Ever wonder why it is important to set goals? According to a study by the University of Scranton in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 30% of New Years resolutions are money related. It also states that 45% of Americans make a resolution and that only 8% are actually successful in achieving the goal they set forth. Why is that the case?
The main reason is that they don’t write them down. When you have clear & concise written goals, you know what to strive for and you can devise a plan to achieve them. The criteria that I use for making written goals is called “SMART goals.”
What are SMART Goals?
Specific – Your goal can’t be vague. It has to be pointed and have a specific purpose.
Measurable – It has to be quantifiable, otherwise how do you know if you have truly achieved it?
Attainable – It has to be something that is achievable. Saying you want to fly to the moon tomorrow, is not likely to happen, so make sure your goal is attainable. It is OK if it is difficult to attain, but just don’t write down goals that are improbable. You will just get frustrated and you are likely to give up.
Relevant – It has to be a goal that is relevant to what you are trying to accomplish in life. Again, if you say you want to fly to the moon, yet you are a CPA with no desire to do the astronaut training, you may want to re-think this goal.
Time Sensitive – It has to have a deadline attached to it. This way you have a time-frame in order to plan how to achieve your goal.
Here is an example of a SMART goal that Kim and I used which we were able to accomplish:
“We want to pay off $52,000 in debt in 18 months.”
This was Specific because it was clear and precise. It was Measurable because there we specified an amount which allowed us to gauge our progress. It was Attainable because we had a car to sell that would pay off $18,000 of that debt as well as I had a commission based job where the harder I worked, the more I got paid. It was Relevant because it applied to us and it was something that we really wanted to do. Lastly, it was Time Sensitive because we listed that we wanted to pay it off in 18 months.
What are your financial goals? Do you have them written down on paper? If not, today is a good day to start.