Setting SMART Goals

We often hear people talk about setting goals that sound something like this “I want to retire by the time I am 60 years old.” It’s a great goal, but the real question is do you know how to make that happen?

Successful goal setting begins with a great idea but does not stop there. Large goals are accomplished in baby steps that feel realistic and achievable. The more you believe you can complete the goal, the better chance it will become a reality. Setting small steps along the way will reinforce the feeling that you can do this, and that the effort is worthwhile. 

An acronym that is helpful in setting goals is SMART. Smart goals are those that are:

Specific: State exactly what you want to accomplish. (Who, What, Where, Why, How)

Measurable: How will you demonstrate when the goal has been met? Are there increments along the way you could use to measure success?

Achievable: Is this goal realistic? Do you have the skills, abilities, time, and financial ability to accomplish the goal? Do you have support where it is needed?

Relevant: How does this goal align with your values and your longer term goals? Is this goal important to you?

Time-bound: Set 1 or more target dates, the "by when", to guide your goal to successful and timely completion. (Include deadlines, dates, and frequency)

If goal setting is new to you, start small. Choose something to save for that will take three to six months. Pick a date each month to deposit the funds into your savings account. For example:

Specific:                    I would like to save $500 for my new television.

Measurable:              I will deposit funds every payday and keep track of my progress.

Achievable:               $100 per month is within my budget; I will split this into two deposits.

Relevant:                  The old TV is starting to act up and my family would enjoy some new features.

Time-bound:             I will accomplish this goal within six months by following this action plan.

Setting goals gives your life direction, and boosts your motivation and self-confidence.  Start small and focus on one goal at a time. Accomplish that goal and celebrate; then set a new or bigger goal. What goal will you decide to accomplish today?