With one week of 2017 now gone plenty of people who started the New Year with big plans to change their lives for the better have already abandoned their resolutions. In fact just eight per cent of people actually manage to achieve the goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the year.
We lose motivation for a number of reasons – we don’t make our goals specific enough, or we commit to a big goal without breaking it down into small, achievable chunks, and eventually give up due to overwhelm. Sometimes we just try to change too many aspects of our lives at once, and end up achieving nothing.
Whatever your resolution, setting concrete goals and tracking your progress are key to staying focused and actually sticking to your commitments. So I’ve rounded up a few apps that will help you do just that.
Google Calendar has long been useful for scheduling appointments and setting reminders. The Calendar app also lets you set goals and carves out time in your schedule to keep you on track.
Whether you want to exercise regularly, learn a new skill, declutter, or just be reminded to carve out time for family and friends, the goals function will let you pick from a range of pre-set goals or create your own. You then decide how many times a week you want to work on your goal, for how long, and what time of day best suits.
The app then finds time in your schedule for this, and reminds you when it’s time to work on your goal. If you find the pre-set times don’t suit, you can defer a goal until later, and the calendar intuitively adjusts you goals schedule to reflect your preferences and your free time.
Though Google promotes this productivity feature as goals, it’s clearly more useful to help you develop and maintain new habits, such as running or studying three times a week.
Just in time to keep your New Year’s resolutions on track, you can now also connect your fitness goals to Google Fit and Apple Health.
This to-do app is a great way to organise big projects into smaller, bite-sized actions, with a little gamification thrown in to keep you motivated.
Todoist lets you organise tasks as part of larger projects, and you can schedule tasks throughout the week to help you pace your productivity.
As you complete the items on your to-do list, you are awarded karma points, which help you keep track of your productivity as you progress through eight levels.
Habitica takes gamification to a whole new level. This app lets you organise tasks into habits, daily goals, and to-dos, and earn points for every item you complete each day. Points can go towards levelling up your character – this really is next-level gamification – as well as armour, pets, and quests.
By separating tasks into habits, dailies, and to-dos, Habitica lets you track your behaviour in several ways. Habits can be good or bad – you gain points for a good habit, and deduct points for a bad one, such as nailbiting. Dailies are those things you want to complete every day – make your bed, for example – while to-dos can be anything you want to get done.
Like I said, gamification is a big part of Habitica’s appeal – you can even team up with others by joining a guild, or form a party to undertake quests and defeat bosses together.
Based on the concept of a kanban board, Trello lets you organise tasks both for yourself and for teams. While not ideal for forming new habits, Trello boards are great for projects that need to be broken down into tasks which can be tracked as they’re completed.
At its simplest, a kanban board allows you to visualise a workflow for a given project. Trello can be adapted to suit whatever project you’re undertaking, and you can have several boards tracking several projects.
For example, if you’re planning on developing a healthier lifestyle, Trello will let you organise your exercise plans, healthy recipes, and everything else you need to make these changes. By adapting this system you can use a board to keep track of building a business, training for a marathon, spring cleaning, or any other project you want to complete.