Kudos to you if you are still keeping up with your New Year’s resolutions! But most people who make New Year’s resolutions aren’t keeping them by month’s end.
Why? They weren’t SMART!
What are SMART goals?
S – Specific
M - Measurable
A - Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Time-Bound
Specific - Your goals should be as detailed and specific as possible. It’s not enough to say you have a goal of saving lots of money. You need to give it a figure like “I will save $3000 this year.” Without specifics you are just floating out there. If you only say your goal is to save then did you achieve your goal by putting fifty cents in a jar? Didn’t accomplish much with that.
Measurable - To continue with the savings example, how will you get that $3000? In one lump sum? Or perhaps in measurable terms like “I will save $250 a month. This will be $125 from each of my pay periods in the monthly.” Being able to measure your progress will help you move along in your goal.
Attainable - Can you achieve this goal? Will you be able to break it up into smaller achievements that will add up to the goal? In our example we save $125 per paycheck in order to attain the big goal of $ 3000 in savings for the year.
Realistic - Do you believe your goal can be reached? For our example you have to be able to save $250 a month. If you currently only save about $50 a month then you either have to figure out a way to squeeze out more savings or you might need to make your goal more realistic. When a goal is unrealistic you’ll become frustrated before long and give up the goal.
Time-Bound – Give yourself a pre-determined time frame for your goal. Back to out example – It’s great to want to save $3000 but it’s very different to do that in year and to do it in ten years.
The SMART system is a great guideline for you to set goals with. Ask yourself if your New Year’s resolutions are SMART. If they are you have a much better chance of accomplishing them!