With 2024 fast approaching, it’s about that time to set some New Year’s resolutions, which you’ll then spend the next 12 months trying to stick to. Writing down your goals is a key part of achieving them, so start there, but the “writing” part is a little broader than you might think. A pen and paper are great, but so is an app—as long as it works well for you and can function for the long-term goal setting a new year demands. Choosing the right app can be a little tricky, since there are so many out there for setting and tracking goals, so here are some of the best ones and what they do.
If you use SMART goals: Strides
SMART (or rather, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals are popular for individual workers and students, as well as groups and teams of collaborators because they make goals and results easy to describe. Strides is an app that makes them just as easy to track. It tracks your progress on SMART goals while using streaks to motivate you and reminders to help you build habits. The plain version is free, but if you want unlimited trackers and the ability to see progress reports, you’ll pay US$4.99 per month.
If you need to break down complex goals: Todoist
Arguably one of the most famous apps on the list, Todoist is popular for a reason: It helps you break down complex projects into smaller ones, collaborate with teammates, and track progress easily, whether you’re working collaboratively or on your own. There’s a Kanban board built in so you can track your goals from the early stages through completion, too. For free, you can load in five personal projects and view one week of activity history, but if you want more long-term tracking and up to 300 projects, you’ll need to pay US$4 per month.
If you’re extra busy: TickTick
TickTick is designed for people who have a lot going on. You can set “annoying alerts” to remind you of urgent or high-priority responsibilities multiple times a day and can use a voice-to-text feature to dictate your to-do lists, because who has time to type all that out? You can also set pop-up reminders that are location-based, so when you go to work, anything you need to do there will come up. When you complete your tasks, you earn points toward an achievement score—and when you don’t, your score goes down. Your score helps you level up (or, again, down) which gamifies it a little, helping you keep track of progress. It’s free, but there is a premium version for US$35.99 per year that allows you to set tasks as high, medium, or low priority and import your third-party calendars. The premium offering also allows you to track progress more, giving you access to historical statistics that allow you to see how far you’ve come in completing your goals.
If you’re serious about keeping a schedule: Clockify
Clockify, which offers almost all of its best individual features for free, is best known as a timesheet app. But it’s also stellar for goal tracking, since it’s so schedule-based. You can track exactly how much time you spend on all of your tasks, which is helpful if you’re trying to figure out how much to allocate to certain responsibilities when timeboxing or using another productivity scheduling method. Your dashboard will show you your personal stats and trends as they relate to your working time and goals, so you can start organizing your day around what takes the most time and when you’re most productive. You can view reports on your progress—at varying levels of granularity—and it even has a built-in Pomodoro timer. The best core features are free; you’ll only be charged US$3.99 if you need to be the administrator of someone else’s work.
If you want to gamify your goals: Habitica
Habitica encourages you to “gamify your life” in your quest to achieve your goals. You get a little avatar that grows and is rewarded when you complete your real-life tasks, but is punished when you don’t, so you can track progress just by looking at how well your little avatar is thriving. You’ll earn in-game currency that you can redeem for rewards and there’s even a social component through which your avatar can join forces with others’ to play games.
If you crave simplicity: Joe’s Goals
Joe’s Goals is arrestingly easy to use—and that’s because it’s really old and looks really old. It’s a vestige of a bygone internet era, but that simplicity is almost comforting. Where other apps have a seemingly endless stream of widgets and notifications, this webpage simply encourages you to enter your goals in, track them, and monitor your daily “score.” Your goals appear on a grid along with the seven days of the week and when you complete one on a given day, you just put a little checkmark in the box. If visual tracking and simplicity appeal to you, this is the one.
Lead Image Credit: iStock
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