Thursday, February 28, 2008

Smart goals

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.

For example:

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.

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