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Monday, July 3, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Web site helps you keep track of goals

What: Joe's Goals, www.joesgoals.com

What it does: Lets you track goals to be accomplished and vices to be avoided, and share whether you're meeting the commitments. Meeting a positive goal, such as exercising, adds a point, while smoking or other self-selected negatives take a point away. Of course, it's all based on your own reporting.

Who's Joe? Ian Smith, a 24-year-old Montana transplant who works as a senior Web developer at WorldClass Strategy, is the man behind the self-funded project. "I wanted something that was really simple and really light ... and I wanted it online so that I could use it both at home and at work," he says.

Ian's goals: Work on Joe's Goals — he tries to spend one to three hours a day, plus more on the weekend; exercise; drink more water; plan honeymoon (he's getting married in August); dine out less.

Other people's goals: Since launching June 10, the site has 3,100 users who had about 13,000 goals as of last week. The top five are related to exercise. Other common goals include update blog, meditate, take vitamins/prescription drugs, practice a musical instrument and spend more time with family and friends. Some vices: buy coffee, eat dessert, wake up late, play video games for more than an hour.

Sharing: Because the site allows you to share progress on goals, Smith says people use it to help reach substance-abuse-related goals, such as quitting smoking. "They then share [their progress] with an accountability partner."

Making money: It's not his first priority. The service is free and generates revenue through Google-served advertising. "Initially, it's just tinkering around," he says.

Competitors: Other online task managers include Ta-da Lists from 37signals and Remember The Milk. Smith said those don't do the consistent day-to-day tracking as well as his does. One desktop-based competitor, Sciral Consistency, is more of a goal-tracker.

Adding features: Smith is steadily building the site, but wants to keep it simple. "I'm trying to really balance making it complex enough for power users, but keeping it so simple that my Mom can just sign up and start using it."

— Benjamin J. Romano

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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