS only, but there is a web client for those who want to use it on an Android device or a desktop computer.
Strides is free with a $5/month premium option.
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2. Way of Life
If you approach goals or habits as things that have to be integrated into your life bit by bit, Way of Life is the goal-setting app for you.
Designed to be minimally invasive and quick to use, Way of Life is designed around micro interactions of less than a minute a day. The app will ask you whether you have done a particular thing that day, to which you answer yes or no. It records that response and builds charts that show how often you have done something, how frequently you have met your goals, and general trends to help you determine how much a new habit has become part of your daily life.
Way of Life also offers reminders to give you a nudge about particular activities; it has a diary section to record notes about your performance; it can organize items using tags; it has an iOS Today widget, and more.
If you're looking for deep analysis of anything beyond trends, Way of Life won't give you that—it only logs a yes or a no to a particular task, which means you're only left with basic metrics.
If better time management is your goal for the new year, then ATracker is the app you need.
Any activity you want to track can be created in ATracker, and once it's added to the app it can be tracked by simply tapping it in a list of activities. Time can be viewed as a pie or bar chart or viewed on a calendar.
There are a lot of customization options available for ATracker, making it a great tool for anyone who wants a personalized way of tracking their time to find out if they're really dedicating as much time to a particular activity as they think they are.
ATracker is available for iOS, Android, and as a web app. All of its apps are free, but premium pricing is available. Oddly enough, it's $2.99 for Android and the web portal, but $4.99 to unlock premium features on iOS.
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With a name like HabitBull you can expect this app to be all about charging through to your goals, and that is definitely the case. HabitBull is all about streaks of repeated days of doing what you want to accomplish and avoiding what you don't.
As you add to your streaks, you'll see running totals, you can view your progress in chart form, and you get other feedback about your performance. You can customize goals so they only count toward streaks for a certain number of days a week (like running every other day), get reminders, and participate in HabitBull's community in specialized goal-oriented forums available in the app.
Do you want your goal-setting app to be a bit more gamified? I'm not talking about getting streaks or points—I'm talking about turning your goal setting and habit building into a mobile role-playing game. If that sounds fun, check out Habitica.
In Habitica, you create an avatar that earns experience when you accomplish goals that you set for yourself. Earn enough experience and you'll level up, which unlocks more features such as better armor and weapons, new skills, and even quests. You also earn gold, which you can use to buy yourself leisure time to watch a movie or play a different game.
Habitica is free; there is also a $5/month subscription option.
Bonus: Google Calendar Goals
If you're a Google user, you don't need to find a separate app to track your goals—Google Calendar actually has basic goal tracking features built in.
It's not as robust as the other goal-setting apps included here, but if all you want to do is find time in a busy schedule to fit in a half hour a day to exercise, practice an instrument, or relax Google Calendar Goals is probably all you need.
It's easy to set up goals in Google Calendar for iOS and Android—simply tap the plus button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, tap Goal, and follow the onscreen prompts. Google Calendar does the hard work of fitting your goal into your calendar, helping you turn that idle time into something more personally productive.
Google Calendar Goals is a free feature of Google Calendar, which is also free.
- CIO priorities: How to set goals that matter (ZDNet)
- How to set SMART goals (TechRepublic)
- How to define digital transformation goals for your company (TechRepublic)
- How managers and employees can prepare for end-of-year performance reviews (TechRepublic)
- Video: Making New Year's resolutions that actually stick (CBS News)
Brandon Vigliarolo has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.