After I finished my recent article on goal setting websites, I took a closer look at 43Things.com and realized how useful its features could be for keeping track of things I want to accomplish this year. I joined the site back in 2005 but have never used it on a consistent basis, nor have I taken advantage of its features.
Though New Year’s resolutions and goals could easily be typed and printed out on a sheet of paper, 43Things.com offers more useful features than pen and paper, and it provides a simple method for managing your goals without having to invest in complex personal management software.
The following are some suggested tips for using 43Things.com in a more dedicated manner.
Creating A List Of Things
First off, there’s no requirement that you must come up with a list of 43 things in order to use 43Things. To keep from feeling overwhelmed, you might start off with a short list of to-do’s that you can complete in the next three or four months.
Secondly, it’s a good idea to develop a mixture of goals consisting of personal, job-related, fun and relaxing activities. You should also include goals that you can accomplish in less than a day, and a few that you might work on each week throughout the year.
As you develop your list, keep in mind the S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relative, and Time-bound) goals strategy made popular by the management consultant Peter Drucker, to ensure that your goals are well-defined and achievable. For example, instead of writing, “Improve my finances,” be more Specific with the goal of paying off a credit card debt, or saving a specified amount of money.
Use the “Add entry” feature in 43Things to make a short to-do list for some of your more challenging goals. Include how you will Measure the progress of your goal (e.g. saving 20% of your monthly income); how the goal will be Attainable (do you have the resources that will help you do it?); is it Relevant to your own personal life or professional needs?; and Time- bound, with a beginning and ending point.
And since this is the beginning of a new year, you definitely want to add new resolutions to your list, as well check out the list of 43Thing’s worldwide most popular goals for more ideas.
The number one reason I didn’t use 43Things on a consistent basis in the past is because I never set up a way to go back and monitor and review my list on a regular basis. In 43Things you can click on a goal and set up a designated e-mail reminder.
43Things also includes a Personal Challenge feature designed for you to home in on one particular goal and achieve it by a certain date.
Though 43Things is an online site, it is still a good idea to also print your list of goals and post them where they can be viewed on a regular basis.
43Things also has built-in motivation features. For example, each time you visit the site take the time to “cheer” the goals and resolutions of other site members. In turn you will also receive cheers for your own to-do’s.
You should also use the “Add an entry” and “Ask for advice” features to write journal reflections or set up a plan of action for achieving a goal.
You should also click on the 43 Things Zeitgeist page and read the comments and questions by other members working on their goals and resolutions. I find that cheering and helping others with their goals motivates me to achieve my own.
After you complete a goal, 43Things asks you if the goal was worth accomplishing, and how you achieved it. This is not only a good reflective tool, but your responses could very well help others who are seeking to accomplish your achievements.
In addition to keeping a list of things you have accomplished, your 43Things profile also includes a Year in Review page that charts your activity on the site. It’s useful to look back and see what you have accomplished.
So will you be setting goals for the new year? Have you used 43Things.com before? Let us know about your experience.