Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. –Tony Robbins
The previous article delved into money personalities. Once you understand what your personality is, what next? It may be important to set goals. It is one thing to know what your money personality is, but goals help you prioritize your monetary needs, therefore spend your money wisely.
Before getting into goal setting, it is important to know what a goal is. There are very many definitions of what a goal is. I will focus on two. The dictionary defines a goal as the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.
The business dictionary defines it as an observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed time frame. This is the best definition for purposes of this article, as it has in it some of the key elements of what an effective goal should be. It should be observable and measurable so that one can keep track of progress and it should be within a fixed time frame.
N/B: Goals should be used in all aspect of one’s life, not just their financial life.
Helpful Tip: It may help to come up with a wheel of life before setting your goals. This will help in ensuring that all aspects of your life are covered.
Qualities of a good goal
- Specific: a good goal is one that clearly describes what it is that you want to achieve. There is no vagueness to it. For example, instead of saying that you want to lose weight, try to be more specific, maybe you want to lose 10 kilograms ( about 22 pounds).
- Measurable: a good goal is one that can be measured, rather, progress on achieving the goal can be expressed in quantitative values so that one can keep track of whether they are actually on the road to achieving their goal. In the example of weight loss above, one can use scales to keep track of their weight loss journey and this will help them to know whether they are losing weight and give them the actual values of how much they have lost or gained, in terms of weight.
- Attainable: a good goal is one that can actually be achieved. For example, saying that you hope to lose 10 kilograms in one week may not be attainable, however, it may be attainable in six months.
- Realistic: a good goal is one that is realistic. It has to be something that can actually happen. For example, hoping to get an A in a test by studying the night before may not be very realistic. Unrealistic goals may end up discouraging you from actually taking any action.
- Timely: a good goal is one that has a deadline. It should have a duration within which it should be achieved. This will help you be accountable and focused in trying to achieve your goals.
Helpful Tip: One may use the acronym SMART to remember the above qualities. S- specific, M- measurable, A- attainable, R- realistic and T- timely. Good goals are SMART
Importance of setting goals
- Focus: setting goals will help you focus your efforts on those things that are important to you, as those things that are important will be prioritized. Goals also help you to have a clearer picture of what direction you need your life to take.
- Measure Progress: good goal help you to measure your progress. They are quantitative and therefore can be expressed in measurable ways. This helps you know whether you are actually moving in the right direction, or maybe you are digressing.
- Helps minimize big goals: setting goals helps you to breakdown what would have otherwise been big goals. This helps to make goals appear more attainable and not intimidating. This also gives you tangible steps to take in the present, in order to achieve your future goal.
- Know what you want: setting goals helps you to identify what it is that you really want as it forces you to sit down and come up with a clear path that you would like your life to take. This is in all aspects of your life, from your finances to your personal life.
- Better time management: good goals are those that have time constrains to them. There has to be a deadline for your goals. Having a set date for achieving your goals, helps one to be more time conscious and be more respectful of their time.
There are many more reasons why setting goals is important. These are just a few.
How to set goals
- Create a wheel of life, this will help you to identify the various aspects of your life
- Open an excel spreadsheet on the computer or something similar. You may use paper if you do not have access to a computer but the excel spreadsheets may be best.
- The goals should be split into two; short-term goals (should be achieved within the year) and long-term goals ( extend beyond the year).
- Come up with four columns for each of the time slots that is, short-term and long-term goals. A fifth column may be added, for the different sections of your life.
- The first column should be the goal. This is where you highlight the specific goal, for example, losing 10 kilograms. The second column should be date by, this column specifies what the deadline for achieving the goal is. It may be something like three months, or even more specific so something like 31st March. The third column should have hindrances. These are those things that may stop you from achieving your goal, for example, you may not have access to the gym. The last column is the Redline. This column lists what you need to stop doing and what you need to start doing in order to achieve your goal. The redline represents personal behaviors that stop you from achieving your goal.
Below find an example of what it may look like,
- What goals have you set for yourself?
|PERIOD||GOAL||DATE BY||HINDERANCES||RED LINES(What must you STOP doing and START doing?)|
|SHORT TERM (Monthly, Quarterly)|
|MID TERM Annual-2018)|
|LONG TERM (3-5 YEARS)|
It is important to set one’s goals as it helps to lay down the foundation for your future.
Helpful Tip: It may help to have an accountability partner who will help you keep track of your goals and keep you accountable. They will help to push you to achieve your goals.
An accountability partner should be someone that you know and trust. Their input should be reliable. They do not need to necessarily work in the same field as you, but they should have some level of wisdom as to what you are experiencing in life.