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How to Set and Achieve SMART Goals

Setting goals is easy. Sticking with them until the end is harder. The first step to turning your goals into reality is to make sure you are setting the right kind of goals. From there, it's only a matter of time before your well on your way to a happier you.

Setting goals is easy. Sticking with them until the end is harder. The first step to turning your goals into reality is to make sure you are setting the right kind of goals. From there, it's only a matter of time before your well on your way to a happier you.

What are SMART Goals?

SMART Goals are a type of goal that can be used for anything from trying to save up a little money or in a business model. These types of goals have five aspects to them that make them stronger and give you a better chance to meet them.

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Achievable
  4. Realistic
  5. Timely

Let's look at each part of the mnemonic:

Specific

The goals you set need to be specific to various parts of your life, budget, business, etc. For example, "I want to save money" or "I want to increase sales" are not specific goals. They are generalizations and may be part of your endgame, but you will not reach these broad goals easily. What exactly do you want to accomplish? Consider the five W's: who, what, when, where, why. Use your clearly defined goal to show you how to get from point A to point B.

Measurable

Putting a number to your goal will make it much easier to measure your progress. Using the same example, "I want to save $2000." Now we are getting closer to a well-rounded goal. It is also helpful to have a way to measure your success. When you're tightening your budget, you can closely monitor your finances and measure your income versus expenses to find out where you're going wrong.

Achievable

What has prohibited you from completing your goals in the past? Identify your weaknesses and obstacles and find a way to turn them around and allow yourself to have a chance at achieving your goals now.

Realistic

Achievable goals also have to be realistic. Something that is unrealistic is just a dream and you won't have a hope of achieving it without reasonable expectations. Like before, saving $2000 is certainly reasonable and very possible, but it is not realistic to expect to save $2000 in two weeks.

Timely

Lastly, put a time limit on your goal. By when do you want or need to accomplish this goal? This is another way to track your goal. If you have six months to save $2000 and after three you only have $500, you can readjust to either step up your game or extend your time to something more reasonable for you. Just make sure you are doing something every day to move you towards your goal.

What can I do to achieve my SMART Goals?

Now that your goals are set, you're probably feeling pretty good about yourself and excited about having more money in your savings account, or losing weight, or whatever your goal may be. However, it is easy to get sidetracked or hit a roadblock if you're not taking some extra precautions or steps toward achieving your goals. Here are a few tips that might help increase your chances of meeting your goals.

  1. Make sure your goals reflect your values or have meaning for you, otherwise there will not be anything stopping you from "falling off the wagon." Determine your "why." Why are you setting this goal and why do you need or want to achieve it.
  2. Write your goals down. Just simply thinking about your goals makes them less real and decreases your chances of sticking to them. Writing them down and putting them somewhere you'll see them will help keep them in the forefront of your mind.
  3. If you're the kind of person that needs help keeping accountable, telling a few positive, supportive people about your goals can help with that.
  4. Use every aspect of your SMART goal to plan out how you want to go about achieving your goals. Set deadlines for various intervals of your plan and make sure you are keeping track of your success.
  5. Reward yourself. Come up with little rewards for yourself for certain milestones in your plan and for when you reach your goal to keep yourself motivated and positive.

Hopefully by now you are able to set better goals and are well on your way to achieving them. Feel free to share your tips and tricks for meeting your goals with us; we are always looking for new ideas on how to live a little better.

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