How we achieve our goals the SMART way

My Story: The SMART Goal System

contributed by Michelle

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My husband and I use the SMART goal method (taught a variety of ways). The SMART acronym is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound. I also utilize this method to teach my high school students to formulate goals (education, financial, physical, personal, social, etc). It is critical to write goals down! As an individual and as a married couple, there is nothing more exciting than checking off our list of long anticipated dreams/goals!

We also keep a poster board in our bedroom with sticky notes of different colors with different types of goals written down that we want to achieve (short-term, month-by-month, and long-term).

Here is an example of the SMART method for a short-term financial goal (under one year) I want to achieve.

Specific: Beginning this November, we want to save $400 per month to attend the Dave Ramsey's certified financial counselor training in Tennessee in ten months (August 2013).

Measurable: We'll need $4000 total (counselor training costs $2950, the cost of roundtrip airplane ticket from WY to TN will be approximately $850, and meals for four days will be approximately $200). (You can include money amount, test score, fitness test, or anything that can be measured.)

Attainable: Here are our five steps to achieve this goal.

  1. Contact representatives about the training and ask questions.
  2. Send in $500 sign up fee for the training/class along with completed application.
  3. Make arrangements for time off at work if training falls during the school year.
  4. Make arrangements for travel (airplane, hotel, and taxi to destination).
  5. Complete payment for training ($2450.00). Buy plane tickets. Set aside money for meals.

Realistic: Is this realistic or not? If not, reformulate goal. Please note that this is not a perfect process. For instance, I may need to save money ahead of time to purchase cheaper airline tickets!

Time Bound: To be completed by August 2013.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it to

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