Oh, Mid-November. How I’ve missed you so. The lengthening nights, the beautiful sunsets, the leaves left unraked on every neighbour’s lawn… And December is just around the corner.

Perhaps it might seem a little too early for such a topic as goal-setting and resolution-making, but I don’t think it’s ever too early for something so important. We all know the feeling of starting anew–the thrill of opening a new book for the first time, the zeal for sharpening unsharpened pencils, the rush of adrenaline as we open a new word-processing file (or the dread, really)… As cornily ridiculous as it sounds, goal-setting has become the epitomic bane of my teenaged existence. Words can no longer describe the feeling of starting anew–the smell of newly opened notebooks is simply too profound to describe. Similarly, words cannot convey the dismay as a goal is abandoned, forgotten, and left behind.

For me, it’s a matter of staying organized to remember the new goal. I tend to be the kind of person who’s super (read: over) enthusiastic about a new goal, only to forget it within two weeks, and then continue life as it was. Sooner or later, I’ll dig up the dusty and half-forgotten remnants of a time when I was enthusiastic about the change, after which I’m magically re-inspired to continue to pursue another goal. Most of the time, the whole process (which takes about three to five weeks) will repeat itself several times before anything substantial, namely attaining my goal (whether this is my original goal or something completely different is no longer relevant), actually happens.

With this in mind, I’ve crawled into some interesting nooks and crannies of the web to bring you four websites to help you achieve your goals.

1) http://www.startaresolution.com/

Here’s how this one works: after you join, the person who joined just before you coaches you to keep your resolutions. Similarly, you’re obligated to coach the person who joins after you. It’s essentially community in action, plus there’s an incredibly friendly user interface. Simple, clean, and very cute. Not to mention, effective–you can “kick” people for not putting enough effort into accomplishing their goals!

2) http://www.43things.com/

After you post your resolutions onto this site, it automatically organizes and puts you in touch with users with similar, or identical goals. You can “cheer” people on to give words of encouragement, and post comments about your progress. Yay, progress!

3) http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/hassleme/

This may sound annoying, but it’s actually somewhat effective in trying to get some work done. No registration is required–just fill out the information, and the website will automatically send you nagging e-mails “at semi-unpredictable intervals”, to make sure you get your work done. Coming soon: Hassle Me Instant Messenger!

4) http://habitforge.com/

HabitForge recently renovated their website, so they may or may not be working out some kinks. The entire premise of the site is that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. To participate, simply set up an account, and you’ll automatically receive a personalized e-mail each day that asks whether you’ve succeeded in accomplishing whatever you’ve set out to. If you slip up, the 21-day cycle starts all over again!

 

habitforge

 

Four links, four sites, and something for everyone. If you’re the type of person attracted to stricter regimes to forge a habit, I suggest you check out HabitForge first. For those of you better inclined to self-motivation, perhaps 43Things would be the best choice. Hassleme’s really good for the procrastinators out there who can’t stand nagging. It’s surprising how quickly something gets done as you’re continuously nagged for it. StartaResolution’s effective, too–the flashy colours and adorable animated schematics will ensure that at the very minimum, you won’t be forgetting the site!

I suppose this is where I’d say something cheesy and inspirational, like “Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement” (Brian Tracy, Eat that Frog). Instead, I think I’ll work towards my own goal of being more spontaneous. For all you folks out there who’re tired of goal-setting, and would instead listen to nice music and play games, try this link instead. Trust me, you won’t regret it—after all, video games have been proven to have some suprising health benefits.