The 7 Best Goal-Setting Apps

December 29, 2014

7:00 am

You’ve undoubtedly seen the abysmal statistics on how terrible we are at keeping New Year’s resolutions. Well, these top goal-setting apps might just give you a fighting chance – starting in January or whenever you have an important goal to achieve.

The problem with most goals is that they remain just that: lofty hopes and dreams for the future. But with a little planning and follow-through, they could turn into monthly milestones and weekly tasks and daily sub-tasks and eventually a check mark on one of your goal-setting apps.

Here are the top seven goal-setting apps recommended by entrepreneurs, who have some of the trickiest goals and the least free time – so you know these apps are efficient:

Any.do (free)

With over 10 million users, Any.do prides itself on merging daily tasks with personal goals. It encourages you to take a moment at the beginning of the day to plan, prompting you to decide which to-do’s and more periodic activities (like “call Mom” or “write a chapter of my book”) to put on the day’s list. Available for web, Android, iPhone, and Chrome.

I use Any.do’s calendar (and tasks app) to help me manage my day-to-day activities, which keeps things that I need to get done front and center for my life. That includes both daily activities like meetings but also more lofty items like quarterly goals I’ve set for myself and my team,” says Darren MacDonald, CEO and founder of Ingress Capital.

goal setting apps Any.do

OptimizeMe ($3.99)

OptimizeMe is a quantified self app, so it gathers tons of data about you in order to provide insights about improving your life. For example, if your goal is to sleep more, it will correlate your sleep to other metrics like mood, health, and stress so you can see the results and be more motivated to hit the hay earlier. Available for iPhone.

Pavel Liser of PhotoNotes says the app took a lot of effort to set up, but was ultimately worth it. “I started using OptimizeMe almost every day. The app works in a very smart way. Not only can you set your goals, see your progress, and evaluate yourself, but the app also gives you suggestions if you are behind on your goals. And it’s not suggestions like ‘You should do less of X, to have more time for Y.’ No, OptimizeMe gives you suggestions personally tailored for your profile, sometimes even by adding new goals.”

goal setting apps OptimizeMe

Smart Goals ($2.99)

Smart Goals breaks down the things you want to do into dreams, goals, and habits, from abstract to concrete, big-picture to detailed. Available for iPhone.

“For long-term goals, such as New Year’s resolutions, I use Smart Goals,” says Liser. “Two tabs – My Goals and My Dreams – are the ones that make this app perfect for long-term goals or future plans.”

goal setting apps Smart Goals

Golden Scale (free)

Like Lift, Golden Scale has you “check in” to good habits you want to make (as well as bad habits you want to break). Available for iPhone.

“I use it because it’s super easy to use – it’s simply about setting goals and quitting bad habits, nothing else..and the app handles the two very gracefully without any other options slowing you down,” says Asya Rahim, founder of eStore Fresh.

goal setting apps Golden Scale

Evernote (free)

Evernote is a note-taking app and so much more, and one of its uses is to keep track of goals. To do that, check out powerful ways to make the most of Evernote and how to use Evernote to achieve your goals. Available for desktop, iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone.

“I like being able to organize an entire notebook with different goals and ideas. I have the attention span of a squirrel, so I have ideas and need to get them out ASAP. Evernote allows me to collect all thoughts and then evaluate when I’m ready to do projections and goals for 2015,” says Blake Denman, CEO of RicketyRoo.

goal setting apps Evernote goal setting apps Evernote

Wunderlist (free)

Wunderlist is a to-do list app favored by entrepreneurs for its beautiful, minimalistic design. You can access lists from all your devices, share lists with other people, and set reminders for yourself. Available for desktop, iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone.

“I use Wunderlist as a personal project- and goal-tracking app. It’s great for short-term to-do lists but I love it for longer projects, since you can break them down with sub-lists and really get a sense for how much work will go into different ideas. I permanently keep a ‘long-term life improvement’ list and take time in January to reassess what I’m looking to get out of the year,” says Megan Westerby, CMO of SideChef.

goal setting apps Wunderlist

Boomerang for Gmail (free)

One of the hardest things about goals is simply remembering them. We get bogged down in the minutiae of day-to-day life, and responding to emails and tweets seems more important than pursuing our lifelong dream.

To keep your goals front and center, you can use Boomerang for Gmail to schedule emails to yourself with your goals, perhaps prompting yourself to write about your progress so far (and feel suitably ashamed if you’ve got nothing to share). 

“I love to write myself an email with my 6-month goals, then boomerang it to come back after three months. It’s incredibly motivating both to see what I wanted to accomplish, and see how much progress we’ve made. And the fact that it’s an email popping back into my inbox makes it impossible to ignore!” says Kathryn Minshew, founder and CEO of The Muse

goal setting apps Boomerang

What are your favorite goal-setting apps?

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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