What gets measured gets done or what gets measured gets improved are two common sayings. Both statements apply to goal setting. We are unlikely to achieve our goals and go where we want to be without establishing
goals S.M.A.R.T. goals.
A goal must be written or documented. Otherwise, there is no way to keep yourself accountable and the goal may easily be forgotten.
Additionally, you should create S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Specific – goals need to be specific. Think of the 5 W’s (Who, what, when, where, why).
An example would be – I want to lose weight to improve my health, put less stress on my body and make it easier to hike the Appalachian Trail.
Measurable – goals need to be measurable. Think how much? Or, how many?
An example would be – I will lose 15 pounds by improving my diet, avoiding sweets, walking more and regularly exercising.
Attainable – goals need to be attainable and reasonable. Do you have the means to complete your goal? Some goals may not be achievable due to time or financial means. I could be the greatest athlete in the world but do not have the means to climb Mount Everest.
Likewise, I am 6′ 2. If I weighed 130 pounds, losing 15 more pounds would not be reasonable
Example – I am 6′ 2″ and weigh 205 pounds. Losing 15 pounds would make my weight 190 pounds. This is reasonable and an attainable goal for someone my size.
Relevant – goals need to be relevant and worthwhile. Otherwise there is no motivation to pursue the goal. We are more likely to achieve our goal if it’s relevant to our wants, needs, and interests.
Example – I want to live a long, healthy, and active life. Losing the 15 pound will help me live out my other goals. Additionally, this goal is relevant and aligns with my other interests.
Timely – goals need to have a time frame for completion. The time frame also needs to be relevant. I cannot write a book or lose 15 pounds in a month. However, both of these goals are more realistic over a span of 12 months.
Example – I want to lose 15 pounds in 12 months. This establishes a reasonable and healthy time frame for completing the goal.
Reviewing My 2016 Goals
Last year I discussed my goals for 2017 and reviewed my 2016 performance. Five goals were established for 2017. I achieved two of my goals; the other three goals were partially completed.
Read more – partial check. My goal was to read 12 books this year. Unfortunately, I only read 8 books and do not want to cram four books into the final weeks of the year. I do not feel bad about falling short of this goal. I increased my consumption of podcasts and blogs which was equally as beneficial as reading.
Run more – partial check. I started the first half of the year running more and being active. However, I received the wonderful gift of two herniated discs in my back from a car accident. This derailed my running plans for the second half of the year. Thankfully, I have the pain under control and have been cleared to slowly start running again.
Buy an investment property – double check. I set the goal to buy another rental property during 2017. I actually bought two; rental property #3 and rental property #4.
Last year I stated that buying a rental property will be a goal every year for the next 4-5 years. I am take a break since rental property #4 was acquired much more recently than I expected. I do not want to stretch myself too thin.
Travel more – partial check. My goal was to travel internationally once and take a couple trips around the states. Well, I am glad to say that I took plenty of domestic trips, however, I failed to go abroad this year. Some of the highlights include skiing in Colorado, hanging out on Lake Michigan and going to Dallas for FinCon.
Max out 401k – CHECK! This was the second year in a row that I maxed out my 401k . It’s amazing to watch a 401K balance grow and I love getting a matching contribution from my employer. If you are not contributing to your 401K, I highly recommend that you start. Its’ one of the 6 steps to saving a 6-figure net worth.
My 2018 Goals
1. Travel more and care less about work
Over the past 4 and half years, work, accumulation, and growth have been my top priority. As I fly closer to financial independence, I find that I care less about work. I also want to enjoy life more and reunite with my long lost love of travel. My goal is to take trip every other month. I will accomplish this by planning ahead.
2. Improve overall health
I want to improve my overall physical health. This includes lowering my weight, being more active and taking better care of my body. I am not going to committee to a specific activity because of my back. However, I am going to commit to being a healthier and more active person. I will also focus on portion control and not overeating.
3. Max out my 401k & save $50k in brokerage account
The first part of this goal will be a cake walk. I have maxed out my 401k for the past two years. This goal is takes little effort as the contributions are automatically taken from my pay check.
Reaching $50k savings/investing in a my brokerage account will be challenging but doable. Earlier this year, I shared how I am solidifying and automating my way to financial independence. Part of this plan included regular index fund purchases in a brokerage account. This will increase my dividend income and investments outside of retirement accounts.
Both of these financial goals are important to me. Regularly saving and investing will allow me to buy back my time and reach financial independence.
4. Give back more
Giving has always been an important part of my life. For most of my life, giving consisted of volunteering and offering my time. Moving forward, I would like to give back to my community as much as possible. This still includes donating my time and volunteering for worthy causes.
However, I would also like to donate money. It’s safe to say that I am at least modestly privileged (as are many other personal finance bloggers) and I feel obligated to give back and help those less fortunate.
5. Grow the blog
This will be my stretch goal for the year. I want to increase my traffic by 10x. This will be challenging but possible if I focus on regularly posting content for you, my readers. Additionally, I want to improve the quality of the content I am releasing. My hope is the site is providing value to you in some way, shape or form.
Additionally, if you are enjoying the site, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I have met up with many readers for a coffee or beer. I am also happy to chat about real estate any time if you are not local.
Introducing The 2018 Goal Challenge
I’m challenging you to set five goals for 2018. Better yet, I would like to help keep you accountable with your goals.
I want you to spend the last week of the year reflecting. Spend time looking back on 2017. Identify what worked for you and what could have been better.
Think about what you would like to achieve in 2018. As you are setting your goals, keep your ‘why’ in mind. Goals need to be meaningful to you otherwise you are unlikely to stay motivated.
Goals must be:
- Written and documented.
- SMART goals.
- Diversified goals. We do not want to focus on only one area of life. Try to pick at least 3 different categories. Some examples: financial, career, health, family, social, travel, personal development, travel and spiritual.
- Make at least one goal a stretch goal. Its good to push ourselves.
- Share your goals with the hash tag #GoF2018 goals. Write a post about your goals if you are a blogger. Or email me at email@example.com
Letting people know about your goals will help you stay accountable. Additionally, you should check in on your goals monthly or quarterly. Regularly checking in on your goals will allow you to stay on track and reach your goals.
If you find yourself falling behind, make a plan to get back track.
Goal setting is an important part of living a fulfilling and successful life. Taking a few hours to think about what you want in life will go a long way. How do you set goals? What goals do you want to achieve in 2018?