The new year is right around the corner, and for many people, this means setting goals for yourself and your family you want to accomplish in the upcoming months.
While your intentions may be good, it can be easy to lose sight of goals and motivation and forget about them within a few months — unless you make SMART goals.
What are SMART goals?
You’ve probably heard of SMART goals. While there are different versions of SMART goals and what each letter stands for, a SMART goal is any goal that meets the following criteria:
No need to overcomplicate things. Your goals should be simple and specific enough for everyone in your family to understand.
Motivational goals are goals that propel you to action. They’re often associated with a feeling of accomplishment or pride. For example, losing 10 pounds is a common motivational goal because the result is something that is obvious and provides lasting benefits.
An action-oriented goal is one that requires action. In order to achieve it, you’ll need to make a plan of action. These are smaller steps or tasks that allow you to reach your goal.
This is probably the most important step of all. Your goal needs to be something you can reach. If it’s not do-able, you’ll get discouraged. For example, don’t make a goal to save $30,000 this year if you make $35,000 a year.
Put a deadline on your goals, whether it’s a month or year from now. This will keep you accountable. Write your goals and their deadlines down on your calendar, and look at it often.
SMART goals for you and your family
What are SMARTER goals?
SMART goals are great, but SMARTER goals go two steps beyond to help you make your goals more attainable:
This is more of a step than a characteristic. Once you’ve set a goal, take time to step back and evaluate it. Is it still important to you? Is it still realistic? Perhaps your needs or priorities have shifted. Or, as you implement your plan of action, you may find that your goal isn’t as reachable as you’d hoped.
Once you’ve evaluated your goal, you may find that it’s not realistic anymore. Or, your needs as an individual or family may have changed. This is nothing to be discouraged about. If you need to change your goal to be more achievable, then do so. Goal setting doesn't have to be a once-a-year event.
For example, maybe you set a goal to eat dinner as a family every night of the week. But kids’ school schedules, sports practices, or a new project at work that requires overtime may not make this goal realistic anymore — and that’s OK. Simply readjust it. Eating dinner as a family seven nights a week may not work, but four nights a week may.
Do your goals pass the SMARTER test?
As you set your goals, ask yourself if they’re really SMARTER.
For example, let’s say you have a new baby in your family and set a goal to make your home baby-proof by the time the baby is mobile. Here’s why this is a SMARTER goal:
- It’s simple. You want to make the home safer for your baby.
- It’s motivational. This goal keeps the baby from getting hurt — definitely a motivating factor.
- It’s action-oriented. You’ll have to take action to make your home safer. This could be installing baby gates, putting covers over electrical outlets, or anchoring heavy shelves to your walls.
- It’s reachable. The steps to accomplish this goal are very do-able.
- It’s time-stamped. You want to accomplish this goal by the time the baby is scooting or crawling.
SMARTER goals for your home and family
The goals you set for your home and family should benefit everyone. Here are a few ideas for SMART goals for 2018 to get you started:
- Create a home maintenance calendar with tasks like cleaning out gutters, aerating your lawn, or repairing windows and screens.
- Make an extra mortgage payment on your home.
- Increase your home security with a home security system.
- Plant a new tree or some shrubs in the spring to beautify your yard.
- Have a weekly “family night” where you play games, go to a park, or watch a movie together.
- Set school goals together with your kids, such as making sure backpacks are packed and homework is signed off the night before.
- Set a goal to limit the amount of screen time you get as a family.
Once you’ve decided your goals as a family, write them down and post them where everyone can see them. This serves as a motivational reminder all year.
The new year is the perfect time to reassess your needs as a family and set goals for your home. Making SMART goals in 2018 will help you reach them together as a family.