Happy New Year! No matter what resolutions you set for 2020, setting goals without a plan to achieve them is really just having good intentions. Luckily, there are some strategies you can use to help to you turn those intentions into action, and action into achievement!
This post from Dave Ramsey’s blog talks about how to make any of your goals SMART goals:
What Are SMART Goals?
SMART goals give you clear direction, making it easier to see if you’re getting closer to your target. They are:
S – Specific
What do you want to achieve? Get down to the nitty-gritty with it. For example, set a goal for how much debt you want to pay off. How about $24,000 in the next year? Watch for any roadblocks that could keep you from reaching your goal, and make a plan to get around them.
Questions to ask yourself: Who does my goal involve? What am I trying to accomplish here? When and why do I want to make this goal happen?
M – Measurable
If you know your ultimate goal is to pay off $24,000 of debt in the next year, that means you have to pay $2,000 a month to reach that goal (or about $460 a week). Break your goal into doable chunks. Give yourself daily, weekly and monthly steps. Focus on those, accomplish one, then head on to the next one.
Questions to ask yourself: How long will it take to reach my goal? How do I know when I’ve reached my goal?
A – Achievable
Is your goal realistic? Do you have the ability to do it? What about the skills or tools you need to reach it? Stretch yourself! But don’t chase after something that will wind up discouraging you in the long run. Have things in place to help you—like a monthly budget, a plan that works, and someone in your corner rooting for you.
Questions to ask yourself: Do I have the resources to achieve my goals? If the answer is no, what am I missing?
R – Relevant
Does the goal fit with the overall plan you have? Why you want to do something is powerful, so keep your ‘why' in sight! When you’re several months into your goal and the shiny newness of it starts to wear off, it can be easy to lose focus or get discouraged. You’ll see people going on vacation, eating at fancy restaurants, and dropping big money for sports events, all while you’re scrimping and saving to hit your goal. And that’s when you need to remember why you’re getting out of debt, why it’s so important to your future, and why you’re sacrificing temporarily.
Questions to ask yourself: Is the goal within reach? Is it reachable with the time and resources I have? Why do I want to reach this goal?
T – Time-Sensitive
Set a time limit—because you need a finish line. Take that goal of yours, create a plan, and break it all the way down to daily activities. Then, give yourself a deadline. Sure, you could spend the rest of your life taking your sweet time to get out of debt—but why do that when you can kick it to the curb now and get on with living your best life? Giving yourself a time limit to complete your goal will help you stay focused and motivated.
Questions to ask yourself: Do I have a deadline for reaching my goal? When will I achieve this goal? How many times will I achieve this goal?
Write Out Your SMART Goals
Something special happens when you write down specific goals. Get them down on paper along with all the steps it’ll take for you to get there. Seeing your goals in black and white will help you hold yourself accountable and track your progress along the way. Share your goals with a friend or partner, and enlist their help in holding you accountable.
What goals have you set for yourself? Let us know in the comments!