Ever wonder how some people just seem to be able to make whatever they dream a reality? They always seem to know how to materialize their wildest desires. They may even be viewed as lucky; however, I believe these go-getters and dream catchers are really just fantastic goal setters.
They write down a S.M.A.R.T. goal and achieve it.
I know, I know, it does not sound that easy and it really is not as easy as writing something down. However, when you write it down, you increase the likely hood of you achieving that goal/dream tenfold. Putting something in writing makes whatever you are trying to achieve seem more attainable. At that point, it becomes less of a dream or idea floating around your head and more of a call-to-action.
When you create specific, measureable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals, you give yourself a roadmap to accomplishing your goals. At the start of this year, I started holding myself accountable to my blog readers through my goal update posts. These were not the best posts or the best goals, but the practice was what I needed to learn how to start achieving my wildest dreams.
On Friday, I will be sharing my 2015 goals, but for today, I want to share how you can create your own S.M.A.R.T. goals for your personal, financial, and business/career life. I go into depth with creating your financial goals in this post where you can figure out how best to determine your financial goals.
How to Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals:
You have to be as specific as possible when creating your goals. Instead of saying that I want to build an emergency fund, I would write down that I want to save a $1,000 in my emergency fund. Avoid being too vague with your goals. If you are going to accomplish them and feel a sense of accomplishment, you have to be specific.
Answer these six questions when creating your goals:
Who: Who is involved?
What: What do I want to accomplish?
Where: Identify a location.
When: Establish a time frame.
Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
Why: List specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
It can be a little scary writing specific goals because if you currently have no emergency fund and are tight on cash, saving a $1,000 is going to be tough. We naturally avoid having to give ourselves actual numbers and deadlines to work with because we are secretly afraid that we will not accomplish our goal.
Punch fear in the face and write down specific goals for 2015.
If you want to achieve your goals, you have to make them measurable. Ask yourself this question, “how will I know when it is accomplished”? Using the emergency fund example from above, if you just wrote down that you wanted to build an emergency fund and were not specific on the amount, you would not be able to measure it. You would know that you wanted to build an emergency fund but you would not know if you have achieved that goal as what defines your emergency fund? Is it a $100, a $1,000, $10,000? Make your goal specific and measurable so you can measure your progress.
This is probably the most important component of the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting process – making goals that are achievable. If you want to actually achieve your goals, you have to make this achievable by asking yourself, how much and how many will you need to achieve your goal. If you write down that, you want to save $10,000 in your emergency fund but you are currently so tight on cash that saving that $10,000 is not going to happen within the next decade, you are writing down an unachievable goal.
It is not that the goal is completely unachievable, it is just unachievable for where you are now in life and you will only end up discouraged for not meeting your goal. We like instant gratification. Make the $10,000 emergency fund your long term goal and break out this goal into smaller more manageable goals by starting with a $1,000 emergency fund before the end of the year.
In order for your goal to be relevant, you must create goals that you are willing and able to work towards. The $10,000 emergency fund goal from above was an unachievable goal and it was not relevant for the current lifestyle of the goal-setter. However, if that goal-setter breaks that large goal down into manageable bite-sized chunks and is willing and able to work in order to accomplish those smaller goals, they will accomplish their larger goal.
All goals should have a timeframe in which to be completed. Without a timeframe, there is no sense of urgency, which will usually result in the goal taking much longer than expected to reach or the goal not being reached at all. Avoid using “someday” in your goal setting and instead set a very specific date.
For our emergency fund example, you would want to set a date that was realistic based upon your current money flow and how much you could save each pay period. You would want to avoid setting a date that is too far away as it will result in the same outcome as setting a goal of “someday”.
Personally, I like to set my goals on a three-month, six-month, yearly, five-year, and ten-year timeframe. Deciding upon the timeframe is entirely up to you, but make sure that the timeframe is realistic and achievable.
Make this New Year the one where you achieve your goals. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals and start realizing your biggest dreams come to reality.
What is one of your goals for the New Year?
Are you ready to get your budget in control?
Want to build a budget that works for you? I'm giving away my best-selling workbook for free! Sign up to get started right away!