Date

6-2014

Degree Name

BA in Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies

Department

Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies Program

Advisor(s)

Jane Lehr, Michael Haungs

Abstract

Achieving a personal goal and making a positive change in one’s life can be a difficult and elusive task. Everyday people are creating and setting new goals for themselves, but more often than not these goals are never realized. Motivation, determination, and discipline are all key elements when it comes to accomplishing a goal, but if there is no clear idea as to how to connect the dots from where one is to where one wants to be these important qualities lose their effectiveness.

The applications that exist today largely fit in the realm of goal/task management and planners. This approach, with the proper motivation, can be effective in helping one achieve his or her goals, but the act of setting, logging, and planning activities, and then going back into the application to signal their completion/failure is time consuming and unappealing to the average user. This can be marked by the large percentage of people who do not use these applications; in a survey targeting online communities committed to completing goals only 50.9%, roughly half, of the users stated that they used these types of applications (survey attached). This is a surprisingly small number considering that these participants would appear to be the most likely candidates for these applications.

An argument can be made that users do not find they are getting properly rewarded by these applications for the amount of effort they put into them, and so lack the proper motivation to use them. Motivation is a valuable and sometimes scarce resource, so an application that requires less effort to learn, manage, and implement may help fit the unmet requirements of these non app users. This project aims to address this problem by taking the benefits and passivity of journaling techniques and applying them to goal accomplishment, encouraging the user to track one’s progress toward his or her goals in a manner that is relatively hands off.