One of the acronyms often used for goal setting is SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Based) goals. The beginning of the year is the perfect time to finalize goals for the rest of the year.  I recently completed my goal-setting process for the year and decided to share it, hoping it can help someone. Here are a few steps that I take to set SMART goals and keep myself accountable.

Start with affirmations and a vision board.

 Writing affirmations

Do you sometimes have visions or see images of what you want the year or future to look like or what you want to accomplish? What do you see when you envision your future?

I begin my process to set SMART goals by writing down affirmations around spirituality, family, health, and wealth.

Writing those affirmations down is a crucial step in keeping myself accountable. A trick I started using a few years ago is to write my affirmations as if they have already happened.

For instance, if one of the things on your vision board is to publish a book, the affirmation is “I’m a best-selling author” as opposed to “I will be a best-selling author.” I believe that speaking as if things have already happened helps your brain get comfortable with the idea.

vision board to help set SMART goals

Creating a vision board

I also use vision boards, whether it is a physical vision board with pictures of what you want to happen or an electronic vision board that you can keep as a screensaver on your phone. The process of creating a vision board consists of collecting images of things that you want to happen in the future and organizing them on a board that you can look at regularly.

Some people like one year-vision board, but my preference is to look at least five years into the future and adjust along the way. The decision on a 1-year or multi-year board is up to you. Unlike goals, affirmation and vision boards don’t have to be “reasonable”. You have the opportunity to let your wildest dreams come out because, at this stage, you are not worried about how. You can make your affirmations as bold and ambitious as you want and focus on the how later. 

Related post: Achieving Financial Independence 

Translate vision into SMART goals.

 Once you have a vision board, the next step is to set SMART goals. We can sometimes be overwhelmed by our dreams and aspirations; breaking them down into steps or goals helps keep the momentum going.

If one of your affirmations is to generate $100K of annual income on the side, the next step is to create a goal tied to that affirmation.

Do you currently sell a product, whether it is a book, a course, apparel, something that can be licensed, or do you have an idea that you can turn into a product? Do you have any interest in selling existing products or generating income through cash flowing real estate investment properties? There are many possibilities, but which of your skills/ talents can you leverage to produce income via a side hustle?

An example of a SMART financial goal would be to generate $100K in “side income” in the next five years through selling digital files and acquiring cash flowing real estate properties. Now that you have set a SMART goal, what can you do next to increase your chances of success?

calendar to break down SMART goals into steps

Break down SMART goals into smaller goals or steps to get there

Map out success

Create a 5-year map. Can you start with $10K in income the first year and then add $20k every year until year 5, when you will add $30K?

What will be your first product, and what path can you create to the $100K of side hustle income in 5 years? Let’s pretend you have decided to create products that you will sell for $20 your first year.

Brainstorm on the how

How many sales/deals will you have to make to generate $10,000 in sales this year? 500, which is less than 10 sales a week or 120 sales every quarter. Is that something you can commit to doing leveraging your network and the internet?

For year 1, the goal is to generate $10K in income through digital sales. During the year, you can brainstorm on what you have to do to increase your income in year 2 by adding more products or services. The most important thing is that you have your goal for this year: to generate $10K of income by selling one product by the end of 2021.

woman review SMART goals in calendar

Set a date and review your goals often.

In this instance, the objective is to reach $10,000 in sales by December 31st, 2021. To do that, you would need to sell less than 10 units a week.

Be mindful not to set all of your goals for the end of the year. Spread your goals throughout the year so you can gain momentum by hitting those goals along the way.

$10,000 in sales for a $20 product is about 115 units every quarter. A tool that I use to keep on track with quarterly goals is a quarterly planner.

Once you have written down a plan and tied it to a deadline, it is no longer just an idea; it is a SMART goal.

How do you keep your goals alive? Reviewing goals every day, whether before bed or after waking up, and tracking progress is beneficial. It serves as a reminder that you are working on something and need to remain focused.

review SMART goals and track progress

Decide on your rewards.

Another helpful tip when you set SMART goals is to plan for the rewards or celebrations along the way. For larger goals broken down into quarterly goals, what can you do to reward yourself after accomplishing the goal? What are you going to do for yourself at the end of the year once you hit a big goal? Do you enjoy spa days, travel, or shopping? What is one thing that can keep you motivated and focused? Consider writing the reward down next to the goal.

When I generate $2,500 in my side hustle every quarter, I will do “X,” and when I reach $10k in my side hustle by the end of 2021, I will do “Y.” quarter, when I generate $2,500 in my side hustle, I will

Every time you look at your goals, you will see the rewards, which can be very helpful during challenging times.

If you liked this post, you would enjoy Five Tips To Stay Motivated No Matter The Season


Final Thoughts


We often set goals without giving ourselves a real shot at achieving them. Being intentional by creating SMART goals specific to our long-term vision, writing them down, breaking them into smaller steps, and committing to a timeline gives us a better chance to accomplish those goals.

Another step to consider is to share those goals, even if it is just with people close to you. Sharing your goals can give you additional pressure to accomplish them.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” Tony Robbins


Are you done with your 2021 budget, this article The 50/30/20 Budgeting Method might be helpful.