There are literally hundreds of apps out there to help you track your habits, keep on top of your to-do list and manage information via notes.
But one type of productivity app is really hard to find: a good goal tracking app!
What about those “best goal tracking app” lists?
Most of the lists you can find online that recommend different goal tracking apps, include lots of habit trackers, some to-do apps and only one or two actual goal tracking apps.
Yes, tracking habits and completing tasks are related to goal achievement. But I wouldn’t call these kinds of apps “goal tracking apps”.
Must-have features of a goal tracking app
In my opinion a goal tracking app should have the minimum of these features:
- A way to add a high level goal (like making 10K a month, publishing a book, getting down to X lbs or getting out of depression)
- A way to connect the goal to actionable steps like tasks, projects and habits (defining an action plan)
- A way to track the progress/success of this goal (outcome and activity)
Nice to have features of a good goal tracking app
Ideally a good goal tracking app also has some additional features that help with the psychological aspects of goal reaching:
- Writing down your whys/vision
The problem with most goal tracking apps
In order to achieve your goal you need to be reminded of your goal, often.
You also need to focus on the action plan (the tasks, habits and projects you need to complete to reach the goal).
With every goal tracking app I reviewed for this article you can set up goals and have at least one way to track a metric of that goal.
Basic task Management
Most of them also allow you to make some sort of action plan (connect tasks to the goal).
But the management of these tasks is usually incredibly basic. You can see your tasks in a list and check them off, but that is about it. There is no nesting, prioritizing, time tracking, scheduling, planning, reminders etc.
Out of sight, out of mind
Unless you have anything but super basic needs for task management, you will need to use another app to actually manage your tasks.
This makes it unlikely you will check in on your goals often as they are in a completely separate app.
It makes sense to have your goals connected to your tasks, in the same app where you manage them.
As you can see from the blog title, this is the Amazing Marvin blog, which is one of the products listed.
So let me preface this by saying I have been looking for a proper goal tracking app for YEARS. And I could not find what I wanted, which is why I have been determined to add goal tracking to Amazing Marvin (a productivity app I built).
We launched goals in December 2020 and are excited to keep improving this feature.
I did try my best to write unbiased reviews and include other goal tracking apps. As you can see below, most apps I tried just did not meet my standards (and I really feel like I did not set the bar super high).
Best comprehensive goal tracking app for personal goals
Amazing Marvin’s main strength is that it is a powerful and flexible task management platform first, with a tightly integrated and extensive goal feature.
The taks, project and habit features are deeply integrated with the goals feature. So you can create your action plan and then focus on executing that action plan.
There are some unique features like a regular check-in where you can see how much you have worked towards your goal in a given period and answer some reflective questions (the questions are customizable).
- Available on: Web, Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android
- Pricing: $8/month, billed yearly (50% student discounts)
Strong points & Highlights
- Powerful task & time management platform
- Very customizable
- Includes habit tracking
- Includes time tracking
- Clever features to increase motivation
- Check-ins to review goals
- Strong and helpful community
- Active development
- Team works closely with users
Best simple goal tracking app for personal goals
Goals on Track is a nice and straightforward app centered around goal setting.
You can set up tasks and habits that connect to your goals. There are also some additional features like a journal, a vision board and a place to store documents.
The task management aspect is very basic. But you can set up recurring tasks and assign a due date to tasks which will move them to a list for today when they are due.
Those task features and the habit tracking feature makes this a more comprehensive goal tracking app than most.
If you have relatively simple task management needs and want something very focused on goals, definitely check out Goals on Track.
- Available on: Web, iOS, Android
- Pricing: $5.67/month, billed yearly
Strong points & Highlights
- Nice dashboard
- Includes tasks, time tracking and habits
- Vision board
- Multi-level goal nesting
- Goal Templates
Here are two other goal tracking apps for personal goals that you can try if my two picks don’t suit you:
I know there are happy users of both of these apps, so they do work for some people.
But for my personal criteria they lack enough features to make them feasible to manage actions (tasks/habits).
They also seem to not be actively developed anymore (which was sadly true for most apps I checked out).
What about you?
How are you currently tracking your goals?
Also published on Medium.