This is your year! When it comes to setting smart goals, most of us have the best intentions. You’re finally going to take control of your money. Get fit. Start a new hobby. Yada yada.
But here’s the thing. Most of us won’t actually do any of that. Setting goals for yourself is absolutely the right thing to do, but just having good intentions alone changes nothing. You can make resolutions all you want—but a resolution without a plan is just wishful thinking. So, how can you stick with your goals throughout the year?
Make SMART goals.
What Are SMART Goals?
Creating SMART goals gives you direction. They make it easy to see if you’re getting closer to your target or still treading water. There are five building blocks that will help you reach your SMART goals:
S – Specific
What do you want to achieve? Get down to the nitty-gritty with it. Just saying you want to lose weight won’t cut it. Instead try, “I’d like to drop 20 pounds and be able to do at least 20 sit-ups in a row without passing out.” Watch for any roadblocks that could keep you from reaching your goal, and make a plan to get around them.
Questions to ask yourself: Who does my goal involve? What am I trying to accomplish here? When and why do I want to make this goal happen?
M – Measurable
If you know your ultimate goal is to pay off $24,000 of debt in the next year, that means you have to pay $2,000 a month to reach that goal (or about $460 a week). Break your goal into doable chunks. Give yourself daily, weekly and monthly steps. Focus on those, accomplish one, then head on to the next one.
Questions to ask yourself: How long will it take to reach my goal? How do I know when I’ve reached my goal?
A – Achievable
Is your goal realistic? Do you have the ability to do it? What about the skills or tools you need to reach it? If not, no shame. Just change your goal to something you can accomplish. You don’t want easy-to-reach goals though. Stretch yourself! But don’t chase after something that will wind up discouraging you in the long run.
Questions to ask yourself: Do I have the resources to achieve my goals? If the answer is no, what am I missing?
R – Relevant
Does the goal fit with the overall plan you have? If your goal is to learn the art of origami and you have room for a new hobby, great! But if you have plenty of hobbies, think about spending that energy elsewhere. And don’t forget to figure out what your why is. Your why could be something like, “I want to go on dates with my spouse twice a month to invest in and strengthen our relationship.” Why you want to do something is powerful.
Questions to ask yourself: Is the goal within reach? Is it reachable with the time and resources I have? Why do I want to reach this goal?
T – Time-Sensitive
Set a time limit—because you need a finish line. Take that goal of yours, create a plan, and break it all the way down to daily activities. Then, give yourself a deadline. For example, “I’d like to lose 20 pounds by December 31.” To lose 20 pounds, calculate things like how many times you need to work out each week and daily calorie intake. Use a tool like the Business Boutique 2020 Goal Planner to help you organize your thoughts and attack your plan.
Questions to ask yourself: Do I have a deadline for reaching my goal? When will I achieve this goal? How many times will I achieve this goal?
Don’t get discouraged if you get off track. Life happens. We all hit speed bumps and roadblocks from time to time. That’s okay! As long as you stay focused on the end goal and keep taking small steps toward achieving it, you’ll be on your way to big life-change.