gil sun gazing from a van out at a beach.

How to set SMART goals and keep them on track

Do you dream of buying your first home, heading on an overseas adventure with no return ticket, or a change in career? Having a goal is exciting but it can also feel overwhelming – especially if it involves a big change or a lot of time and effort. By creating SMART goals, you could help make that dream Pinterest board a reality.

What is a SMART goal?

Don’t worry, we’re not shouting at you. SMART is an acronym to help you break up your big hairy audacious life goals into bite-sized chunks. Let’s break it down.

  • Specific: Define exactly what you are trying to accomplish. Be as specific as you can about that goal. Visualise it and how you will feel at the end, and most importantly – write it down.

  • Measurable: How will you know when you have achieved your goal? Examples could be: running a marathon by December, saving $5,000 for a European summer holiday, or getting the first $50,000 deposit for your first home.

  • Actionable: What actions or changes are you willing to make to achieve your goal? And what tools do you need? For example: 

To run a marathon, you might need to:

  • set up a regular running plan in your calendar
  • enlist a regular a running buddy
  • start a new workout routine at the gym
  • download a running app (our fave is C25K).

To save for a holiday or your first home, you might need to:

This is all about breaking your goal up into steps to make the mountain feel like a few little hurdles to jump over.
  • Realistic: Give yourself a realistic timeline that you can work within. You won’t be running 40 km next month if you’ve only just hit the pavement today, and you won’t have all the money for a holiday after one pay day.  
    Map out a realistic timeline from today onwards, including predicting any hurdles that might get in the way like sickness, holidays or unexpected bills.

  • Time bound: Set milestones with deadlines attached to make yourself accountable.  You can do this by setting reminders, using a diary or telling a friend or family member who can keep you on track.

Kick some SMART financial goals.

Getting your finances sorted can feel like a big hurdle. But with the right tools at your disposal, and some good money habits, you can definitely get there.

Saving for a big-ticket item? Get a high interest savings account.

Looking to invest in a new car, or your first home? Big ticket items usually come with a big price tag and long-term savings plan. Get a jump start by looking at your current income, and how much you can stash away each pay day to inch closer to that deposit. Then, set yourself up with a separate, high interest savings account to keep your savings away from your daily expenses.

Get your budget watertight.

Consider how you can optimise your long-term finances and put together a budget to help you get there. Feeling stuck? Try using our budget planner to help you determine how much to put away each week.

Build some good money habits.

Adjust your spending to see where you can save money – consider opening a high interest savings account to start growing a little nest egg for future you.

Once you know your goal, think about what a SMART savings plan looks like for you. Ask yourself: how much will you need to save all up, what does that mean for your weekly budget, what steps will you take to regularly put money aside for that goal, can you afford it and how long will it take?

Set SMART goals for every area of your life.

We don’t always have to be striving for financial success; sometimes our goals might be a little more personal, to help pull the focus to an area of our life that’s important.

Personal goals

Making time for yourself is an important part of staying balanced. Consider the following personal goals.

Yourself: Now is your chance to focus on self-improvement. Adopt a pet, join a club, meditate, or simply finding time to crack open a new book.

Your friends: Has it been ages since you managed to get away for an evening to catch up with your friends? Select a few people from your inner circle to make more time for or consider branching out and making new friends as well.

Your relationship: Making time for you and your partner to reconnect could be the most important thing you do all year. Set goals for your relationship the same way you would individually and check in with each other frequently to make sure you’re still working towards that shared goal.


Ready to take better care of yourself? Make your health and wellbeing a priority and enjoy the rewards of a happier, healthier you.

Eat better: Commit to reliably making your last meal of the day a good one, and work your way up to every meal, every day. Balance enjoyment of your food with making sure your body’s needs are supported.

Be more active: Try walking more at work or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Low impact exercises can be done at your desk or in front of the TV. Find out if your employer promotes a wellness initiative and sign up. Focus on fitness instead of weight and watch your health improve.

Don’t forget your mental health: Consider regular journaling, and list three good things that happened during your day, followed by three strong feelings you had, or try to practise mindfulness or meditation, even if it’s for 10 minutes each morning.


Is your professional life stagnating? This could be the year you have a breakthrough. Decide where you want to be in one year, or even five years’ time, and make a plan to get there.

Get a promotion: Are you being compensated for your true value? If not, asking for a pay increase, or seeking more responsibilities might give you more sense of job satisfaction and help you get closer to your long-term career goals.

New job: If you seem to have hit a ceiling in your current position, maybe it’s time to move on. Make getting your CV in order the first step in your bigger goal for a new job.

New industry: Time for a career switch? Fun! Work out what you need to do to move into a new field, does it mean further studies, or volunteer work? Is there someone in your life that works in this industry you can talk to for advice?

Always (always!) celebrate the small wins along the way.

Setting SMART goals creates mini milestones that you can work towards on the way to your bigger goals. But make no mistake, the small wins can be celebrated too, in fact – they must be! 

Make sure you create space to reward and care yourself when you hit each milestone along the way to keep yourself motivated. Achieving your goals shouldn’t feel punishing – take the time to celebrate.

Set and smash your goals with a myBOQ Future Saver account.

Future Saver, our high interest savings account is here to help you reach your financial goals. But why stop at one?

When you have a Future Saver account on the myBOQ app, you can have up to 9 separate savings accounts for your different goals. So, what are you waiting for?

Sign up for a myBOQ Future Saver account