We are in the middle of another year. I am pretty sure that the goals and resolutions most of us set out to achieve at the turn of the last year have been left behind like old dates on an old calendar. I often ask myself, why am I so good at goal-setting and so bad at meeting them? Lack of motivation is an old enemy and lack of follow-through is its child. That’s one of the critical mistakes of goal setting.
Perhaps, that’s why I like trying out new systems which would help me achieve at least a few goals on my bucket list. PowerUp is an interactive tool with color cues that helps you log every small step you take towards your goal.
My friend Ryan talked about looking at the big picture and making progress in life with small steps. Short term or long term, every goal needs to be focused on. The geeky expression would be – you need to track your goals every day of the year to gauge your progress. If you are losing track of your goals, here is a web application which can help you keep away from the grass on life’s path.
The Open Secret: Break a Large Goal into Small Parts
To keep a goal in sight, you have to break it into small steps. Each step you take – however small – keeps motivation from flagging and tells your brain that you are moving forward. Let’s say, you want to lose 20 pounds in 10 months. Even if you set out to walk off all the calories and do a minimum amount of it every day, it’s a small victory. Well, that’s what the experts tell us anyway. At its most basic it helps to form habit streaks.
Breaking your goals down into its individual steps is the first step you can take in any goal management system. The developer of PowerUp says –
It rewards the little things. Every sit up and push up counts. Seeing that I get to tick away at my goal and get fun rewards really keeps me on point.
Light Up the PowerUp Grid
PowerUp helps you track your goals with a grid of small colored squares. We will get to that later. First you have to sign-in. For now, PowerUp seems to be free though I can’t say for sure how it will pan out when a critical mass of subscribers is reached. The first time I spotted PowerUp in the horizon of productivity web apps, it was advertising 500 early bird users a premium account for life. At the time of writing this article, the numbers left (as shown in the screenshot) is 15. There is no premium account yet, and no news of its feature-set. Apart from this slightly disappointing lack of updated information, PowerUp is very usable.
After signing-in, PowerUp takes you through the three steps of setting up the first ‘Grid’ for your first goal. The idea of PowerUp is explained in the following screenshot:
The Friends step is purely optional for drawing some collaborative inspiration from your social circle. Building a Grid is the important part, and it is thankfully a very simple half-a-minute process.
You can click on the little Shuffle icon on the right of the field box to browse through a series of goal ideas. For instance, here is one:
You can modify the goal ideas which PowerUp helpfully gives you or create your own from scratch. This is how I do it – For the three empty field boxes (work units) per goal, I choose three tasks with decreasing scale of effort. For instance, for the goal of losing 20 pounds, I can write the tasks as under:
As you can see, each successive task is easier than the other. Even if I achieve one of the three, I know I have made some progress towards my goal. Similarly, you can write the three tasks in decreasing order of priority or in any other way you choose. As you complete each task, click on the colored ‘button’ with the ‘+’ sign to add a square to the PowerUp Grid.
Successive squares help you track the percentage progress towards the completion of the goal. You can delete squares from the sequence as a workaround for missed days. Achieving a certain percentage points will entitle you to earn ‘PowerUp Badges’. You can consider them as proof of your efforts. PowerUp allows you to create as many grids as you want to track the varied goals you might have.
Goals are more effective when they are measurable. You can add a more detailed description to each Grid by clicking on the Grid and choosing the Edit option.
PowerUp allows you to fill in measurable landmarks in the form of text or numbers. For instance, you can enter your latest weight towards your target of total weight loss. Finally, you can see the progress of all your goals as a visual indicator on the My Goals page.
PowerUp is still a work in progress. There are some merits to the web application and some vacant areas which the developer can choose to fill. On the positive side, PowerUp gives me an extremely simple way to track my goals. It is visual and I can see my progress at a glance with the little squares on the grid. The collaboration features seem to be a plus. It is easy to understand, but a first time user may still fail to get a handle on it. I felt that a guide was sorely lacking. PowerUp allows me to track my journey to a goal by steps, but not by date.
If you are looking for an uncomplicated simple system to keep you on the path with a chain of little steps, then give this a try. Come back and tell us if PowerUp is too simple for your goal-setting need. Would you like to recommend something better?