Setting SMART Goals for 2013

setting smart goalsBy Kelly Hodges
I’ve written about goal setting before on SeeItMarket, and I do so again today because I feel so strongly about its importance. The start of the year is the perfect time to think about your short and long term goals for your family, career, health, relationships, faith, finances, or other areas of value in your life. What do you want your finances to look like by December? What do you want your career to look like at retirement? In short, it’s all about setting smart goals and working to attain them.

People who are successful in life set goals. They have a destination in sight and meticulously plot the course until they arrive. Without goals we may have a lovely journey, but the place we end up may look nothing like where we set out to go.

Setting a goal to “eat better” or “retire” is not the type of goal I am referring to. These goals are so vague that they are almost meaningless. If you are serious about setting goals, then it’s important to set them the right way. SMART goals are not a new concept, but they are popular because they work. They are relevant across the gamut of goal setters- from students to Heads of State. Books have been written on the topic, but here in a nutshell are the 5 characteristics of SMART goals:

Specific – What exactly are you going to do, who is involved, where will it occur, why are you doing it? SMART goals tip: The more detailed you can be the better, nothing should be vague about what you want to accomplish and why. 

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Measurable – This is quantifying your goal so you’ll know when you’ve achieved it. Your goal isn’t “to lose weight,” it’s “to lose 12 pounds.” Or it’s to make x dollars or x% investing. SMART goals tip: Write the number down and put it in your wallet or add to an outlook calendar reminder for motivation.

Attainable – This keeps you in check so you don’t get carried away. You can set a goal to be an Olympic gymnast, but if you can’t do a cartwheel it’s not going to happen. SMART goals tip: Having a challenging goal is commendable, but an unrealistic one is foolish.

Relevant – What is the point of the goal? Is it something that really matters? You could set a goal to read “Moby Dick” ten times this year, but why would you do that, what would it accomplish? SMART goals tips: Make it personal so the fires to achieve it burns from within.

Time-bound – Give your goal a deadline, if there isn’t one then it will be procrastinated. Your goal isn’t “to get a promotion,” it’s “to get a promotion by 2014.” Otherwise 2017 will roll around and you’ll still be working on that promotion. SMART goals tip: Set 2 or 3 mini goals along the way to keep you on track!

Think of these characteristics when crafting your SMART goals this year. Make sure that you know where your destination is, and then have fun moving towards it! Good luck.


Twitter: @FrugalFinance1  and  @seeitmarket

Any opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, and do not in any way represent the views or opinions of her employer or any other person or entity.