When I used to set my financial goals, I would say things like:
“I wanna save more!”
“I wanna get Sallie off my back!”
And when I think back on it, these were some pretty vague, blah goals! In order to actually accomplish whatever it is that you desire to, you have to be laser specific. Actually, your goals need to be SMART. No, I’m not calling your current money goals dumb, I’m just sayin! The S.M.A.R.T. acronym simply means that your goals are:
I’m going to teach you what you need to do in order to take your goals to another level by applying the SMART acronym. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!
Write down your money goal.
Go ahead and get out a blank sheet of paper, your favorite pen, and write down whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry about whether it meets all of the criteria during this step! By the time you’re done with the whole entire process, you will have yourself a SMART goal! Let’s take the first goal that I previously said and use it as an example. “I wanna save more.” Now it’s your turn. See that was simple wasn’t it?
Ask yourself whether your goal is SPECIFIC.
Take a look at the goal that you originally wrote down and ask yourself how you could make it a bit more specific. Ok so my original goal was to save more money. How could I make it more specific? Here’s how: “I want to save more money by bringing my lunch to work instead of eating out.” Aaaah, now that’s specific! Ok, let’s move on and make your goal measurable.
Ask yourself whether your goal is MEASURABLE.
When will you know if you’ve accomplished your goal? You won’t if you don’t have any numbers or measurements attached to it. Now me saying that I want to save more money by bringing my lunch to work instead of eating out isn’t really measurable. So, I’ll say something like this, “I want to save $100 by bringing my lunch to work instead of eating out.” Go ahead and write down how you’re going to measure your goal so that we can move on to the next step.
Ask yourself whether your goal is ACHIEVABLE.
Is the goal that you wrote down something that you can actually achieve? I said that I wanted to save $100, not 1 million. I would say that the chances I am able to save $100 are pretty darn high compared to me saving that million. I’m not saying that you can’t aim high, but you’ve gotta start by setting goals that you know you will be able to attain. You can always set a new goal once your original one is met (if I keep saving and setting new goals, I can very well save 1 million dollars someday).
Ask yourself whether your goal is RELEVANT.
Here’s where you have to be honest with yourself and determine if the goal that you want to accomplish is actually relevant to your life. Is this goal going to allow you to live the life of your dreams? Let’s take a look at my example of saving $100 by bringing my lunch to work instead of eating out. What if I never cook, hate cooking, and never plan to cook in the future? Well saving money by bringing my lunch to work is going to be kinda hard and unrealistic to my lifestyle. This is where I would evaluate my goal and make the necessary changes or scratch my goal completely, which is totally fine to do. You have to be real here. Take some time to go through this process with your goal. Yes, do it now!
Ask yourself whether your goal is TIME-BOUND.
It’s imperative that you attach a time frame to your goal. It doesn’t matter if it’s one week, one month, 3 months, one year. It doesn’t matter…write it down. This step is going to make you put in the action to actually accomplishing this goal. Having that time frame allows you to create a game plan and you’ll be more likely to stick to it.
Ok now it’s time for you to go back and write out SMART your goal. For instance, my original goal was “I wanna save more.” Not really SMART right? By applying the criteria of SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, RELEVANT, and TIME-BOUND, my new goal is:
“I want to save $100 by February 14, 2017 by bringing my lunch to work instead of eating out.”
BOOM! There you have it folks! A SMART goal!
I don’t want you to continue struggling to reach your money goals and I know you don’t want to either. By ensuring that your goals are SMART, you’ll be just fine as long as you put the work in that goes along with it.
Now let’s talk about it. Are your money goals SMART? Sound off in the comments, I wanna hear from you!
P.S. If you thought that this was insanely awesome or made you think about someone that you know, please share this with them!