Goals, Money, Parenting

Creating SMART Goals

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Annie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

As I venture into a new decade in my life, I reflect over the past one. Although filled with progressive and happy experiences, I realize that I missed out on opportunities to execute some business ventures and ideas I have. I had plenty of ideas that never materialized because I was either focused on my career, busy doing other things or lacked enough motivation. Dreams are just that if you don’t make it real. Great ideas are worthless if you don’t put them into action. Goals are simply wishes if you don’t have a concrete action plan.

When I became a mother, I realized how much more work and energy I am capable of. I am still busy with my career and yet I am able to raise a child. I find time and renewed energy to cultivate this new life. That is amazing if not a miracle. Before I became a Mom, I never even figured out how to wake up early enough to catch the sunrise on weekends. Now, I barely get enough sleep but still makes it through the day without coffee. Parenting is such a demanding role. Parents have superpowers. I knew that growing up. I had a set of them. They are my heroes. I want to be one for my son. He is my motivation.

I manage projects in my profession so I do have skills and hands on knowledge that I can employ to make my personal goals a reality. I hope to look back a decade from today with satisfaction in executing ideas I have had for a while and make my son proud.

Here are some tips on managing goals and projects:

Create SMART Goals
SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. Each goal must have these components to make it successful. An example of a SMART goal is ” I will save $500 for my emergency fund by June 1, 2012.” It is important to be specific and clear as to what needs to be accomplished. In this case, it’s to save $500. Specifying $500 by June 1, 2012 allows you to measure what needs to be done by when. It is important to target goals that are realistically achievable. Otherwise, you are setting yourself to fail. It is also critical that the goal be relevant to you. If you set up goals that do not align with what you are trying to achieve overall, then it is not useful and you will likely lack the motivation to complete it. Lastly, you must specify a completion date for your goal and hold yourself accountable to that date.

Set Daily Goals
I am a list person. I start my work day with a list of tasks that I want to accomplish for the day. I check them off as I complete them. Items that were not checked at the end of the day are carried over to the next and placed on priority unless some other more pressing tasks come up. Your daily goals may just be for small tasks or it could be part of a bigger project.

Set Short Term Goals
Short term goals are those you want to accomplish within the year. Here’s an example of my short term goals for the first quarter off this year.

1. Setup a 529 college fund for A by March 30, 2012.
2. Create a personal finance blog by March 30, 2012.
3. Update the family Will by March 30, 2012.
4. File income tax by March 30, 2012.

Mid-term Goals
This period can vary at your discretion. For me, these are goals I want accomplish within the 2-5 years. Completing a degree, vacations, paying off loans or buying a house are typical goals people have in this category. Some of the items we have in this category are related to our son’s preschool and kindergarten schooling.

Long Term Goals
Retirement, paying off the mortgage and our son’s college education are some of the items we have in this category. It is important to create long term goals now so you can execute some of the actions needed today in order to accomplish them. Use short-term and mid-term goals to execute and accomplish long term goals.

Take action today and share some of your goals to help inspire others!

Women's Money Week 2012 Participant

This post is part of Women’s Money Week 2012. For more posts about goals check out
Goals and Taking Action Roundup.

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “Creating SMART Goals

  1. I really need to get cracking on setting up my kids’ college funds. It is on the list, yet somehow never gets done! I guess I need to attach a date to the task and then follow through!

    Posted by Financial Knowledge Online | March 13, 2012, 4:36 am
  2. Great article good reading material, something to put into practice!

    Posted by filipinokaba | March 11, 2012, 9:10 pm
  3. Creating SMART goals is a must for all who wants to accomplish their dreams and life goals. When my husband and I where younger, our goal was to have our children have a college education and we succeeded. Now they have their families and their own careers.

    I am already past retirement age and still working on two jobs, but seriously thinking of retirement within a few months. I still have to use SMART goals in order to be able to maximize the use of my few remaining years.

    Posted by Tina | March 11, 2012, 5:53 pm

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