LIFE: Accomplish. How to Reach Your Goals in 2017!

We’re already 9 days into 2017! It’s about that time where New Year’s Resolutions start to wither and die… About that time where we all forget about the promises we made ourselves just a little over a week ago. So if resolutions don’t work, then what does? How can you accomplish more? How can you do more, save more, enjoy more? It’s actually very easy!

blackbird

There’s a simple trick I’ve learned in my 33 years on this planet… You have to have a plan! If you want to get from point A to point B then you need a map. But what’s point B? If you want to get somewhere then you need a destination!

If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.

― Yogi Berra

What’s Your Destination? 

It’s 2017… where do you want to be next year? Think about the things you’d like to accomplish. Start with brainstorming until you come up with a broad list of things you’d like to do this year! Think about what’s important to you. Is it more time with family or more time with friends? Is it doing something new or pushing yourself in something that you’re already interested in? Do you want to read more? Save more?

Your initial goals will be very broad. I’ve focused on 5 areas that will help me in the future, stimulate me mentally, and bring me joy. Check out what my goals are:

2017 GOALS
Finances – I want to be more financially secure.
Work – I want to better my career.
Health – I want to focus on my physical and mental health.
Personal – I want to better myself culturally, push myself intellectually, and try new things.
Travel – I want to make my passion more of a priority.

Think about what’s important to you! You can make a list, too.

My broad goals, or my destinations, is where I am headed this year. I will accomplish these things. But, they’re so broad…

How Are You Getting There? 

We all want to be better at money. However, there’s a huge difference between these two goals:
1. Be better with money.
2. Save $1000.

Goal 1 is a good goal in theory. Be better with money. Who doesn’t want that?! But the problem with this goal is this: it is too generic. Save $1000 is perfect! Goal number 2 has a lot of great qualities behind it. Ever heard of SMART goals? Don’t you roll your eyes at me! That boring office lecture works in real life! And I’ll show you how right now.

SMART Goals

Actually, I lied. We need to backtrack for just a moment. I want everyone to understand what a SMART goal is and to see how it works in your life. SMART goals are goals that have 5 qualities to help you achieve anything from work and school related goals to personal goals.

What SMART Stands For:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Timely

So, let’s look at our example goal of “save $1000” and why it’s a great goal.

Save $1000
S – Save $1000 for an Emergency Fund.
M – If I save each payday (26 paydays) I will reach my goal.
A – This is possible in my current financial situation.
R – I can save $38.50 a pay check.
T – I will save $1000 in 1 Year.

See how that works? Instead of having a vague idea of “be better with money” there’s now a full out plan with details. This savings plan will take 26 paydays and at $38.50 a payday you’ll have an emergency fund in one year!

Sorry About the Detour!

OK, let’s get back on track! Now that we all know what we’ve doing with SMART Goals, the rest is easy! Let’s revisit my original goal list (you know, the one that isn’t very specific).

2017 GOALS
Finances – I want to be more financially secure.
Work – I want to better my career.
Health – I want to focus on my physical and mental health.
Personal – I want to better myself culturally, push myself intellectually, and try new things.
Travel – I want to make my passion more of a priority.

Now, let’s get more specific! I’ll use my Financial Goals as an example.

2017 GOALS
Finances – I want to be more financially secure.
1. Save more of an Emergency Fund
2. Contribute to my Roth IRA
3. Up 401 K contribution
4. Save for Vacation 2018
5. Donate to Charity

Now we’re getting more specific but this could still use a little work.

2017 GOALS
Finances – I want to be more financially secure.
1. Save $10,000 Emergency Fund – Save $384.62 per paycheck – 0/26
2. Contribute $100 a month to Roth IRA – 0/12
3. Up 401 K contribution to 10%
4. Save $100 a month for Vacation 2018 – 0/12
5. Donate $50 a month to Charity – 0/12

Now we’re talking! These goals fit the bill for SMART goals. If you set up goals like this then in 1 year you would see a vast improvement in savings ($10,000), $1,200 added to your Roth IRA, $1,200 in a vacation account, your 401 K will be much bigger, and you will have helped others, too! Doesn’t $12,000 sound better than “be better with money?” 

So, Where do You Want to Go?

Making a goal list that is SMART allows you to specifically tie your end goal to the necessary steps you need to take to get there. Having a Goal List like this sets you up for success!

In 2016 I saved more money, contributed to a Roth IRA and a 401k, paid off my credit card, saved for a vacation and donated to charity each month (and no, I didn’t make that much money!). I also built this blog from the ground up, did the Declutter Challenge, read books in 5 new genres, went rock climbing, went to 2 ballets and 3 art museums, reached all my career goals, AND went to Iceland, Portland, Maui, and San Diego. That is A LOT of accomplishments.

And if you aren’t sold already… In 2015 I paid off a loan, saved my first $1000, and started my Roth IRA. I also paid off my credit card (hey, I’m credit card free!) and got my 401 K up to my goal. I completed the great closet cleanout of 2015, finished decorating my condo, read 3 books I wouldn’t normally read, took a glassblowing class, went to the beach, went to New Orleans, and learned to shoot a gun. Oh, and I FINALLY got back into a sports car!

I’m not bragging here. I’m driving home the proof that this method works!

So keep your SMART goals on the bathroom mirror, on the fridge, in your phone… wherever you can see them regularly and check to make sure you’re on the path to success.

Ditch the Resolutions

Accomplish more this year! Don’t just have a vague idea for a few weeks. Accomplish more and get more out of life by writing out actually, achievable goals! On December 31, 2017 you’ll look back and think to yourself, “Damn, I did all that?! …what can I do in 2018?!”

What do you want to accomplish in 2017? Comment below! I’d love to see what everyone is going to do this year!