Frustrated about making New Year’s resolutions you can’t ever keep? Maybe 2012 is the year to start seeing them through. Be SMART about your resolutions to achieve success:
Specific: A New Year’s resolution to save money is too vague to help you accomplish it. Setting specific goals helps you determine the action you need to take to achieve it. So, instead of saying “This year I am going to cut back on my grocery bill” say “I will reduce my grocery bill by $100 every month.”
Measurable: A clear goal is quantifiable. Not only will a measurable goal help you achieve it, but it will also help you identify what you need to do when you are not achieving it. Back to the example of reducing your grocery bill. If your goal is to reduce your grocery bill by $100, you know you need to find ways to cut back to that amount. Perhaps you will save $33 by using coupons, $33 by shopping only sale items and $33 by reducing the amount of food you end up wasting.
Achievable: Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting goals that are out of your reach. Cutting your grocery bill in half may not be a reasonable goal for your family.
Realistic: Hunting every sale in order to cut your grocery bill in half may not be realistic if you already have a busy schedule. In fact, it may lead to a quick burn out, and eventually to failure in achieving your resolution.
Time Framed: The good thing about New Year resolutions is that inherently they have a time frame for completion already built in. You have until 12/31 of the year you start to complete it. It is wise to revisit how you are doing throughout the year. Since you defined a measurable goal, determining how well you are doing should be easy.
It is great to set resolutions in life. But you need a clear path, a plan to get you to the end. SMART goals will be the road-map to help you achieve your target.