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by Lisa Sansom

Writing a goal isn’t enough – for true success and follow-through, you have to know why it’s important and what it means to you.

Many people are familiar with SMART goals – goals that you create that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound (which means that you set dates for their accomplishment). There are other words that fit into the SMART acronym – some talk about Stretch, Relevant, and Action-oriented, and some add an ER to the end for SMARTER goals that you Evaluate and Revisit.

But I’d like to suggest another M: Meaningful.

As a coach, I often get clients who come in with a presenting goal. Something like…

  • I want to lose weight.
  • I want to be more confident.
  • I want to start my own business.
  • I want to write a book.

Things like that.

After the client has told me about their plans and goals, I always ask, “And what’s important about that to you?”

There is often a long pause and a quizzical look. Then the client repeats, “What’s important??”

All too often, we create a goal which we feel compelled to achieve – and they are usually laudable goals – but if we don’t articulate the meaning and the importance of that goal, then we are missing out on a large motivational part – what will keep you going towards the achievement of that goal when things get difficult? what will help you to see clearly? what if that goal ends up being unachieveable? can you accomplish your deeper wanting another way?

You need to know why this goal is important for you.

And then the next questions I ask is, “Why now?”

This also gets quizzical looks. Yet it’s another important factor in achieving your goal. Why do you want to lose weight now? Have you been assessed with a health risk? Has your child just learned to walk and you need to keep up? Are you embarking on a career change and would feel more confident a few pounds lighter in the job interviews? These are all very different individual situations, and each will require a different coaching approach.

Simply articulating your goal is a good first step. If you create a vision board or journal, that’s great as well. But for real intrinsic motivation, to truly drive yourself to accomplish that goal, consider what’s important about that goal, and why now.

And if it turns out that your goal doesn’t move you closer to what’s important, don’t be afraid to change your goal to something that’s even more meaningful. You will be even more likely to accomplish it.

GoalsOnTrack is one of its kind goal-oriented web based application. The software has been designed to assist people in setting, tracking, and reaching personal and professional goals. This web based application keeps track of your progress towards the goal. The primary objective of this web application as it annunciates is getting things done.

Inside you get a simple and intuitive web 2.0 style interface to work on. It can be used to set any type of goal like a fitness regime, getting a job, buying a home, or traveling around the globe.


Sometimes we just need that extra kick in the rear to get our act together and achieve our goals. The nine tools profiled below are some of the best online goal trackers out there. All of them are free, and they all include motivational tools to keep you going. 

GoalsOnTrack – Web-based SMART goal setting and task management software that help you track and achieve goals by taking massive actions and constantly reviewing your progress. Beautiful Web 2.0 user interface, quick and easy to user features, supports goal setting, tasks and sub tasks, day planner, journal keeping and flash charts for goal progress and time report. Perfect for home based businesses or busy professionals to keep track of goals, tasks and schedules, the best in its kind on the web.

LifeTango – The thing that really sets Life Tango apart is their goal brainstorming tool. It can help you figure out your goals in different areas of your life, including finance, education, travel, family and more. You can keep your goals private or “Tell the World” and make them public. You can also look through the goals that others have.

eLifeList – eLifeList allows you to connect a photo or video to your goals, as well as split them into multiple sublists. You can also add friends and create a profile with a blog and links. There’s a status bar to show you how far along you are in reaching your goals also.

Goalmigo – Goalmigo lets you set goals, track your progress and share your goals with friends (a good support system can make it easier to achieve your goals). They also have groups you can join with others who have similar goals.

SuperViva – Create your life list of big and small goals. You can also explore the lists of others for inspiration, and visit the forums to talk with others who are reaching for their goals. They also have a blog and articles to help inspire you.

AimsVille – Create your “aims”, track your progress, and share your experiences with others. You can browse the most popular goals that others have to get started, or just put in your own.

Move Mountains – Move Mountains is free online coaching that helps you reach your goal. You can set whether you want to be coached on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, and can set either recurring goals (run a mile every day), larger goals (save $5000), or short one-time goals (wash the car). You get a complete profile with each goal that tracks your progress, set sub goals and create motivators. This is definitely one of the more involved goal-tracking sites.

43 Things – Keep track of your life list and the 43 things that you want to do in life. Get inspired by what others are doing, share your progress with those around you. You can also see how many people share your goal (for example, 17,436 other people want to write a book).

GoalsTogether – View the goals that others have, join a goal, or create a new goal. You’ll have the support of a network of people who see life like you do. Goals can be related to anything, and you can even get a goal badge for your blog. – A set of powerful personal progress management tools that automatically observes and analyzes all the essential aspects of your life. You can access and watch your progress from anywhere. MyProgress will track your personal finances, skills & knowledge, wealth & prosperity, health status and more.

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