Make Your Goals SMART-er

By Jo Ann Garay | January 14, 2012

Now that I’ve wrapped up 2011, it’s time to set new resolutions for 2012. If the process is like past years, most of my resolutions were started and never finished. A couple of my goals were to save more money and at least take a small vacation. Last year, I started out with so much motivation that I just knew I would end the year with a bang!

However, here I sit with the same resolutions – no savings for a vacation – but high hopes that this year I can and will maintain my motivation for longer than a week. It’s not enough to just say “I want to save enough money to go on a nice vacation.” Instead, I recognize that I need to set a financial goal to reach my main goal – of going on vacation.

So, this year, I resolve to turn my resolutions into SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-Oriented, and within a reasonable Time-frame. I wrote out a plan on how to reach my goal(s). After all, planning is also part of the goal-reaching process. A goal without a plan is only a daydream, at best, unless there is a road map to reach the goal. So, with that said, the first thing I did was find out how much it will cost to go on that long-awaited, relaxing vacation. It turns out that the total vacation package will cost $2,000. After preparing my budget, I found that I can save $200 a month, allowing me to take my vacation in October.

My goal reaches all of the SMART criteria:

  • Specific and Measurable – My goal for 2012 is to take a long-awaited vacation at a cabin in the mountains and it will only cost $2000.
  • Attainable, Results-Oriented, and within a Timeframe – if I cut back on dining out and utilize “free” entertainment, I can easily attain the goal in 10 months. The plan then becomes realistic.

My advice is that setting goals the SMART way can help you reach your goals, whether it’s a short-term goal of losing 15 pounds or a long-term one of saving enough money to start a business. The act of writing goals down forces you (and me) to focus on those goals in a SMART way. By using this methodology, we break a large goal (that often seems unattainable) into smaller, more manageable parts. So, although my vacation won’t be near a beach this year, I know that I will still be able to take one and not have to pay for it with credit cards! How SMART is that?

About the Author


Jo Ann Garay

Jo Ann has been supporting WESST’s mission at the Las Cruces regional office since 2000. As Program Coordinator, Jo Ann has developed Computer and Business curriculum and trained in both English and Spanish.
In 2008, Jo Ann received the “40 Under Forty” award from New Mexico Business Weekly recognizing Top Young Professionals in the state. Jo Ann has a Computer Technology degree, and in October of 2011 she graduated with honors with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management.

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