S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting

Spend more than two seconds in a corporate environment and you’ll be asked to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. Why? It works. The same efficiency can be applied to You, Inc. S.M.A.R.T. goals add some muscle to your new year planning potential.

In a nutshell, your plans should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timebound.

Let’s just say we want to pay off a $3000 credit card this year. Rev up this goal by applying a S.M.A.R.T. framework.

Specific – This is the easy part. State in clear terms exactly what you want to accomplish. In our example, we have a credit card with a $3000 balance that needs to go.

Measurable – How can you determine when the goal has been accomplished? In this case, mission accomplished once the balance reaches zero.

Attainable – Can this be accomplished? Can you create enough extra income to accelerate a debt repayment schedule that will allow a 1 year pay off schedule. Obviously, a monthly budget will be the key to determining this and staying on track.

Realistic – Two components to consider – are you willing and able to make this happen. Obviously your answer to the attainability question will drive this outcome. If you can create enough additional income by either reducing expenses or increasing income, determine your willingness to persist with these changes until mission accomplished.

Timebound – Hold yourself accountable by setting deadlines. “I want to pay this card off some time” is not as effective as setting a specific timeframe. To reach this goal, you’ll need to pay at least $250 for the next 12 months.

We are dedicating our focus during January to planning for a fiscally productive year. Being intention about debt repayment is the key to reaching your financial goals. Effective planning lays the ground work needed to kick debt to the curb for good!

What is your top financial goal for 2012?

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