SMART is an acronym, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Most often, you’ll see SMART goals talked about in the workplace, but the template can help you better structure your personal goals for success. Without a SMART approach, goals may be vague, or end up like New Year’s resolutions!
Every year, nearly 40% of adults go through the process of creating New Year’s resolutions. However, by mid-February, 80% will have dropped those plans.1,2
There are a variety of reasons why people struggle with their resolutions. Some say it’s because they hit obstacles that are hard to overcome. Others say it’s because the goals they set were a bit unrealistic.
But there’s an easier way. If you’ve had trouble keeping resolutions, or following through on any self-improvement plans you create through the year, maybe it’s time to consider setting SMART goals. Here are a couple of examples:
1. Beginning with my first paycheck in 2024, I will set aside 15% of my pay for unplanned expenses. My goal is to have $5,000 set aside.
Specific: Starting with my first paycheck in 2024, 15% will be set aside.
Measurable: You can transfer the money to a separate account to track your progress.
Attainable: $5,000 is an ambitious goal, but attainable.
Relevant: An emergency fund is a key part of a solid financial foundation.
Time-Bound: Until $5,000 is set aside. At that point, you can reevaluate your goal.
2. I’ll read three or four chapters of the bible each day for the entire year.
Specific: Three or four chapters a day will allow you to read the entire Bible in 2024.
Measurable: My aim is to create a daily task of reading scripture.
Attainable: Adjusting the reading time based on the results of your new daily routine.
Relevant: Reading every day will help my spirituality and bring me closer to the Lord.
Time-Bound: In 12 months, I’ll be proud to say I read the Bible in 2024.
“If you thought you might die today, or Christ might return tonight, how would your passions or daily activities change?” wrote Mick Owens in his popular book, Diamond of Life: The Five P’s of Success and Significance.
3. “I will eat healthier in the new year. I will eat a minimum of three servings of fruit and vegetables a day starting in 2024. I will plan my meals ahead of time, which will help me add fruits and vegetables to my diet.”
Specific: Three servings starting in 2024.
Measurable: By planning meals, you’ll buy enough fruits and vegetables at the store.
Attainable: Meal prep will help you incorporate your new diet into your daily routine.
Relevant: Fruits and vegetables may help you to avoid junk food.
Time-Bound: You can keep track of your daily successes, which will help you set up a weekly or monthly report.
To help clients better focus on their goals, we dedicate a page in our factfinder to “Where do you want to be & when do you want to be there?” In addition to financial goals, we encourage clients to consider adopting the “Daily Dozen” if one of their SMART goals targets improving physical fitness.
Your personal SMART goals can be about anything, but you may want to consider setting spiritual, financial, and health goals in the new year. It will be up to you to develop the discipline, resources, and tools needed to pursue the goals.