Setting goals

Setting goals

This is the second week of the GoalGetters challenge.  Find the first week here:  Finding Balance

Once you have identified your focus areas, you can start to set goals for each of these.

Setting goals will give your aims clarity and focus, and help you to realise how to achieve them.  This will help your motivation, as you will be able to see the steps that you need to follow.

You may have heard of SMART goals.  This refers to goals that are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.  Making your goals SMART really will make a huge difference to whether you will succeed.

Making goals SMART

Below is an example of making a goal SMART, using the initial goal ‘to save money’.  This example is used to demonstrate the process.  You can then apply it to one of your own goals.  There is a template available for community members here: SMART goals template

Initial goal – To save money

Specific

To make this goal more specific, you could specify how much money you would like to save:

‘To save $100 per week’

Measurable

Making the goal specific often helps to make it measurable too. Now that we know that we’re saving $100 per week, we can see this by the extra $100 per week in the bank account.

However, if the money is sat in your account with the rest of your funds, it may not be so clear to see how much you’ve saved. It might be worth keeping it in a separate account to make it clear. We want goals to help streamline our lives, not to add in extra burdens like reconciling accounts.

Attainable

If your income is $500 per week, and your expenses are $450 per week, then your goal of saving $100 per week is not looking very attainable. If it’s a high priority, you could look into ways to increase your income or lower your expenses. However, it would probably be easier to revise your goal:

‘To save $25 per week’
(Keeping the rest for a rainy day)

Relevant

This is where your motivation comes from. Why do you need to save? What will this $25 per week get you? If you already have a tidy little nest egg that meets your needs, you may struggle to find the motivation to realise your goal.

Timely

Do the timeframes work for your goals? Is it the right time in your life for this goal? If you’re struggling to make ends meet now, but know that you’ll have more income in a couple of months, it might make sense to wait.

If you’re saving for a particular expense, check that you will have reached your goal with the amount specified. If you want to save $300 in 10 weeks, you’re going to have to sacrifice a little bit of your rainy day money!

Start big, work back


© Can Stock Photo / novelo

At the end of the example above, we considered changing the goal if we weren’t going to save enough in the timeframe.  When setting goals, it pays to consider the bigger picture first and work your way back.

Start by considering your lifetime goals, then 10 years, 5 years, 1 year, monthly and weekly.  This helps to ensure that the goals that you set are in line with your life goals and taking you in the right direction to achieve these.

Prioritise

You should have no more than three major goals to focus on at a time.  If you’re planning for a year, it may be that you have more over the 12 months, but stick to three at any one time.  Depending on how big the goal is and how busy your life is, you may only be able to focus on one.

If you try to work towards too many goals at once, you risk failing and becoming demotivated, or trying to succeed and becoming overwhelmed.  This is not what GoalGetters is about, so please prioritise.

Frame it positively

It is more motivating to have a positive goal than a negative one.  For example, ‘to save more money’ is better than ‘to stop wasting money’.  Focussing on the positive helps us to imagine the benefits that will come from the action, rather than  the sacrifice that we are making.

Write goals down

Writing your goals down helps to focus and give clarity.  It also provides a handy reference if you’re wavering!  GoalGetters provides templates to make the goal-setting process easy, which you can then keep visual or to hand to remind and motivate you.

Share with the Community

Community members, head on over to the forums to discuss your results and connect with others.  Not yet a member?  Sign up here.

Next week’s challenge will look at ‘What’s your why?’ – making sure your motivation is strong enough to succeed.

Can’t wait until next week?  Order your GoalGetting workbook today for $25 (e-copy available for $10).