Why "Smart Goals"? They sound better than Stupid Goals.
SMART is also an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. I'm not a major fan of the cute acronym, but it is a good way to double-check goals for practicality.
I want to publish a novel.
Unfortunately, I don't run any presses, so this goal is not attainable without modification. Setting up a goal that depends on the money and goodwill of major publishing companies (or your spouse or your bank or the financial markets) is a big mistake. Good goals focus on personal actions, not desired results.
I want to finish my current novel.
Better, but still missing some basic points. When? What do I mean by finished? (You think there's one answer to this, try it sometime.)
How about this?
I want to work on revising and completing the rough draft of ECHO for at least 30 minutes every weekday. By June 15th, I want it copy-edited, formatted, printed, and mailed to my agent.
Now that's a goal. Specific, measureable (both in progress and completion), attainable, relevant, and timely.
This will keep me busy from a creative standpoint for some time.
On the financial side:
I want to pay off all debt except for my mortgage through accelerated payments or the "snowball" method by 2/28/2010. The total amount is approximately $15,800, and my current rate of payment is about $500 per month. In order to meet my goal, I need to pay an additional $160 per month.
There will be lots more on the subject of snowballing, budgeting, frugality and debt repayment, but this is a good start. If you can't wait for my words of wisdom, please head over to Paid Twice, one of my favorite M-Network bloggers.