If you’ve ever attended any kind of personal development training, you’ve probably learned about SMART goals.
SMART is just a cute acronym designed to help you create goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
That means that when you write a goal, you had better make sure it is something that you can realistically do, with results you can see. It means you’d better be as specific as possible, and give yourself a deadline.
Why? Because goals that have all of those attributes are much more likely to be reached. When you’ve given some thought to the who, what, where, when, why, and how of a goal, you’re putting the framework in place to accomplish that goal. It’s much easier to come up with action steps when you learn to create a SMART goal.
But one common mistake people make when setting a SMART goal is forgetting to watch the wording they use when creating the goal.
Here’s an example:
I hope to save $200 for a new iPod by June.
On the surface, this seems like a SMART goal: It’s specific (save $200 for an iPod), measurable (you can look in your wallet to prove it), Attainable (totally doable), relevant and realistic, and you’ve set a target date (June).
The problem is with the words “I hope.”
When you say “I hope” it sounds weak. It sounds like a dream. There’s no impetus to get it done.
Try saying this instead:
I will save $200 for a new iPod by June.
Doesn’t using “I will” sound much better? It’s a much more forceful statement. It’s got drive and determination sitting behind it.
When you say you “will” save $200, you can easily see what action steps you need to take to make this goal happen. When you say you “hope” that you save the money, you’re only left wishing you’ll reach that goal.
A simple word change can mean the difference between wishes and realities. Make sure you use the right words to create SMART goals, and you’ll find a new word to add to your frugal tools: Unstoppable!
This post is part of Women’s Money Week 2012. For more posts about Goals and Taking Action, see Goals and Taking Action Roundup.