Being S.M.A.R.T.

best things in life

It great to be back after a hiatus!!  (everyone needs a break).  hehe… 🙂  And its important to remember to actually take one.  Time is a great equalizer.  No matter who we are or how much we have, we are all given the same 24 hours in a day.  Its important to never lose sight of that.

With the kids going back to school, this is my time of year where I think about how am I going to spend my time.  Yes, I am a goal setter, but not just any goal setter, I geek out and have categories (personal, professional, family, financial, travel, home, etc…).

Back in the day, I wasn't always a goal oriented person.  Believe it or not, I used to take it all for granted … like I would be in my 20's forever, jobs would always be plentiful and with each new job, my salary would naturally increase (exponentially).  LOL!!  My first financial advisor even told me the same.  Of course that was all before the Great Recession of 2008-2011 and for millions it has never been the same.

Then, one day, I decided to try my hand at writing goals … and never achieved any of them.  So I naturally assumed goal setting was NOT for me.  (What really happened was , I wrote goals down – they were not S.M.A.R.T. goals then I put the list in a drawer and found it 5 years later).  True Story.

It wasn't until 2008-2009, I decided to try my hand at writing goals again.  Since I already told myself I wouldn't be any good at it (see paragraph above), I treated it like going to the pool.  Before jumping in, I put my toe in to gauge the temperature.

Like most people I decided to write goals in January, after all isn't that what everyone does?  I reviewed them daily (something I had never done before).  Before I knew it, it was March and all of my goals were completed.  I was shocked and delighted.  Truly, I was almost giddy.

I decided to write more goals with the intention of filling the rest of the year.  It was a solid list of things to accomplish … or so I thought in March but by September that list was completed too!!!  What was going on??!!??, I thought to myself and even laughed a little (out loud).  Wierdo!  lol.  🙂

Anyway, this goal thing was beginning to catch on with me.  Suddenly I was really good at it and it was changing my life.  I felt as if anything was possible and I was in control MY life.

So what changed?

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Over time, I got better at writing SMART goals or goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.  Each time I wrote down a goal, I would hold it up to SMART and adjust it until it matched this description.  It didn't take long before I wrote a goal and got it on the first try.

Read Goals Daily

Well, the biggest thing was reviewing my goals DAILY.  I mean I wrote them down on a piece of paper and kept it somewhere, where I would see it daily – my bedside.  I would make it a habit to read it in the morning and set my intentions for the day then read it again in the evening and plan for tomorrow.  Its literally a few minutes in the morning and a few in the evening.

Make a Backlog

After going through my second list of goals within the same year, I realized I have so much untapped potential.  What else could I accomplish?  I decided to write a list of goals, including everything I had ever thought about doing, whether I could do it this year or not… just a complete brain dump of everything from small to big.

Writing goals like this allowed me to have a backlog of ideas to draw from throughout the year when opportunity presented itself.

And then, of course, I review the backlog of goals to see if they are still important enough to stay on the list.  Its an annual thing I do, like spring cleaning.

Its All About Timing

I also don't wait until January to update my goals…  For me, goals don't work that way.  Throughout the year, I look at my list, mark things completed and when it starts to get a little short, I refresh it by removing completed things and add new ones, leveraging my backlog and adding other things as life unfolds.  Staying flexible and being open to change, allows me to leverage opportunities.

Long Term Goals

For long term goals that are multi faceted, I break it down into smaller more manageable ones and map it out.  For example, purchasing 5 rental properties.  Most people (like myself) cannot just purchase 5 rental properties in one year AND establish a LLC to put them all under.  There is planning and commitment to such a goal (not to mention the amount of research).  Other things would need to go on the back burner, after all, my pie (income) is only so big.

Today… I still write goals but now I really geek out.  lol!

Goals and Budgets

I still review my goals daily and tie it to the household budget.  The kids are older now, so its a family affair, where we have a family meeting and discuss house priorities.  The kids understand that our pie is only so big and we need to be aware and deliberate that our spending is going towards what is important.

Of course, things come up that we did not plan for.  We have a discussion and make a plan.  Everyone has the opportunity to have their say.

Goals and Values

My list of goals has evolved from one comprehensive list to being broken up into categories: Personal, Family, Financial, Professional, Spiritual, House, etc…  Each category has a list from 3-5 each and ranging from small to big.  This gives me is a 10,000 foot view to answer the question, “Is my spending supporting what we truly value?”  Based on where the completed check marks fall, I can easily answer that question and adjust if/when needed.

So now you know, my geekiness has no limits…  LOL.  Seriously though, goal setting and by my lifes categories has truly changed my life … along with budgeting and aligning my spending to our family values.

Really when it comes down to it… the best things in life really are free and are really that important.

Are you a goal setter?  What is your process?


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