If you’re not a journalist, goal tracking may seem like an unnecessary step. But jotting down your progress as you work toward a goal can really help you stay on course. A review of studies by the American Psychological Association found that people who were asked to monitor their process were more likely to reach their goal. Keeping a record can mean the difference between wanting to stay hydrated this year and actually drinking more H2O.
Don’t push if goal tracking seems like an arduous task. “Goal tracking apps or journals are not essential to creating habits,” says BJ Fogg, Ph.D., founder and director of the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford and author of Tiny Habits. And not all trackers are created equal. “If what you’re using to track helps you feel successful in making a habit and making progress, then that’s a good idea,” says Fogg. “Some tracking systems don’t help motivate you as much as they show how much you’re failing.” Yes, choose the wrong goal progress tracker and it may hurt your efforts.
With that in mind, if you can find a tracker that works as your cheerleader, you can benefit from many advantages. “Some tracking tools will help you move from an abstraction to something specific,” says Fogg. For example, if you have a broad goal of wanting to work harder, an application might prompt you to fit into a 30-minute run. Goal trackers sometimes make the task easier, Fogg notes. Diet apps (like these free weight loss apps) can equate foods with dots or red, green and yellow, so you don’t have to understand macronutrient counts, for example.
Convinced that you should try to write – or type – your progress toward your most recent goal? Get help from one of these tools.
Goal Tracker Apps
One advantage of online or mobile application goal trackers is that they often provide a perspective of your statistics that you would otherwise not have, such as following how many days in a row you completed a task. In addition, goal progress apps are generally compatible with other tools, such as the Health App on iPhone or wearable fitness trackers. Some apps can track your background activity without you having time to log anything.
Best Goal Tracker Apps
- Jour-guided “Journeys” break goals such as “resolving and resolving conflicts” and “sleeping more calmly” into manageable steps. If you already have a goal in mind, you can use the app’s daily journal feature to write notes about your progress. (Free for iPhone)
• Habit-Bull can help you manage multiple goals at once and track their track and success percentage. Use it to record habits such as trying to eat more vegetables, sleep more, and walk more. (Free for iPhone, Android)
• Record by Under Armor is a one-stop shop for tracking your steps, exercise, sleep and nutrition. Sync with fitness wearables or MyFitnessPal. (Free for iPhone, Android)
• Runkeeper can act as your tracker and trainer, whether to run a marathon or a few miles. A goal coaching feature helps you create weekly routines for your level and provides spoken motivation throughout the race. (Free for iPhone, Android)
• Fabulous is designed to help you change your habits to achieve goals such as improved daily energy or concentration or better sleep quality. (BTW, did you know that high quality sleep can really help you build muscle?) It features tools you can use to create new habits, such as workouts and deep 4-hour workouts. (Free for iPhone, Android)
Goal Tracker Journals
They may not be as efficient, but there is something to be said about old-fashioned pen and paper. A small study at the Dominican University of California found that people who wrote down their goals were more likely to achieve their goals. Many companies offer designated goal journals that provide more guidance than a blank journal.
Best Goal Tracker Journals
• Erin Condren Petite Planner’s Goal Diary can help you organize your thoughts, regardless of whether you are decorative with pens or stickers. It includes space to plan the goals you want to achieve and the small steps you will take to achieve them. (Buy, $ 14, erincondren.com)
• The 100-day Goal Diary devoted space to daily struggles with possible solutions, making it perfect for approaching a scary or high goal. (Buy, $ 10, target.com)
• The Passion Planner works as a weekly planner, so you can keep your daily goals and tasks together. (Buy, $ 30, amazon.com)
• The Leuchtturm A5 dotted notebook is a classic option if you want to create your own goal journal through creative journaling, a system for creating your own journal layout in a dotted book. (Buy, $ 20, barnesandnoble.com)
• Shape 40-Day Progress Diary (a blatant plug) is a free 40-day Progress Diary that you can print and use to complement any health goal. In addition to recipes and exercise ideas, it includes plenty of space to track all your daily efforts. Bonus: You can also participate in 15 days of free guided awareness diary through our exclusive partnership with the Jour app.