Achieve the Goals You Set for 2013
by: Jennifer S. Matthews
There is often
excitement at the start of each year because many people
eagerly anticipate what they plan on accomplishing and/or
doing differently. However, many people fall off track as
early as February. To keep your goals and plans on track,
follow these simple steps.
The first step is to
write down exactly what you plan on accomplishing. Biblical
scholars know there is a directive to “write the vision and
make it plain”. The medical community knows that the
majority of people are visual, meaning they respond better
to what they see more so than any other communications
When writing your
goals and plans, it is important to follow the SMART rule.
The acronym SMART stands for: Specific,
Measurable, Achievable, Realistic/Relevant,
and Time bound. The goals and plans you write
must be very Specific to help you focus on
what you want. Measurable simply means there
is a way to know when you have reached your desired results.
An achievable goal or plan is within your realm of
capability, even if you currently do not have all the
knowledge or resources needed. Your goals and/or plans
should be Realistic/Relevant to
your overall desired outcome. Finally, you should include a
Time (bound) for completion so that you don’t
have forever to finish.
Examples of SMART
- I will lose 20
pounds by May 31, 2013
- I will pay off
my $2,000 Visa credit card balance by August 1, 2013
I will increase my business revenue
by $1,000 per month by June 30, 2013
I will return to college in September
2013 and take two classes
These goals meet the
definition of each component of a SMART goal. Many people
often get this far with their goals in their minds, and even
occasionally writing them down. The next two steps are the
difference between achieving goals and not achieving goals!
Once you have your
SMART goals and/or plan written down, break it down (in
writing) into the Steps you need to take to
complete your goal or plan. Steps are what
need to be done next to start you on your way. If your goal
or plan is not complex, it may have 3 – 5 Steps.
However, if your goal or plan is very involved, there may be
more Steps involved.
kicker…break each Step down into Tasks that
you need to complete or delegate to someone. Again, the
number of Tasks under each step will vary
based upon how complex your goal or plan is. Once you have
your Tasks written under each step, your Tasks become your
focal point – almost like a daily “to do” list.
Here are examples
that continue from above:
- I will lose
20 pounds by May 31, 2013 (this is 5 months times 4
weeks in each month, or one (1) pound each week)
Join a gym by January 15th
A – 1. Research 3 convenient gyms
A – 2. Visit each gym
A – 3. Inquire about free trial
A – 4. Select a gym and schedule workouts
3x each week
Change my eating habits
B – 1. Do an internet search for low
calorie meals that are ready in 20 minutes or less (or
diabetic, low carb, etc.)
B – 2. Make a list of healthy snacks
B – 3. Grocery shop each week for recipe
items and snacks
I will pay off my $2,000 Visa
credit card balance by August 1, 2013 (6 full months)
I will create $1,200 by
redirecting $200 of current eating out expenses each month
A – 1. Track spending daily in a
A – 2. Take breakfast and lunch to work
4 days each week, which is a savings of $12 per day ($4
breakfast and $8 lunch) four days each week for 6 months. I
commit to paying an extra $96 on my Visa bill every payday
($12 times 4 days each week times 2 weeks per pay period
equals $96). At the end of 6 months, this is a total of
$1,152 toward the $2,000.
Swap our monthly family movie
night with RedBox™ movies
B – 1. On the day I pick up the movie, I
will used the money saved to make an extra Visa payment.
Four movie tickets are usually $36 plus $20 at the
concession stand. I’ll spend $3 on RedBox™ and $5 on snacks
for a total of $8. I will make an extra Visa payment of $48
($56 - $8) once a month (x6 months) for a total of $288.
C – 1. Box up all items that I can sell
C – 2. Have the kids clean out and
declutter to come up with items to sell
C – 3. Select a date and advertise the
As you focus on and
then complete each Task, you will
automatically complete each Step. Once your
Steps are complete, you will automatically
achieve your goals and/or plan!
This column is about
finances, and most goals and plans have a financial
component. Therefore, it is important for each of us to
start properly creating goals and plans to include the
Steps and Tasks that must be
completed to acquire the necessary finances. There’s no
better time than the start of a New Year to put new winning
measures in place! Here’s to all of your successes in 2013!
About the Author:
Jennifer S. Matthews is an award-winning author,
motivational speaker, and is trained as a financial coach.
She is the author of the award-winning book 12 Ways to
Put Money in Your Pocket Every Month Without A Part Time Job.
The book shows readers how to create hundreds of dollars in
cash every month from within their existing income. Visit
Jennifer online at
www.MoneySmartBook.com and sign up for her newsletter.
You can also purchase her book, take advantage of free
downloads, and much more.
© 2012 Creating Financial Literacy, LLC