Personal Finance 

Set SMART Goals for a Kick Ass Year

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SMARTWe’ve done two days of “reviews,” from rebalancing your portfolio to reviewing your home inventory, and now it’s time to look forward. One of the most popular past-times for the New Year is to set a New Year’s Resolution. People resolve to lose weight, spend more time with family and friends, work harder, blah blah blah. Most of the time they abandon that by early February. I know this because every year the gym is packed in January, thins out by February, and has returned to normal by March. It’s like clockwork.

One of the reasons why most people fail has to do with their goal setting. That’s why it’s important for you to set SMART goals.

This post is part of the 2011 Spring Cleaning Week!


SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. The acronym is significant because a good goal is one that incorporates each of those characteristics. (there are some versions of that acronym that swap out words but the basic gist is the same)

It’s important to set goals in the first place, SMART or otherwise, because it’s always valuable to have a target. Without a target, you don’t know what you’re aiming for. The other characteristics that make a goal SMART will help maintain motivation, which is absolutely crucial.

How do we turn a not-SMART goal into a SMART one? Let’s take the old classic, “lose weight.” Lose weight lacks all of the characteristics of a SMART goal. It’s not really a goal but more of a statement on a process, right? You are constantly losing and gaining weight.

A better version would be to lose 10 pounds before March 1st, depending on how “realistic” that is for you (if you weigh 100 pounds, probably not realistic). It’s specific (10 pounds), measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (March 1st).

What’s important in setting a SMART goal is that you can measure your progress, which can boost your motivation to complete the goal. As each week passes and you trim off a pound or two, you feel that goal getting closer and closer. That, in turn, motivates you to push onward.

So this year, set some SMART goals and have a kick ass 2011!

(Photo: kenjonbro)

{ 5 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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5 Responses to “Set SMART Goals for a Kick Ass Year”

  1. krantcents says:

    I have been using SMART goals for very long time. I owe a lot of my financial and personal success to SMART goals.

  2. Shirley says:

    Clean out the storage shed!

    Specific – leave only what belongs to us.
    Measurable – kids, pick up “your stuff” by(date) or it goes to the dump.
    Attainable – by practicing tough-love.
    Realistic – Lord, give me tough-love strength!
    Timely – oh yes, far past time.
    Earlier prepared – thought about it a lot.
    Reward – Uncluttering accomplished!

  3. zapeta says:

    I don’t know how I always forget this tactic when setting goals, especially since it works!

  4. Victoria says:

    I always set new goals at the start of the year, but I stop following them as the year goes on. I used to be in the military, and they also have something called the SMART book. Same type of thing.

  5. This was a nice simple reminder of how to set goals the right way. Now if we could only get more people to follow through, I think we would be in good shape.

    Thanks for the concise explanation!

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