This week, we are going to begin organizing the goals we've been praying about and writing down. In order for goals to be successful, they must meet certain criteria. The acronym for this is SMART.
S-Specific. Make goals specific and not general. If you need $20,000 for a down payment on a house, put that down. If you want to lose 17 pounds, put that down. If you want to pay for a Disney vacation that costs $3,000, write it down. If you want to increase your income by a certain amount, put that down. Avoid generalizations such as "money for a down payment on house", "lose weight", or "increase monthly income." These goals are good, but too broad.
M-Measurable. We have to be able to see the progress, measure it and realize that even if we aimed for 100%, we might have gotten 50% of the goal. For example, if we need to pay for that vacation that costs $3,000, we might create a chart where we can mark off milestones such as paying every $500.
A-Action-oriented. Goals require us to put forth an effort. As Christians, it's common to believe that God can and will do the impossible. That doesn't mean we don't have to put in some leg work of our own. We must take action, begin moving toward our goals, doing things that move us toward achieving our goals. For example, if I want to write a book in 30 days, I actually have to sit down at the computer and start typing on the keyboard! The book isn't going to write itself. If you want to record a CD, you have to gather or write music, find a recording studio, and actually record the songs. It's the same for any one of our goals.
R-Realistic. Goals that are way out there may not in fact be realistic goals, especially if they are not action-oriented. For example, it is not a realistic goal that you would increase your income to one million dollars by playing the lottery. Now, don't misunderstand. If that is God's will and plan for you, He can make that happen. But it's not a realistic goal and there is no action really required. Having a goal of weight loss is realistic, but losing 100 pounds in 2 months is not. Get the idea? Setting smaller goals drives you and increases your commitment to accomplishing the overall goal. So losing 10 pounds in 6 weeks is more realistic. Make sense?
T-Timeline. I think this is where our goals are achieved or not. If we don't give ourselves a timeline for accomplishing our goals, we have no drive to complete them. So if I say I want to write a book, well, that could be next week, next month or next year because there is no commitment to completing it sooner rather than later.
Below is my first vision board. Looking at it, you can see that there are no SMART goals. In fact, the only goals I did add SMART goals to was publishing my books. I only published one. That is the only goal I accomplished on this board three years ago!
When we create our vision boards in the next few weeks, we need to make sure we include these SMART goals with each goal. Let's say I want to save for a trip to Disney World. It might look something like this before I put it on my board:
Specific: Six day, five night trip to Disney World in September 11-16, 2016
Measurable: Cost for all 6 family members to go is $4,967.20 and includes Fort Wilderness campsite, park hopper park passes, and Dining Plan.
Action-oriented: Everyone must work to save the money for this trip.
Realistic: We can pay $400 per month from paychecks and need to work for $152 a month in addition to meet the goal.
Timeline: We will pay for the vacation 45 days prior to our arrival, July 28, 2016.
Do you see how each of these components work together to give us a very real, clear picture of a goal? This is exactly what you're going to do with each of your goals that you want to put on your vision board! Remember what it says in Habakkuk 2:2: Write the vision, make it plain.
You may think that all of this takes a lot of work just to get ready to start working toward your goals. It does take a lot of work! But if God didn't require something of us in accomplishing these goals, we would be in danger of taking the credit for the achievements ourselves and taking the focus off of God's power to help us finish it.
Terri Savelle Foy says, "When you're ready, get ready!" We are ready to get more specific and more committed to our goals for 2016,,,and we start TODAY!!