We’re several weeks into the new year, right around the time when folks start struggling with their resolutions—if they haven’t already abandoned them altogether. That’s because resolutions require more than good intentions and will power. You need to systematically create new habits.
The good news is there’s an abundance of online tools to help you out. Below are three favorites, each using a slightly different method of motivation. Whether your goal is to read more, lose weight, save money, or something else, these apps can help you pave a path to success and see you all the way to the finish line.
No matter what your goals are, tracking your progress is critical to success. It helps keep you focused, allows you to see where your efforts are working or falling short, and motivates you by marking small achievements. 42goals is a simple tool to help you do this.
You start by entering your goals, either selecting them from predefined templates or creating your own. Then you just log your progress daily. To stay motivated, you can build charts from your data to help you visualize your progress and share them with friends for added accountability.
42goals is free to use, but you get more features—like the ability to export your data as a .csv file—if you upgrade to a Premium account for $5 a month. There are also iOS and Android apps so you can more easily track data from your mobile device.
Motivational quotes and affirmations are fine as far as they go, but nothing keeps you on track toward a challenging goal as effectively as the threat of lightening your wallet. That’s the sting Beeminder brings to your efforts.
Combining self-tracking with commitment contracts, Beeminder promises to keep you on the “yellow brick road”—its graphical representation of your road to success. You set a quantifiable goal and enter data on your progress when Beeminder prompts you. You’re allowed to stray from the road—called “derailing” in Beespeak—one time without any financial consequence. But at that time, you have to make a $5 pledge, which Beeminder will charge you the next time you derail. With each additional derail, it charges you increasingly more money.
Beeminder integrates IFTTT, Gmail, Fitbit, and a host of other apps and services from which it can automatically pull goal-related data. You can access it on the web as well as via iOS and Android apps.
If you want to go beyond the carrot-and-stick method and foster more self-directed motivation, consider Lifetick. More than just a habit-tracking tool, it starts by helping you identify your core values—things like health, career, and financial freedom—then helps you create SMART goals. From there you break down each goal into a series of smaller tasks you can tick off as you complete them. You can share each goal with other people if you’re working collaboratively on it or if you have someone coaching you.
Lifetick is free to use for individuals to track up to four goals. A paid plan costs $39 a year and lets you track unlimited goals. There are also group plans for families, schools, and businesses. Lifetick is web only, though it has web apps for iOS and Android.