One of the reasons that many of us fail at actualizing our financial goals is because they are too big, too broad, and too “pie in the sky.”
We set ourselves up for failure when we are not specific about how we REALLY want to improve our current money situation.
You say, “ I want to get out of debt in 2016.”
But what does that really mean? Let me ask you a question. Does, “ By June 30, 2016, I want to eliminate $2,000 of the debt on my Visa” sound more specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound than, “I want to be all about my money next year” or “ I want to get out of debt next year?”
I hope you said, “Yes.”
If you said, “Yes,” then you just learned how to identify a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound) goal. A SMART goal is a nitty-gritty structure that helps you make concrete and specific milestones and touch points. Creating SMART goals will give you a starting point, an ending point, and a path of how to demolish your debt.
Let me break it down the SMART goal, “By June 30, 2016, I will eliminate $2,000 of the debt on my Visa” some more.
The specific part of the goal is, “I will eliminate credit card debt on my Visa (as opposed to “all debt”).
The measureable part is the amount stated, “I will eliminate $2,000.00.”
The attainable,realistic and Time-bound parts of the goal statement go hand-in-hand. Let’s just say this goal was written five months before June 2016. Would it be safe to say that saving $400 a month, 100 per week, $25 a day(M-F) is attainable and realistic?
Many of you could say “Yes,” while others may say “No.” If no is your answer, then you need to adjust either the amount of debt you want to eliminate (and make it less than $2,000) or increase the timeline for doing so. So, instead of taking five months to eliminate the debt, you may need to add two more months.
SMART goals turn dreams into concrete realities, because they keep you focused and in tune with what you really want. Now that I have walked you through it, create a debt elimination SMART goal and find an accountability partner that you don’t want to let down and who will keep you in check. Decide which debt you want to tackle first and how often you will check in with your accountability partner.
Now that you have a SMART goal for your debt elimination process, you have essentially created a roadmap for your financial success.