Turn your New Year’s resolutions into SMART business goals
It’s that time of year again.
Like most people, you reflected on how 2016 panned out and what you’d like to change in 2017. And now you’ve made a whole bunch of New Year’s resolutions to put those changes into effect.
Unfortunately, there’s a good chance you won’t follow through on any of them.
Why not? Because you haven’t turned those resolutions into goals.
From resolutions to SMART Business Goals
In his book Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience, Steve Maraboli writes: “If you have a goal, write it down. If you do not write it down, you do not have a goal – you have a wish”. But there’s more to achieving goals than just writing them down. If you really want to achieve your goals you should also make sure they’re SMART goals, which means they’re:
- Agreed on or Achievable
- Realistic or Relevant
This isn’t one of those made-up business acronyms that won’t go away. Research shows that SMART goals are far more likely to be achieved than goals that are more… shall we say “vague”.
Getting specific makes a difference
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to lose some weight. So I told myself, “This year I’m going to lose some weight”. I also told my wife, who smiled and nodded before reminding me that I said the same thing last year, and the year before that 1.
The problem is that while my desire to lose weight is admirable, right now it’s only a wish. To make it a goal I need to write it down. And to make it a SMART goal it needs to be something like, “I’m going to lose five kilos by the end of May 2017”.
I’ve now turned my wishy-washy New Year’s resolution into a SMART goal. It’s specific (five kilos), measurable (get on the scales), achievable and realistic (only one kilo per month), and time-bound (by the end of May).
Putting the plan into action
Of course, creating a SMART goal is just the first step (and probably the easiest). Once you’ve written it down, you need to come up with an action plan to help achieve that goal.
For me to lose that weight, the action plan will be something simple like:
- Choose healthier eating options. Stay away from empty calories such as fast food and alcohol.
- Exercise regularly. Get to the gym three times a week.
And providing I stick to this action plan I should be able to achieve my goal. Which is more than I can say for that vague New Year’s resolution I’ve espoused a number of times in the past. Apparently.
SMARTening up our clients’ goals
At Prime Advisory, we encourage all of our clients to set goals—personal and financial.
Admittedly, at first their goals may be quite vague (e.g. “When I retire, I want to move to the Gold Coast”). But then we start ‘drilling down’ by asking some specific questions:
- When would you like to retire?
- What do you want to do when you retire?
- How much will that cost?
- Do you plan on leaving money to your children, or are you happy to spend the lot?
- Do you have any debt?
- Are you expecting any lump sum payments—an inheritance, proceeds from a sale of a business, or long-service leave?
By drilling down to the specifics of their goal, we can change it from “When I retire, I want to move to the Gold Coast” to something like “I want to retire when I’m 60, and have an annual retirement income of $60,000 in today’s dollars. I also want an additional $15,000 so I can go on an overseas holiday every two years during the first ten years of retirement.”
Sounds a lot more like a SMART goal now, doesn’t it? And now that we have one, we can talk about strategies to help them achieve it, such as:
- creating a savings plan
- investing excess cash
- making extra superannuation contributions
- paying off any non-deductible debt as soon as possible.
Helping you stay OnTrack
Once we’ve helped you create your SMART business goals, our Ontrack™ program will help you stick to your action plan. By reviewing your circumstances regularly, it will keep you accountable. And as your personal circumstances change, we’ll adjust your plan to make sure your business’ goals stay SMART, so you stay on track to achieving them.
Having turned my wishy-washy New Year’s resolution into a SMART goal, I’m much more confident about achieving it. So why not get in touch with us today, and start creating some SMART goals for yourself?
Of course, the downside is I now have to think of a new resolution for next year.
 I don’t remember saying it the year before. But she assures me I did, and I’m not going to argue. (She has a very good memory when it comes to these sorts of things.)