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You can finally get that six pack with Google Calendar Goals

Okay, it could take some dieting, too. But the newest Google Calendar feature, Goals, is designed to help you make time for all the things you've been putting off.

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Taylor Martin/CNET

Achieving your goals isn't always as easy as it seems, but Google wants to help with that. In the most recent Google Calendar update, it added a new feature called Goals, which exists alongside events and reminders.

Choose an area in which you want to improve or an activity you wish to schedule more time for, choose how often you want to do said activity, and select the best time of day for the activity -- morning, afternoon or evening.

Google will take care of the rest. It will adaptively schedule your goals in the available free time in your calendar.

Here's how to setup Goals in Google Calendar.

Creating Goals in Google Calendar

First, make sure you're using the latest version of Google Calendar on your Android device or iPhone. Then, to create a new Goal:

  • Open the Google Calendar application and tap the plus button in the lower right corner.
  • Select the type of goal, such as Exercise, Build a skill, Family and friends, Me time or Organize my life.
  • Next, select an activity. Each type of goal has a set of preset activites you can choose from, such as Work out, Learn to code, Eat with family or Meditate. You can also create your own custom goal if none of the presets meet your needs.
  • Answer any additional questions that the app may ask, such as specifying what your personal hobby is.
  • After choosing your activity, select how many days per week you want to do it and for how long (e.g. once per week for 30 minutes or three times per week for 15 minutes).
  • Finally, choose what time of day is best: Morning, Afternoon, Evening or Any time.
  • Confirm all the settings and tap the check mark to create the Goal.

Google will analyze the events in your calendar and select the best time for each occurrence of your goal. You can then defer a scheduled event for a goal or, when in the Schedule view, swipe the event to the right to mark it as complete.

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Alternatives to Google Calendar Goals

Goals in Google Calendar is the only thing I've come across that's truly adaptive and automatically schedules your free time activities between already scheduled events. That said, intuitive and helpful as it may be, it won't work as intended for everyone, especially those who don't add everything to their calendar.

If you're in search of something similar and aren't married to a calendar, here are some habit and goal tracking applications that may be of some use: