Smart People Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

December 15, 2021

It’s time to ditch the vague New Year’s Resolutions and set specific, written goals instead.

Yep. I said that.

Most people abandon their New Year’s Resolutions by February. I know I’m guilty of that. Have you ever declared resolutions like: I want to get healthier; I want to increase my income; I want to travel more? Those are all good things; but none of those declarations come with a plan.

If you’ve taken a business class any time after 1981, you’ve probably heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals. George T. Doran first wrote about them back in the November 1981 publication of Management Review. In case you’ve never heard of this, S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-related.

Let’s look at “I want to get healthier” from a S.M.A.R.T. perspective.

  • How can we make it specific? Think of Who, What, When, Where, and Why. This could be something like: I want to join a local gym and workout 4 days a week to be able to keep up with my kids this summer.
  • How can we make it measurable? Pick a healthy number of pounds to lose or a realistic number of workouts to add to your week. This could be something like “I will aim to lose 5 pounds per month.”
  • How can we make it achievable? Do you have the skills, equipment, time, etc. to reach your goal? If you’re working 80 hours a week in the office, it’s not realistic to assume you’re going to add in another 14 hours at the gym, be fully present for your kids, get 8 hours of sleep every night, and keep up with all your volunteer activities.
  • How can we make it realistic? Is it possible to safely lose 50 pounds before school gets out in May? At 5 pounds per month, a better goal would be to lose 25 pounds by the end of May.
  • How can we make it time-related? Give it a realistic end date. In this case, the last day of school in May.

Ready to recap?

The Original Goal: I want to get healthier.

The S.M.A.R.T. Goal: By January 15th, I will join a local gym. To keep up with my kids this summer, I will work out 4 days a week and aim to lose 5 pounds per month. By the last day of school in May, I will have realized my goal if I have lost 25 pounds.

Now it’s your turn! Take some time to think through what you’d like to achieve in 2022 and write it down. We’ve got this handy S.M.A.R.T. Goals Worksheet that you can use to get started today.

If your goals include financial planning for yourself and/or your business, reach out to us as soon as you’re ready to get started!