A month ago we brought in the new year with excitement, energy, goals and resolutions. I shared in my newsletter why most resolutions are not S.M.A.R.T. and encouraged readers to set “SMART” goals instead of ambiguous resolutions. A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Accurate, Realistic, and Timely while resolutions generally have no way of measuring success or failure…rendering them useless and typically forgotten.
My advice was not to abandon resolutions; instead, I suggest goals that follow the SMART formula. For example, a typical resolution is “I’m going to save more money this year”. This is not specific, measurable, or timely. This can be improved by adding some more details. A new goal: “I am going to save $1,000 in the next 3 months”. This is something that can be broken down into smaller steps and metrically tracked.
The “new year buzz” is probably starting to wear off by now, but don’t forget those goals you set. Here are a few my goals as they relate to personal finance:
1. Complete phase 1 of Emergency Fund w/$2,000 – DONE
2. Pay off last credit card by April 23rd. Balance as of this posting: $4,000
(Status: With current payments, it may actually take until late May, but I am hoping to generate extra income in the process)
3. Eat out less! No more than 5 times per month. This one is going to be hard for me, but I spend WAY too much eating out. It will also be healthier to eat at home. 1 month down…11 to go!
What are some of your goals / ambitions for 2010? How are your financial goals for 2010 coming along? What action steps are you taking to accomplish your goals?