This is part 2 of Setting Goals For 2015. If you missed part 1, you can find it here!
Now that you’ve had 2 days to process what you would like to change in your life for 2015, it’s time to take the next step of how to turn these goals into reality.
I like the S.M.A.R.T. method for achieving goals but in the last few years I’ve added to it. For those of you who aren’t familiar with S.M.A.R.T. goals, S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound goals.
Make your goal clear and well-defined. Here are some examples of vague goals versus specific goals:
Vague: My goal is to earn money on my blog in January.
Specific: My goal is to earn $200 from advertising and affiliate links on my blog in January.
Vague: I want to declutter this month.
Specific: I will declutter all of the kitchen drawers this month.
**When you make a goal specific it will be easy to know if you obtained your goal or not!
Can you measure your progress? There is a big difference between saying, “I want to lose read more books this year” vs. “I want to read 3 books each month this year.” Wanting to save money for your summer vacation isn’t measurable, but wanting to save $167 a month for your summer vacation is!
If you want to be sure that your goal is measurable a few questions to ask are:
How many or how much? How will I know when I have accomplished my goal?
If your goal isn’t measurable, it is probably too vague. When your goal is measurable, you can track your progress and experience excitement as you get closer to attaining your goal. (Using visual graphs really help you stay motivated, too!)
Is your goal realistic and attainable? Saving $40,000 in 2 months is neither realistic or attainable for my family. Another way of looking at this is that I want to save $400 for horsemanship camp for our oldest child and set up a budget of saving $33.33 for the next 12 months, that goal is both realistic and attainable. Even if I didn’t have $33.33 each month in my budget, I could probably find wiggle room in one of my variable spending accounts in the budget or cut back on eating out or work a few extra hours a month to earn that money.
A goal might hard to reach but yet realistic at the same time. Sometimes we really have to stretch ourselves to reach it. Those goals are the most rewarding to cross off as completed!
Is your goal relevant? You need to know why this goal is important to you? Honestly if it’s not, you most likely aren’t going to complete it. If the goal has a benefit to you and you feel it’s worthwhile you are more likely to finish it.
One of my goals is to read 36 books in 2015. I love reading! I almost always read to learn something and I have always been a reader. My husband, Jason is not a lover of books. He loves information, whether it’s online, the news, magazines and other publications or the radio. He is NOT a book reader. He doesn’t enjoy it. For him to set a goal of reading 36 books in a year would not be relevant because it’s not important to him, he gets his information in other ways.
Is your goal timely? You need to have a target date to reach the goal. How often are you going to need to complete something to reach the goal?
The time-bound component of goal setting is one of the most important aspects of goal settings. It is one of my favorite aspects of S.M.A.R.T. goal setting because it gives me milestones to complete and I can cross something off my list. Each time I cross something off, I gain momentum which makes me want to keep working on that goal!
In the above example of my reading goal, I would need to read 3 books each month to complete the 36 books in one year. In a normal year, I read 4 books in January because that is when we go on vacation and I read in the plane. By completing an extra book, I know later ( for me, usually in July when we have 4-H and County Fair and we get nothing else done but that) that I can read 2 that month and still be on track.
Here are some tips to stay on track with your goals that you may not have tried before.
- Believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will!
- Make yourself a goals notebook or use your notes section in your planner as your notebook. I included a few sections in mine.
- First, I listed out my S.M.A.R.T. goals and put in the graphics that go with them such as charts and numbered lists so I can keep track of how many books I’ve read, my savings tracking, and how many items I’ve decluttered. Then I added graphics because I’m a visual person.
- The next section is my “Why” section. In this section I listed all of the reasons that these goals were important to me. The reason I did this is because there will be a time in the next year I’ll lose motivation, and by reading my reasons of why I’m doing it, it helps keep me motivated.
- The third section is for Accomplished Goals. There’s nothing more motivating than seeing goals that you have had and were able to complete.
- My final section is for motivational quotes and affirmations.
- When you set your goals and come to the Time-Bound component, I suggest putting each deadline on your calendar. In my above example, If I need to read 3 books a month, I make a note on each month of “Books I’ve read” and number it 1, 2, and 3. As I read a book, I add the title to that month. By doing this I’m keeping the goals in front of me since they’re on the calendar and then I can also add the completed books to the goals section in my planner.
- If you are saving a certain amount of money each month for something, when you add money into that account make a note in color on your calendar. That way at the end of the month you can add all of those numbers up and know exactly what you put into that account that month.
- Use Pinterest. If you are tracking books you’ve read, create a board to help you keep track. You can also add a board for books you want to read and then move the books over as you read them. This also works great if you have a goal of completing __ DIY projects in a month. (You can see how I’ve done this on my Pinterest boards.)
- Find an accountability partner who is working on a goal that is very similar to yours. With Facebook and social media, it’s easier than ever to find people who have similar goals. Accountability partners are great cheerleaders and will keep you on track.
- Sticky Notes are your friend! Jot down your goals individually on sticky notes and leave them around the house where you will be reminded to do them! For example, if living a healthier lifestyle is on your priority list, you might want to leave yourself a note on the refrigerator to eat HEALTHY snacks or to grab a glass of water first and then come back!
- Place your list of goals somewhere that you see it a LOT. The more you see your goals, the less likely you will forget about working on them!
- Stay the course but be flexible. Things will happen. Don’t change the goal, change your approach when you hit obstacles.
- When you are discouraged, go back to your “why” section of your goals notebook. If you have to do it first thing, EVERY morning, then do it. You will thank yourself when you mark that goal off your list
Have you enjoyed what you read here today? Do you have friends or other women you know that could benefit from this resource? If so, please do me a favor! I have included the links below to share with other intentional women! They’ll be glad you did!