Thanks to everyone who has read and signed the proclamation declaring 2011 as the Year of Less. If this is your first visit, please read my previous post, “A Call for Change…Make 2011 the Year of Less, take the pledge and begin your journey to a simple, uncluttered life.
Take the next step!
Those who have taken the pledge to buy less, own less and do less in 2011, must now take action. You don’t want signing the pledge to become meaningless, like a New Year’s resolution that is forgotten before January ends. Your next step is to set your personal goals for 2011 and develop a plan to achieve those goals. Don’t let anyone tell you what your goals should be; to truly own them they must be YOUR goals.
Make your goals SMART.
Is it your goal to reduce your debt and cut purchases in 2011? If so, then if you end 2011 owing one less dollar and you bought one less cup of coffee, you reached your goal. To be truly effective, goals must be SMART. SMART is an acronym used by many organizations as a guideline for setting meaningful goals. SMART stands for:
Specific – This is the what, why and how of goal setting. What exactly are you going to do, why is it important and how are you going to accomplish the goal. For example, you can set a goal of reducing expenses by eliminating cable TV which would free up an extra $60+ a month to pay on debt and give you 2 extra hours a day to spend quality time with family and friends.
Measurable – You have to be able to track your progress towards a goal. If you can’t measure a goal, how do you know when you’ve reached it? You can track your progress towards the goal of losing 20 lbs, but how do you track the goal of being as happy as you possibly can?
Attainable – Although your goals should challenge you, they also need to be possible for you to reach. If your goal is unattainable, you will become discouraged and no longer commit to achieving the goal. Reducing your debt by $10,000 in a month is probably not possible, but $500 a month may be possible and the $10,000 of debt will be gone in 20 months.
Realistic – Realistic means that the skills, materials, and information needed to accomplish the goal are available. It doesn’t mean that it will be easy, but is does mean that it is doable.
Time-bound – You must commit to a date by which your goal will be achieved. The date should allow you enough time to complete the goal, but not so much time that you feel no sense of urgency. How many times have you said that someday you are going to travel to (insert your destination here), only to find out that someday never comes? It is much better to say you are going to take the trip in August of this year.
When you share your goals, you are held accountable to achieve them.
Everyday life provides plenty of distractions and frustrations which can cause us to quickly forget all about our goals. Procrastination is my biggest stumbling block on the path to success. There are some methods to help us fight against these barriers to achieving our goals:
- Write down your goals and post them where they can be seen daily. Writing down goals helps to reinforce them and reviewing them on a regular basis draws our attention away from the distractions and back to our goals.
- Share your goals with someone you trust to hold you accountable. Find an accountability partner(s) who you meet with on a regular basis to review your progress. Your partner needs to be someone who will encourage you, question you, and will give you a kick in the butt when you need one.
- Nothing breeds success like success. If your goal is to pay off a $1000 credit card debt, set up a thermometer graph from zero to $1000 and color in each payment amount you make. Your sense of accomplishment will grow at the same rate as your graph fills up.
I would like to share a couple of my goals with you.
- It is important for my blog to stay active and for me to write consistantly if I wish to make a living through my writing. I will publish a minimum of 100 informative, high-quality posts to my blog in 2011.
- In support of the 2011, the Year of Less pledge, I will publish an e-guide containing information and techniques that readers can use to help them buy less, own less and do less in 2011. This guide will be available in March of 2011.
If you haven’t already done so, take the next step and set your SMART goals for 2011. Write them down and share them with an accountability partner. If you have any goals you would like to share with me or my readers, you can post them in the comments area or put them in a email to just me. My email is exodux2000 @ yahoo.com. I also am now on twitter. My handle is Rickatfuturenow.