Set SMART goals and you'll achieve them every time.

How to Set Goals that Set You Up for Success

The why and how of setting SMART goals

Have you ever heard someone say, "I live for the weekend"? How about, "Well, it's Monday"? These are things that employees frequently say. Unfortunately, many people don't like their jobs. Even worse, they divide their life between two continuums: work time and free time.

Free time is a good word for it because if they aren't working, they're not making money. This, of course, is why even though they don't like their job, they still get up every Monday and go to the office.

Last week I said on Facebook, "Make 'weekend' a term of your past." By this I didn't mean work seven days a week. What I meant was there is a fundamental difference between the mind of the entrepreneur and that of the employee.

The entrepreneur doesn't view life as divided between work and play. Rather all of life is play, including work. So they don't live for the weekend or dread Mondays. As Michelle Guerrero commented, "I no longer hate Mondays 😊  what a great feeling to know that my nine to five is simply extra money that will make me more money! Everyday is a weekend 👍  #passiveincomerocks why don't they teach this stuff in school! My children are already in this mindset at 10 & 12."

You go girl!

Success starts with setting goals

One of the ways you can move from depending on a job for your livelihood to controlling your financial destiny is to set goals like a pro.

For many people, setting goals is almost worse than going to work! But it doesn't have to be a chore. And if you take the time to do it right, the growth you see in your life will be motivation enough to keep doing it…and loving it.

Successful goals are SMART ones

But not just any goal will do. Although many people set goals, they often fail to achieve them. Set yourself up for success by making sure your goals are SMART.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Specific: Avoid vague goals by answering the "W" questions about your goal:

  • Who will do it?
  • What specifically will be done?
  • When will it be done by?
  • Where will you focus?
  • Why is the goal important

Measurable: Include specific criteria that will allow you to measure your progress and know when you have attained your goal. Ask questions such as "How much?" or "How many?"

Attainable: Make sure your goal is something you are willing and able to work towards. Start by asking, "Is this a goal I am really committed to achieving?" If you are not committed, you will struggle with the discipline and change that will be needed to achieve your goal. You also want to make sure your goal can be achieved with the skills and resources you have currently available.

Realistic: You should set a goal that is challenging but that you also truly believe you can accomplish. If you believe a goal is too hard, it will be. If it doesn't require growth or extra effort to achieve, it's too easy. You know you have a realistic goal when you feel excited and challenged when you think about your goal. If you feel frightened or overwhelmed when you think about your goal, try to determine how you can break it down into smaller, more manageable goals.

Timely: A time frame is needed to create a sense of urgency. Without a time frame, a goal becomes relegated to the "I'll get to it when it's convenient" category. Challenging goals are never simply convenient; they require some discipline to achieve. If it were convenient and easy you wouldn't need a goal in the first place.

Remember, if you start working on your goal and discover that any part of your SMART criteria is either too easy or too difficult, you can modify that part of your goal. Just make sure you keep it challenging but not discouraging.

Here are some examples of strong and weak goals:

Weak Goal:

I will buy real estate for cash flow.

Strong Goal:

I will buy a single-family home in my area that cash flows at least $100 a month, by the end of this year.

Weak Goal:

I will invest in precious metals.

Strong Goal:

I will buy at least 10 ounces of silver for $25 or less per ounce by July 31st.

Weak Goal:

I will learn about the self-storage business.

Strong Goal:

By March 15th I will have learned what it takes to buy and run a self-storage property including all startup and operating costs, upside potential, downside risk, and exit strategies, and decide if this is an area I am interested in investing in.

I've seen the positive effects of SMART goals in countless women over the years. All it takes is getting started. Set your SMART goals today and make "weekend" a term of your past.

Original publish date: July 20, 2016

Join Our Community—1.5 Million Strong

Register for free!