It’s important to be SMART when it comes to setting financial goals. It’s the key to creating a successful and secure future.

I think most people would likely agree that we all have goals in life. Ask how they’re achieving those goals, and you might learn why so many people play the lottery. Wishful thinking and pure luck won’t help move you forward in life. Setting financial goals and working toward them in an organized and intentional manner will help you create a better future.

Businesswoman taking notes, sitting in office, copy space.

SMART Goal-Setting Steps

The way in which we approach goal setting will impact our overall performance and ultimately our financial well-being. While there’s no secret method, there are some common practices that people who’ve achieved past success continue. Here are tips to consider when setting your financial goals and the steps you’ll need to take to reach them:

  1. Prioritize. Don’t be overwhelmed by all the financial goals you want to achieve in your lifetime. At the most, tackle three goals at a time. As you achieve one goal, replace it with another.
  2. Write It in Ink. Did you know that 67% of wealthy people write down their goals vs. 17% of poor people?1 Write them down and share them with family, friends or coworkers, as appropriate. Accountability is key.
  3. Clearly Define Your Goals. In order to improve your performance and the impact, each one needs to be:
    1. Specific. An ambiguous goal will lead to incomplete results. Be clear and detailed in your goal setting.
    2. Measurable. How will you measure your progress? Be sure to establish some metrics.
    3. Attainable. Be sure your goal is challenging, but also attainable given your available resources.
    4. Relevant. Make sure your goals are important to you. When they’re meaningful, they’ll motivate you along the way.
    5. Time-bound. Give each goal a deadline, whether it’s a certain age at which you want to achieve it or within a specific timeframe.
  4. Establish Your Plan. List the action steps you’ll take to reach these goals. Again, be specific and include deadlines. Consider your budget and your income to ensure your plan is reasonable.
  5. Monitor Your Progress. Evaluate your progress on a regular basis, whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, to ensure your plan is on track. Make adjustments as necessary.
  6. Celebrate Your Accomplishments. Your hard work should be celebrated. Have dinner with friends, enjoy a relaxing round of golf, or reward yourself with a luxurious spa treatment. You’ve earned it!

Young woman looking thoughtful while at a health spa.

Achieving a goal, especially a financial one, is never easy. It takes a lot of sacrifice, discipline and hard work. In the end, however, it’s well worth it. What you do now for the sake of your financial future will benefit you greatly in years to come, so grab a pen and paper and get started today!