by Brandy D. Anderson
Another New Year is here, and that means that many of us will be coming up with a new set of goals and resolutions! Maybe you were one of the few people who successfully implemented positive life changes into 2017. But, if you’re with the majority, 2017 was just another year of blahs, and ugs, and “man, why didn’t I do what I said I would?”. Have no fear, I’ve found three awesome websites to help you achieve, and maintain, your New Year’s goals!
Mind Tools, and its “Personal Goal Setting Page”, is a great source for keeping those New Year resolutions. The page begins by telling you that it will help you with “planning to live your life your way”. Furthermore, it follows by saying, “many people feel as if they’re adrift in the world. They work hard, but they don’t seem to get anywhere worthwhile. A key reason that they feel this way is that they haven’t spent enough time thinking about what they want from life, and haven’t set themselves formal goals. After all, would you set out on a major journey with no real idea of your destination? Probably not!”
So, if that wasn’t enough to entice you, there’s a “Personal Goal Setting Video: How to Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals”. Don’t be fooled by the rather bored expression on the host’s face in the unfortunate thumbnail freeze frame, the host is much more amiable than he appears in that screenshot. One of the things discussed in this video is what the S.M.A.R.T. acronym stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound. He explains that if you follow some simple steps, you’ll be able to work on your goals, reassess them, and then adapt them as needed in order to keep moving forward.
There are a slew of guidelines and suggestions that fill this lengthy page, and you can scroll down to get a lot of great ideas. The first section is labelled: “How to Set a Goal”. It explains that you should “first consider what you want to achieve, and then commit to it. Set SMART goals that motivate you, and write them down to make them feel tangible. Then, plan steps you must take to realize your goal, and cross off each one as you work through them”. This section goes further to offer more advice and reasons for following this plan. Then, you’ll find information on why you should set goals, how to start, advice on when to set lifetime goals versus smaller goals, how to stay on course, how to achieve what you want to achieve, and it provides successful examples of achievable goals. Now, there is a “toolkit” you can purchase in addition to this (however, I have no idea what that would include that isn’t already included for free), but there are a lot of free templates, advice, and starting ideas, so that’s why I think this site is worth checking out.
43 Things “is a place for inspiration, advice, and support. Here you can talk about things you love, share, and connect!” When you first arrive at this website you will find a sign-up window where you can register for free if you want to actively participate and “list your goals and find interesting people doing, sharing, and connecting based on similar interests”. However, if you don’t want to post things, but you still want to look and find inspiration and advice, you can freely roam this site without creating a log-in or registering at all.
This page is organized into neat sections, each with a separate headline, and each section is nicely formatted into distinct parts. This site is visually pleasing and easy to navigate. Under each section you’ll find various categories and themes, and these are organized into nice big thumbnails. Each thumbnail has the title of what is included in the category (such as “Exercise Regularly”) and then, below the title, you’ll see two small categories: the users who are actively working on the goal (“Doing”) and then those who have fulfilled the goal (“Done”). So “Exercise Regularly” currently has 495 users “Doing” it, and 19 users with the trophy icon, indicating that it is “Done”.
Now, within each category, you will find interactive message boards and more if you click on the thumbnail. There is a place for comments, there is a place to upload and view user albums associated with the category, and there is also a section letting you know what additional categories/goals that are being undertaken by users within the current category. For instance, for people connected with the “Exercise Regularly” category, many of these same users are also involved with the following goals: “Read More Books”, “Lose Weight”, “Travel”, and “Eat Better”. The communities here are generally positive and supportive, and this is reflected in the comment sections within each separate category. Some of the other popular goal categories on this site include: “Make New Friends”, “Start My Own Business”, “Learn Spanish”, “Find Old 43T Friends”, and “Declutter”.In addition to goal setting, you can also ask and read about “Trending Questions”, and read various stories posted by users.
This website as a whole is full of lots of ideas and advice on how to “develop good habits”. You can click on a ton of different pages made by different users covering a variety of self-improvement topics. The particular page I’ve included here offers the “Best free goal setting worksheets, free forms, templates and ideas to manage your life”. While the overall page may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, it is easy to use and it has a lot to offer. It begins by saying, “Many people fail in their goals. The biggest problem is they fail to have a plan. I am sure you’ve heard the quote: ‘A goal without a plan is just a dream.’ There is a lot of wisdom in that quote. If you want to succeed with your goals, you need to make them specific, measurable, and completed with a deadline.” Sage advice, and it sets the tone for what you’ll find here.
There are a lot of different types of worksheets, each with a different format to fit various needs. For example, you’ll find worksheets suited for children, and others suited for adults. Within that, you’ll find different sheets for different goals and projects. The site goes on to explain, “From a simple goal sheet to a complex sheet designed to track complicated multi-part (and multi-person) goals, you will discover a treasure trove of downloads that can help you along the way.” Below this, they have a neat and tidy chart, with various links and sheets attached to it. The caption above reads, “To get started, we recommend picking the goal worksheet that matches your level of experience and who else you plan on getting involved in the goal setting process.The four worksheets to choose from in this section are “S.M.A.R.T. Goals (Best for an Individual)”, “Goal Execution (Best for Multiple Goals with Multiple Steps”), “Child’s Goal Setting Worksheet (Best Goals for Kids)”, and “Simple Goal Setting Worksheet (Simplest Goal Setting Form That is Still Effective”.
A very helpful feature on this page is its breakdown of each sheet. If you scroll just beyond the worksheet download window, you’ll find a separate breakdown of each worksheet and its various components. You’ll get a sneak peak of what the worksheet looks like, you’ll be able to see what is included, and what is not, in each form. Furthermore, the writer of the page also provides commentary for each worksheet, which is particularly useful for the S.M.A.R.T. Worksheet, which is rather involved and contains a lot of different information. These worksheets are all vague enough that they can easily be adapted for any situation you want, whether work or personal, but they’re structured enough to provide real support for you to organize a strategy that will help you be successful in any endeavor.