ASMART Approach To Goal Setting

Aaron Lieberman |

Have you ever tried to convince a child to clean their room? How about eat their vegetables? Dare I say, go to school when they didn’t feel like it? While you can argue that doing those things will have a positive impact on that child’s life, for some reason it’s not enough to convince them to “go with the program.” They will likely whine, “but why do I have to? Why?” In the end, they’re the child and you’re the adult and begrudgingly or not, they will ultimately concede to your requests or end up potentially losing privileges at home. But what about adults? What motivates you to do things that you may not necessarily be inspired to do, even though the outcome of your actions could affect you positively? What is your “why?”

Don’t kid yourself, inside every adult is their “inner child.” That same feeling you had as a kid when your parents shoved broccoli in your face is likely the same feeling you get when a financial advisor talks about planning for retirement. Just as vegetables help you grow healthy and strong, planning for retirement will help you enjoy life later on. What about now? Why can’t the kid just eat cake? Why can’t I buy a boat and jet ski on a whim and worry about retirement when the time comes? Again, it’s all about the magic word, “why.”

For many, motivation comes from setting goals. We assess where we are, consider where we want to be and set goals to get there. Setting goals is especially important when it comes to financial planning. There’s a popular acronym that pops up when goal setting is discussed, it’s SMART. The traditional break down of SMART is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Tangible. The theory is that in order to get where we want to go, our goals must meet all five of the criteria. For some, that’s fine. For those whose inner child has a strong voice, it reads as a rigid template that is ultimately uninspiring. Your goals essentially become a list of chores. Not exactly what you may be looking for as a means of motivation.

At Marathon Wealth, we like to offer alternative words for the SMART acronym. For us, they are, Significant, Meaningful, Attracting, Rewarding and Timely. If you notice one thing, it’s that they all speak to our “why.” They are designed to connect with you on an emotional level. Instead of trudging through because you know the outcome of your actions can have positive effects on your life, you can move confidently through, understanding why you are setting those goals and what value they can bring to your life.

There are many differences between an “adult you” and “child you,” but there are also some hidden similarities. That luxury car in your garage, that boat at the marina, those are toys. Just because they don’t say TYCO doesn’t mean your inner child didn’t get its hands on some adult money. It’s ok to enjoy your money if your budget allows, but don’t be foolish. Set goals and make calculated decisions that take your full financial plan into account. If setting goals the traditional way doesn’t appeal to you, give our way a try. Your inner child may be acting out and maybe you should listen. After all, just like that big plate of broccoli, it could be good for you.

To learn more about our approach to SMART Goals, visit:

Marathon Wealth Management, Inc. (“Marathon”) is a registered investment advisor with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Marathon provides investment advisory and related services for clients nationally. Marathon will maintain all applicable registration and licenses.