The start of a new year gives us the chance to reflect on the previous year and on our dreams for the future. Often people start enthusiastically with New Year’s resolutions, only to break them a few weeks into January.
SMART goals can help you make changes in your life because they help you focus on the details that will make achieving your goal easier. This means the goals are
Specific and simple: Be specific and include what you want, why it is important, who will be involved, what actions will be taken, and when it is going to happen. Make the goal simple and clear.
Measurable: The outcomes must be measurable so you can tell if you are on track and when you achieve your goal. A measurable goal would include a date for completion and answer questions such as how much or how many?
Achievable: Although your goal may stretch you outside of your comfort zone, it’s important to make your goal achievable. If your goal is truly out of reach then working and not achieving it can be demoralizing. However, if your goal is too easy to achieve it may not have much meaning. A good question to ask is: what attitudes, skills, resources, and assistance will give you the best chance of achieving your goal?
Relevant: A relevant goal is one that has meaning in your life. Check that your goal aligns with your values and with your other goals. Make your goal important to you by stating how achieving your goal will make a difference to your life.
Timely and Tangible: State when you would like to complete your goal. Then break your goal into smaller tasks such as what to achieve in 6 months, 3 months, 1 month, 1 week and today.
Example: I would like to save $100 per month into my high interest savings account to have $3,600 to travel around Australia in two years.
After I receive my salary on the first Thursday of the month, I will set up an automatic transfer of $100 to my high interest savings bank account. This week I will save $25 by bringing bring lunch from home on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Today I will pack my lunch from home.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Lao Tzu
By taking that first step, no matter how small, you’ll begin to form a new pattern of behavior. If your goal is to clean out the garage or spare room, start by planning to spend just 10 minutes cleaning a day. It may not seem like much, but often if you start you’ll see results and build momentum. Each time you repeat an activity you start to form a habit and it becomes easier. In order to keep your motivation up, you may choose a positive reward, for example for every 7 days of cleaning the garage for 10 minutes you could give yourself 1 hour of free time to relax, read a book, take a bath, go for a walk in nature, or listen to your favourite music.
If you would like help to organise your finances and to achieve your goals in the New Year contact a Gold Leaf Financial Planner today.