There was a time, not so long ago that I couldn’t even contemplate future goal setting. Following my mental breakdown, the only goals I had were to get out of bed, shower and go for a walk. Any goals, no matter how small, make a world of difference. Without those small daily goals, I would never have succeeded in putting myself back together.
Although I now live my life taking smaller, more manageable steps, in everything I do. I am now also able to look towards a bright future and set exciting, larger, long-term goals.
What is a SMART goal?
The SMART method is as follows:
- Specific: Make the goal specific and targeted. Instead of ‘I want to save money‘. It needs to be ‘I will save £5.00 per week, for 20 weeks‘.
- Measurable: You must be able to measure the goal to indicate whether you’ve met this threshold. Money is an easy one to measure. But you can also set up measures to track other goals.
- Attainable: The goal needs to be realistic. Something which is actually achievable to you personally. Nobody wants to be set up for failure and there is no point in doing this to yourself.
- Relevant: It’s great to evaluate your values, dreams, and ambitions. Any goals you set need to be in line with these aspirations.
- Time-bound: Time-based goals are great for encouraging you to move forward. But it’s also important to set yourself enough time to comfortably achieve the goal.
What are some of my current goals?
Improving Family Finances
My family finances are something I talk about throughout my three blogs. Simply because we have struggled financially for several years. This was due to a range of circumstances, which meant we just couldn’t catch up or save money. I know a lot of people are still facing financial struggles, due to the cost of living crisis. I have a few money-saving tips if you’re currently struggling financially.
The circumstances which impacted our financial situation:
COVID – less pay, shielding & nursery closures
Time of work to recover
Reluctant to return to work
Using redundancy money to recover
Less pay in my first job since the breakdown
Basically, every circumstance that can have a negative impact, financially, on a family has happened to us, over the last five years. However, we’ve come out the other end stronger and better than before.
Be more present with my family and create lifelong memories
It’s been a long journey, to adapt my lifestyle to something which suited family life. But I created the work-life balance I needed, And we’ve had recent discussions about keeping it this way.
It would be easy to assume that because my toddler is going to school soon, our lives should go back to the way they were before. But I see it differently. Regardless of whether I will have slightly more free time soon. I need this! And we also have the school holidays to consider. And more importantly., the level of money which will be spent trying to provide childcare for the holidays.
If you want to check out more of our Family Adventures – head over to my first blog Mummy Conquering Anxiety and check out the Family Days Out & Staycations page
Pay off debt
Unfortunately, rather than our debt decreasing over the last few years, we do have some arrears we need to address.
It isn’t anything which cannot be rectified. And about three months ago, I made an effort to put in some admin work, contact all those involved and start to repay this. It may take us some time, but a SMART goal will ensure we stay on track.
Let’s view the example below:
Im using a fictitious example. as I wouldn’t expect anyone to go into detail about their financial situation in a blog post.
If you have £5,000 worth of debt and you want to pay this off within two years, it is reasonable to allocate about £210.00 per month to achieve your goal. If you can overpay further down the line to reach your goal sooner, that’s great. But having a realistic plan allows you to take control, stay in control and feel a sense of achievement.
Our SMART goal for this aim:
- Specific: Pay the total debt we have outstanding
- Measurable: I’ve set up a tracker spreadsheet, weekly standing orders and a plan – which we are currently sticking to
- Attainable: As part of the planning process, I have balanced living with paying off debt. To ensure we have enough money to achieve a healthy balance. This also means the plan will be more successful.
- Relevant: Because we have future goals we want to achieve – such as buying a house. Paying off debt is essential to freeing up monthly money to do this, but also improving our credit score.
- Time-bound: We have set ourselves an 18-month – two-year period to do our best to settle the debt.
Save for a house deposit
I dream of having enough space, for a family of three and all the stuff that comes along with each of us. An affordable, family home. Where we can comfortably live without overpaying every month. The rental market doesn’t benefit you. People call it wasted money. I personally love where we currently live and I don’t see it as wasted money. We have a great landlord and we have been very lucky. But it’s now time for a family home, with a garden. Somewhere to call our own.
A real-life example:
Once we have repaid our major debts, the plan is the then funnel the money into a house deposit.
It’s difficult to estimate an amount right now because the house prices are so out of control, but we have already set up ISA accounts to save money and we are actively looking at houses online. Scouting our local area for where we want to live. And starting to think practically about the fact that we probably can’t stay where we currently live. Because there is lack of the type of home we are looking for. And the prices are too high for us.
Our SMART goal for this aim:
- Specific: Pay the total debt we have outstanding. And then funnel the same level of money each month, into the house deposit.
- Measurable: A monthly standing order will be set up, from each of us, to pay into the ISA. We can then track the amount we have available. And start looking into our options.
- Attainable: This goal will take time to achieve. But with perseverance and patience, this will come to fruition.
- Relevant: it is a natural progression that you start to feel like creating a family home. We are at the beginning of this journey right now.
- Time-bound: For this goal. we have an allocated period of five years. Depending on what happens during this time, it could be achieved sooner. But if we have to save up on a monthly basis, we will stick to the timescale, to make it more attainable.
I have some free downloads for you, which will help you to create and achieve your goals. Download them below.
Being the spiritual person I am, I’ve created a Daily Manifestation Planner
As you get older you start to feel like you need to get your affairs in order. We have a dependent child now. And having worked in a financial services background, I am aware that things like pensions and life insurance are important.
The plan for us is to seek advice on these matters within the next six months.
Our SMART goal for this aim:
- Specific: Find an advisor who comes highly recommended.
- Measurable: I have started getting together all the paperwork we need, such as pension statements. I also use my calendar system to ensure we make this appointment within the next six months, This will get the process started.
- Attainable: Setting up some of the goals we have in mind for this measure, will largely be guided by the advice given from the professional in question.
- Relevant: Due to our age and the fact we will soon have assets to think about. It is the right time to purchase life insurance and start ploughing money into the right pension plan.
- Time-bound: We have set up a 12-month period. At the end of which, we need to be setting up the plans, as per the advice we were given. With a view to fully finalising them within 18 months.
Be more present with my family
This goal is one of our top priorities. And although we have struggled financially, it was vital that we didn’t compromise on this one. I am glad we didn’t.
The plan is for us to keep the same family routine we have now. Where my toddler gets to spend a weekday with us. Whilst this will give us both a little, independent free time when she is at school. We can be available for school drop-offs and pick-ups on those days. Valuable time when are not rushing her around. As we have to on a normal, usually stressful, working day.
Our SMART goal for this aim:
- Specific: Maintain the same routine we have as a family now (one weekday each with my toddler – to cover childcare and do fun things).
- Measurable: Continue to track our progress and adapt accordingly.
- Attainable: We have proven for the last two years, that this goal is achievable in normal daily life. And I am thankful every single day, that we’ve got to spend time together and create memories.
- Relevant: We are a family now. And with family life, inevitably, comes change. This is the goal which is most relevant to us. However, nobody can live without money.
- Time-bound: I intend to keep creating family memories, as long as we all want to participate in them.
Until Next Time
I hope that by giving an honest account of where we are financially and how we are using SMART goals to achieve our long-range future goals, you have learned something new.