For most of my life I have been prolific at setting goals. I find that setting goals helps to motivate me to achieve things I otherwise wouldn’t normally achieve.
What I enjoy about setting goals is that I find it focuses my energy onto a target, which in turn helps me to manage my time and resources to the best of my ability.
Setting SMART goals help people work towards achieving their own objectives. SMART goal setting is used by many successful people throughout the world as a means of measuring their achievements.
This can be incredibly helpful when trying to save money or pay down debt. It can serve as a constant reminder of where you started, what you have achieved so far and where you are heading.
Types of goals
There are many different types of goals which people set – the more common ones include:
Financial goals are great! They can really set the tone for you when it comes to establishing your future financial direction. You might be planning to buy a house, start a family or looking to retirement. It doesn’t matter which stage of life you are in – setting financial goals can help you achieve whatever it is you are wanting to attain.
I honestly can’t get enough of setting financial goals. It must be something to do with my personality, as I have almost no friends that enjoy it anywhere near as much as I do. Without setting financial goals my wife and I would have never been able to pay off as much debt on our mortgage as we have so far.
I have recently added a page to show how we are going at paying off our mortgage debt, please check it out – I can use all the support I can get.
Having a career can be a highly rewarding experience. People who have careers often don’t see it just as being a job, but as a part of their life / their identity. I know many career motivated individuals and one thing that they have in common is that they set career goals.
It is important to be able to look ahead while setting career goals. Many financially rewarding careers require some formal education, and while there are many ways to go about obtaining that education, online schools are the best way to go if you want to save both time and money. There are a plethora of online schools that offer just about any degree you can think of, so it is a smart choice regardless of your particular career goal. For example, you can earn a professional degree like a Bachelor of Arts in Management online without having to worry about traveling back and forth between classes.
Career goals can be as simple as knowing where you want to be in your career 5 to 10 years from now. It is important to set career goals so that you don’t end up stagnating in the same job for years without any future direction.
We all know that person who has what seems like endless motivation when it comes to their physical well being. It seems like they are never tempted by the “bad foods” in life and are always working out in the gym trying attain their ideal body shape or fitness level. It is highly likely these motivated individuals have set themselves goals which they are in the process of progressing towards.
For me it feels like health related goals are the ones which are most frequently set. Around the 1st of January each year I like to ask many of my friends if they are setting any goals for the coming year – almost all of them will state something to do with losing weight or getting into shape.
Relationship goals can be some of the most difficult to complete. Whether you are planning a wedding, looking to get engaged, starting a family or just looking for love, there are so many different types of relationship goals that people can set. Unfortunately successfully completing many of these goals can be outside of your direct circle of influence.
As an example – You might be wanting to start a family and you run into unexpected infertility issues. This will likely reduce your ability to complete that goal and there is almost nothing that you can do about it.
When setting goals it is important to determine how quickly they can be achieved. When setting my own goals I like to split them up into the following 3 categories:
Long-term / Life Goals
These are my big ticket items, my bucket list if you want to call it that. These are normally really long term goals which can span for years of even decades. I normally do not put very aggressive time frames on these goals (if put a time on it at all) as too much can change over such a long time period.
If you feel you can stick to a longer term timeline then definitely put an expected completion date on your goal. You will be far more likely to actively pursue a goal if there is a defined end date.
For me medium term goals are ones which are anything between 1 month and 1 year. I find that most of my goals fit into this category.
Small goals are things you can finish in the next 5 minutes up to 1 month. They can be as simple as baking a cake for someone’s birthday party where the party is within the next 30 days.
What are SMART goals?
Many successful people around the world set SMART goals. To understand SMART goals you need to know what the acronym stands for:
Wikipedia has a really good run down of each of the SMART criteria – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria
I find that setting SMART goals is really helpful for short/medium term goals but I personally have found them to be less importance for the big life goals.
SMART goals examples
As a SMART goal example I thought it would be good to review one of my completed life goals.
My goal was to – Find a job and be employed within 2 months of completing my degree
Unfortunately back when I set this goal I had no idea about SMART goals, so it will be good to see how I could have better set my goal.
Specific (What do I want to accomplish?)
Original: Find a Job. – Very scant on detail.
Better: Find a job that pays at least $50,000 and doesn’t require weekend or overtime work.
Measurable (How will I know when it is accomplished?)
Original: Be employed. – Again, not much detail.
Better: Be employed at the job with the best future promotion prospects or the best rate of pay.
Attainable (How can the goal be accomplished?)
Original: Find a job. – I do not go into any detail about how attainable my goal is. Although in this case it is a simple goal and doesn’t really need too much detail.
Better: Start applying for roles which are related to my degree and that I am qualified to work in. — This sets the expectation and I have now narrowed down the goal.
Relevant (Does this seem worthwhile? / Is this a good time to be attempting this goal? / Is this a want or a need?)
Determining if a goal is relevant is very dependant on your current situation. In this example I was just finishing university and needed money, it would be considered a highly relevant goal.
Original: Within 2 months of completing my degree. – 2 months seems like an appropriate amount of time to me.
Better: Find work by the 1st of January 2003. – Set a definitive date.
Better SMART Goal: Find a job by the 1st of January 2003 which is related to my degree and has realistic promotion prospects. The job needs to pay at least $50,000 and should not require weekend or overtime work.