I’ve been reworking my Newlywed Bliss Box by turning it into an e-book. I’m anticipating finishing it this year (I’m about half-way there.) However, in the process of turning my posts into an actual “book” I realized I had to change the goal-setting spreadsheet and make it much more specific. In doing so, I decided that SMART goals are the best method to getting what you want.

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Anyone can set a goal like “lose weight this year,” or “save money,” but if the goal doesn’t have these SMART components, narrowing down the focus, the chances of meeting that goal is slim to none.

I first read about the SMART goal setting process on a few other Yakezie personal finance blogs but I never really used this method for myself. Once I revised the goal spreadsheets for my e-book, I went ahead and tested it out helping me really focus on saving money. Here’s a screenshot of my own SMART goals:

SMART goal sample

After specifying the goal, thinking about the possible roadblocks and setting a target date, the saving goal became much clearer. I’m still working towards making progress on this, but it’s seems much more attainable now than ever before. Notice I haven’t even started a “house savings goal” yet. It just isn’t attainable right now. I’m also not overwhelmed by the idea that I need to save a “ton of money” between the ER fund, retirement fund and house fund.

SMART goals aren’t just used for personal finance. Using this same spreadsheet, I’ve also applied it to my teaching. I give my students a blank form, ask them to think about what they’d like to improve on (most say grades or finding more time to study) then I probe them on how they will accomplish that goal. Many of them come up with some measurable/attainable way to achieve improving their grades like making sure to ask for help or setting aside just 20 extra minutes a day. At the six-week reporting period, I’ll check back with them and assess their progress.

Recreating the goal spreadsheet was one of the best things I think I’ve done this past month.

How do you set goals and measure them?


  1. Lance @ Money Life and More Reply

    I just set a goal and go for it. I don’t use the SMART system but I know if I did I’d be a lot more likely to get things done. I learned about them multiple times in college but I still don’t listen… oh well…

    • @Lance – I’ve been working towards a couple of goals over the past two years and just can’t reach them. I’m really hoping the SMART goal will refocus my efforts!

  2. I was a SMART goal advocate before I even knew the name. I used something similar 35 years ago, but I don’t think it was called SMART goals. Anyway it works and worked for me!

    • @Krantcents – I think I really just need to get more serious and hunker down to reach my goals. Setting SMART goals sort of does that for me. But time will tell!

  3. Michael Davis Reply

    Always Remember to set a deadline. A goal without a deadline is simply a dream. Attach a realistic yet challenging deadline for accomplishment and post this where you can review it regularly.

    • @Michael Davis – I’m trying to set it for early next year, but I think I’m much to lenient with myself and push those due dates back, and back, and back. Hopefully this strategy will work.

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