Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions by Setting SMART Goals
As always, the New Year brings a new crop of both personal and professional New Year’s resolutions and goals.
Many people make general resolutions like, “I want to lose weight” or “I want to save money”.
They follow through for a couple of weeks and then, by the time February rolls around, find themselves hungover ordering two Double Quarter Pounders with Cheese and extra Large Fries and spending an extra $10 on Door Dash.
Now while that does sound somewhat appetizing, does it sound like it aligns with their goals? The short answer is No.
Part of the reason so many people fall off from their resolutions isn’t simply because they lack motivation to succeed, but because their goals never set them up for success in the first place.
Do you want to make 2021 the year that you actually follow through with your resolutions and goals? Or do you want to order a cheeseburger with fries?
If so, go ahead and place that Door Dash order first because it’s pretty hard to focus on an empty stomach, THEN keep reading so that you can learn how to create SMART Goals.
What is a SMART Goal?
Simply put, the acronym SMART Goals is just a better way to write more detailed goals.
The individual words in the acronym can be changed based on what they mean to you, but the general principle of the acronym stays the same.
Today, the most commonly accepted definition of the acronym is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Based.
Below is a more in-depth explanation of each part of a SMART goal.
SMART Goals Defined
When creating a SMART goal, you need to be thorough about what you’re setting out to accomplish. All too often, many goal-setters make the common mistake of creating generalized goals. For example, saying, “One day, I want to own a small business” is a great goal, but when making a SMART goal you must always have a detailed goal in mind.
You might ask, “Why is this goal too general?” Well, because there are hundreds of types of small business out there! What type of small business do you want to own? A restaurant? An auto-body shop? Once you specify your goal, you’re ready to move onto the next step.
Now that you have a specific goal in mind, you’ll need a way to track your progress or results. That’s where the M in SMART comes in. M stand for Measurable, which simply means that you must have a way to quantify or keep track of your goal.
By creating an indicator of progress, you can now work daily to take the necessary steps to achieve your goal!
A: Achievable or Attainable
This is one of the more difficult aspects of SMART goals to grasp, not because the words Achievable or Attainable are hard to define, but because it often forces goal-setters to come face to face with reality.
Will it actually be possible for you to achieve this goal given your specific financial, physical or educational circumstances or is this goal simply out of reach?
This is where you’ll need to be completely honest with yourself and see if the goal you’re setting can truly be attained or if it’s just out of the question, at least for the time being.
Why is accomplishing this goal important to you? Is it just something you’re doing because you’re bored and need something to cross off? Or is this goal something that will greatly benefit you in one or many aspects of your life?
It’s important to remember when setting professional or personal goals, they should add value to your overall wellbeing. After all, a goal isn’t just an agenda, but a list of desired results that you commit yourself to achieving for a specific reason.
T: Time Bound
Lastly, in order to be a SMART Goal, you’ll need to give yourself a timeline to reach this goal. Too often, people lose sight of their goals and instead take frequent visits to “Someday Isle”.
“Someday Isle” is a play on words, but merely refers to the fact that we create goals in the present time and fail to achieve them because we push them far into the distant future. For example, “Someday I’ll start a business” or “Someday I’ll have enough money to buy my dream car”.
In order to prevent yourself from procrastinating on your goals, you must set a realistic time period to achieve that goal so that you’re consistently on track to meet it.
Put everything that you’ve learned today together, and you now have your very own SMART Goal.
Here’s an example below.
“I want to save up some money and open up a small business in the near future.”
“I want to save $25,000 over the next 3 years to open up a new restaurant in downtown Vacaville.”
Can you spot the difference? Which of the statements listed above do you think is a more effective example of a goal?
Now that you know how to make SMART Goals, go out there and make 2021 YOUR year and crush those New Year’s Resolutions!
All jokes aside, do you know someone who actually wants to open up a new small business in the Vacaville Area?
If so, send them our way and our team of bookkeeping and marketing experts will make sure that they take the steps necessary to making their goal come true!