Technology has been used to establish and realize goals since mariners relied on maps, compasses and sextants to reach their destination. I have read several books and articles over the years that claim setting goals is a surefire path to success. Actually, setting and achieving goals are both required to realize dreams. If this is the case, then can I use technology to help me with my goals? Can technology accomplish my goals for me, or do I still need to do some of the heavy lifting? For this blog I researched applications that help in the process, but I have come to realize they are not magic.
If good health is the goal, then fitness trackers are a great way to monitor your progress. I spoke with a clerk last week at a large hardware store who claimed she walked 120,000 steps in the last week. In her case, her kids got her a FitBit for Mother’s Day so they could marvel at the energy she expended while on the job. For her, it is more for information and entertainment than for achieving a specific goal, but I have met others who set daily and weekly goals and are religious about achieving those steps walked or calories burned. In that case, the technology behind the fitness tracker provides very real motivation to achieve goals.
The Android app GoalTracker allows you to list your goals with particular target values and time deadlines and then helps in breaking down those goals into manageable pieces. This app will alert you when you are or are not meeting your goals. It provides for a nice visual interface to let you know how close you are to achieving your goal or whether you are on track based on your desired timeframe and values. This is a great way to easily track your progress.
Another Android app that is helpful is the Habit Bull. This application helps you to cultivate healthy habits or break bad habits through monitoring, suggestions, and reminders. The app provides an intuitive interface for establishing achievable goals in areas such as fitness, finance, relationships, or relaxation. It seems odd that we would need reminders to participate in a relaxing hobby or diversion, but such is our modern world.
For ancient mariners the first step toward achieving their goal was to launch their boat in the water and point it in what they thought was the right direction. The compass and map was their guide, but they had to take the first step. In the same vein, I haven’t yet found an app or technology that will achieve my goals for me but they can help me chart my course, track my progress and stay motivated to complete my journey.
Have you found technology that helps you to complete your goals, whether personal or at work? I invite you to share your experiences of what works and what does not work for you.
Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.