Also, and above all when we have to manage our money, we need clear goals to reach the target we have set.
You’ve most likely heard that the goals to be effective have to be S.M.A.R.T., but what does “S.M.A.R.T. goals” stand for?
I’ll explain it to you in this post!
The S.M.A.R.T. Acronym
We then understood that a goal must be intelligent, but what does that mean?
That the goal should be s.m.a.r.t. is a model created for coaching in companies, to help managers set goals for work teams. Over time it has been expanded to make it more suitable for the goal-setting of each person and slightly modified.
The original creation of the S.m.a.r.t. acronym is due to Paul J. Meyer and indicates that a goal must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
Specific means clear and unambiguous; Measurable indicates that it has concrete criteria to understand when it is reached and at what point we are along the way; Attainable means that the goal is not out of reach; with Relevant we want to say that it’s you who consider it an important and motivating thing; Time-based indicates that there are times established for the achievement of the objective itself.
Let’s see specifically how to create a goal with these rules.
Your Dream Goals
Whenever you set yourself a goal, you have to ask yourself if this matches the rules of smart planning: this means goals like “I want to earn more”, “I want a lot of money”, “I want more money”, “I want to be rich”, “I want to learn how to save” are NOT smart goals, but what we call “dream goals” in coaching.
And like all dreams … they are fantasies.
You must learn to transform these dreams into something concrete and achievable.
Only in this way can you put yourself in the order of ideas to take concrete steps in the realization of what you want.
To do this, the s.m.a.r.t. method comes to your rescue.
Let’s take our first example “I want to earn more” and transform it!
Smart-ize Your Goal
“I want to earn more” is your dream goal. Let’s improve it!
- SPECIFIC: HOW MUCH do you want to earn? i.e. I want to earn $40,000 a year.
- MEASURABLE: HOW DO you CLEARLY understand that you have reached the goal? i.e. When I’ll make the tax return.
- ATTAINABLE: HOW CAN you ACCOMPLISH that goal? i.e. Asking my employer for a raise tomorrow.
- RELEVANT: DOES this seem WORTHWHILE for me? i.e. Yes, it is really important for me.
- TIME-BASED: WHEN do you want to reach your goal? i.e. by November 2022
What to Watch Out For
Now you have seen how a vague wish like “I want to earn more” has turned into “I want to make $40,000 a year by November 2022 and to do so I will ask my boss for an increase tomorrow.”
Now the thing to watch out for is if the goal is truly ATTAINABLE: if you already earn $35,000 a year today and have a few years of seniority, getting a raise to $40,000 is certainly possible.
But if you’ve just been hired or are making $16,000 a year, you understand that (for now) this goal isn’t within your reach, and maybe, if you really want to increase your income that much, you might want to change jobs directly and look for one that can guarantee you $40,000 a year.
Similarly, maybe you already earn well for what your lifestyle is, you feel satisfied, but your friends are telling you that you should ask for a raise and maybe buy yourself a bigger house or a new car, which you don’t care about.
In this case, the goal would not be RELEVANT to you and you would not have the interest and motivation to carry it forward.
You must always keep in mind that relevance is a fundamental requirement: many times a goal does not go smoothly, takes more time than expected or unexpected obstacles occur: if you are not more than motivated, halfway you will let it go.
When planning your goals you must therefore be honest with yourself, and in case break them into many smaller micro-goals: Dream big, but start small, just like a child!
In Short Words
You have seen how the difference between a desire and a well-formed goal lies in its … intelligence!
A smart goal must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.
Remember to pay attention above all to the real obtainability of what you want to achieve and to the relevance it has for you, and if necessary create many small goals that over time will add up to make you realize a really big one!
What will your next smart goal be? Write it below in the comments!