Do you find you have trouble coming up with coherent plans for things you want to do in your life? Do you find that, even if you have a plan, keeping track of it and staying motivated are really tough to maintain through to your goal? Join the club. No, really: Join the club.
OK, technically it’s not a club — it’s a website, called Fitango, and it’s only in beta at the moment — but it has some very well-crafted tools that could help you plow through all of those difficulties. And, while not everything on the site is free, you can get a lot of it without spending a dime — and even those things that cost money don’t typically cost very much.
Fitango has two chief pieces to it: “Actionplans” and “Community.” Actionplans (the space between the words presumably removed for trademarking purposes) can either be selected from categorized lists or created from scratch, and they’re just what the name implies: step-by-step plans to get you closer to a particular goal. There are quite a few existing plans to choose from — anywhere from “Making Your Own French Pastries – Tarts” to “How to Train Your Dog to Walk on a Leash” — and there will be more and more as the site comes out of beta. Many of the plans are free, though many — created by various experts Fitango has partnered with — cost a bit of money, maxing out (at the moment, anyhow) around $10. You’re allowed to preview an Actionplan before you commit to buying it, and Fitango also provides biography pages of its experts so you know why you should trust them. The Actionplans themselves take many different forms — some have videos to watch, some simply text to read. All of them come with some means to track progress — for example, a plan to run for exercise would include a form to indicate how long and far you ran in a given day, what the weather was like while you ran, and how you felt afterwards. Plans with fewer things to keep track of might have only a checklist with room for notes.
The “Community” part of it is just what it sounds like: the social part of Fitango. You can find your friends via Facebook, LinkedIn, email account, etc., and either link with them on Fitango if they’re already there or send them invitations to join. Then you each can see whichever Actionplans the other is doing (you have control over which plans you’re doing that you want to share and which you don’t) and motivate each other as you both want — you have to apply to be someone’s motivator, and they have to accept you, because otherwise you might end up getting more advice than you really want or need.
Fitango‘s not just for adults, either. There’s no reason why teenagers couldn’t use the site as a tool to help them plan research or science-fair projects, or to learn better study habits, just as examples. And since it gives you the power to choose with whom you want to share your goals and progress, there’s little danger of cyber-bullying or the like. And for new parents, there are already a bunch of good-looking Actionplans created by The National Parenting Center.
It’s not a perfect site, of course — I’ve run into some glitches here and there, and there aren’t a lot of Actionplans in some areas yet. And I tried creating an account as a teenager (you’re asked for your birthdate when you register), yet the list of Actionplans appeared identical to that I was provided with when I used my real age. It seems like at the very least the Wine and Beer Tasting Trackers shouldn’t be presented to someone under the legal drinking age, but I’m sure they’ll iron some of these kinks out along the way.
NOTE: Upon learning of the wine and beer issue, the folks at Fitango fixed it immediately so that those would no longer appear to anyone under 21.