When you think about your personal or professional future, it’s likely that setting goals is a key part of the exercise. Although you might believe that to be successful in achieving your objectives depends on motivation or consistency, there are other important, and often forgotten, factors. One of those is setting goals correctly.

At one time or another you've, perhaps, felt determined to achieve something, but then you gave up a few days later. . For example, working out for two hours a week, getting your driving licence, saving up to buy a smart watch, or any other resolutions you might have made. 

Discipline is key to achieve your goals, however it’s often that key errors are made, when establishing such objectives. There are criteria and methodologies that can help you with this. One of the most popular ones is the methodology  SMART.  This acronym sets out five requirements – one basic principle per letter – which can be taken into account when setting goals in order to help you achieve your objectives.

Personal finances are one of the most common reasons for applying these criteria. Nevertheless, tSMART goals  can be applied both on a personal and professional level, as well as individually for a specific project or by a company looking to establish strategic goals. 

S (Specific)

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The first step is defining what you want to achieve. It may seem obvious, and you may have a rough idea, but you're not quite sure of the end goal. In addition to this question, depending on the objective you have established, other questions such as "where?" or "who?" may arise, if the location or other people are integral to the objective being achieved. One example would be saving up to pay for a holiday.

M (Measurable)

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Quantifying the objective will allow you to divide it into stages and analyse whether you are making progress. Going back to the example of saving, the amount that you have saved at each stage will you give a specific idea of your progress. 

A (Achievable)

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It should be a realistic and reasonable goal. Despite having to reach a specific monetary figure within a time frame, this doesn't mean that all your earnings can be set aside for this. After looking at your income and expenditure you should establish a realistic amount that you can set aside without compromising your financial health. 

R (Relevant)

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This criteria will help you work out whether it is worth the effort or whether it's the right time to do this. Perhaps, even if your economic and personal situation are stable, you may have other priorities.

T (Time-bound)

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Setting a deadline for achieving a goal is key to being consistent. 

Some benefits of the SMART methodology are improved motivation and confidence as you see that you are able to achieve your goals. All of this will be possible because you're managing your time and the effort you're putting into each goal more effectively. Without a doubt it's an effort that will boost the likelihood of the goals being achieved. 

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