SMART goals aid in giving you direction. I learned about this technique a couple years back when I was trying to find a way to improve and organize different areas of my life.
You list out a set of goals, then think through and plan how you will achieve those goals.
SMART goals make it easy to see if you’re getting closer to your desired objective.
Make sure your SMART goals are your own
Want to fail at goal setting? Try to accomplish the goals set for you by someone else. You won’t have the drive to stick with it if you’re working toward someone else’s goal. It won’t happen unless it’s your desire to achieve it.
Winning at life is tough. If it wasn’t, we would all be living picture perfect lives! Just because your family wants you to improve your financial situation by getting out of debt doesn’t mean you will. You have to want it as well. The goals you set must be your goals. You’re the one who can turn these goals into a reality.
Where to apply SMART Goals
I recommend setting goals for these six significant areas of life:
- Financial: start saving for retirement, get out of debt, or implement a monthly budget
- Health: eat better food, eliminate sugar, and exercise more often
- Educational: go back to school, get training in something new, or finish a book every month
- Family: dedicate more time to the family or plan weekly date nights with your spouse
- Career: work toward a promotion or raise, learn a new skill, or send out resumes and get that job you have always dreamed of
- Social: say yes when someone invites you to a social gathering or (for some of us) say no more often.
There are five building blocks to reaching your goals
What will you do? What do you want to achieve? Use action words and details. Just saying you want to lose weight won’t cut it. Instead try, “I will lose 25 pounds and be able to run 1-mile without passing out.” Determine any roadblocks that could keep you from reaching your goal and make a plan to get around them.
Give yourself daily, weekly, and monthly goals. For instance, say you want to save $3000 over the next year. You will need to save $250 a month to reach your goal. Daily, that equals approximately $8.22. Wow, that all of a sudden looks plausible! Break your goal into manageable “chunks.” Focus on those. Accomplish one, then head on to the next one.
Is your goal realistic or within your scope? Do you have the ability to do it? What about the skills or tools you need to reach it? If you find it’s not attainable, just change or modify it to something you can accomplish. Stretch yourself, but don’t chase after something that will end up discouraging you.
Does the goal fit with the overall plan you have set for yourself? It’s good to have hobbies, but if you have plenty of hobbies, consider spending that energy elsewhere. Reflect back to your Personal Mission Statement. The goal should easily tie in to your dreams and desires.
Set a time limit. Take that goal of yours, create a plan, and break it down into small manageable daily activities. Then give yourself a deadline—we don’t have all the time in the world!
Don’t get discouraged if you get off track
Life happens and that’s okay! You’re the captain of your own ship and it’s your choice if you decide to change course. If this happens, adapt and adjust.
Keep taking small steps toward achieving your goals and you’ll be on your way to making a big life change!