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Keep New Year's Resolutions with the Help of the Internet Community

MU Professor Helps Develop a New Goal-pursuit and Social-networking Web site

Jan. 3, 2008

Story Contact:  Bryan Daniels, (573) 882-9144,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Whether it is to get in shape, get a new job, or spend more time with one’s spouse, the motivation to maintain a New Year’s resolution can easily dissolve as the new year progresses. A new goal-pursuit and social networking Web site,, provides a way for goal-setters to stay motivated and focused throughout the year.
With the input of Ken Sheldon, professor of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri, GoalHub provides practical goal-setting tools, which are based on top-quality psychological research, to help people reach their goals. After site users set one or more goals, they are prompted to develop realistic plans and strategies, and are provided with tools for tracking their progress over time. Also, they are encouraged to involve others in their quests.
 “The network helps make you accountable,” said Sheldon, who teaches in the College of Arts and Science. “It’s one thing to say my New Year’s resolution is to lose 20 pounds this year. It’s another thing to say it to ten people who are going to follow up with you. You get both encouragement and a public proclamation, two factors that research shows helps people achieve goals.”
A common problem in goal pursuit is not setting goals that are right for oneself, said Sheldon. helps users avoid this problem by providing a motivational assessment that gives people feedback on the nature of their motivation. Based on the user’s assessment, the site invites them to re-consider or re-frame the goal if they cannot remain committed to it.
Other features include: a tool for sending automatic emails to friends when one sets or achieves a goal; a tool for sending oneself an encouraging email at some future time; the ability to create teams supporting a goal; and a trophy case, where past accomplishments are displayed. Many more useful, research-proven features are under development as the site evolves from its current early stage.
“A lot of people have a vague idea of what they want, but they do not ever make it concrete for themselves,” Sheldon said. “This is supposed to make goal setting fun. The site is designed to lead people through a process where they can work toward their dreams in a way they have not before with the help and support of friends and family members.”

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