Focus on the Right SMART Goals in 2019
Marty McCarthy, CPA
Focused on You. Dedicated to Your Success.
January 7, 2018

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” 
— Andrew Carnegie

Almost everyone makes a New Year resolution to change something in their life. Unfortunately, most people give up after a couple of weeks and fail to reach their goals. There are lots of reasons why this happens. Mostly, the goals are not thought-out. In other words, they are not SMART goals.

SMART is a well-known acronym for goals that are:

S pecific: Clearly defined goals that are precise and detailed. 
M easurable: Quantitative goals that include exact financial numbers, amounts, and milestones. 
A ttainable: Achievable goals that can be accomplished within the constraints of factors including, but not limited to time, money, the environment, economy, and market trends, as well as your learned skills and innate abilities.
R elevant: Qualitative goals that are in alignment with your vision and purpose. These goals should move you forward towards reaching what you truly desire.
T ime-sensitive: Specific deadlines for each step towards reaching your goals.

Having SMART goals should help you attain what you are focused on doing. An example of a SMART goal is to earn $1 million in additional profits by expanding our reach in the Tri-state region (Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York) in the industrial construction industry by attaining 50 new clients by December 31, 2021. This goal is much clearer than simply saying: “I want to make more money in the construction niche over the next couple of years.”

Focus on the Right Goals
Note that the word “profit” is bolded in the above paragraph. I did this to emphasize a point. Business owners tend to focus on generating more revenue than profit. While this is sensible, it doesn’t mean that you will make more money. In fact, you could make less money. 

Think about how revenue is generated – you can either increase sales from new customers or transactions from existing customers. There are many ways to do this including investing more money in marketing, expanding your sales force, increasing production, decreasing costs, discounting prices, etc. The bottom line is that these tactics may help to increase revenue or not. If you spend too much to implement any of these tactics or make the wrong decision, the increase in revenue may not cover the increase in costs resulting in less profits.

Why You Miss Goals
In her article published on January 8, 2019, in Small Biz Ahead (The Hartford) entitled Setting SMART Goals: The 5 Biggest Mistakes You Can Make , Felicia Sullivan suggests that people have problems reaching their goals because:

1. You set your sights too high.
Remember the achievable part of your SMART goal? You want to make sure that you set realistic, manageable goals. It’s okay to have big dreams, but break those dreams down into bite-sized components. And don’t try to change too many aspects of your behavior, or your business, at the same time. If you want your business to make you a millionaire, perhaps it’s better to start by focusing on a five-year plan with annual revenue goals.

2. You’re vague about the outcome.
Get concrete about what you aim to master. For example, let’s say your goal is to learn search engine optimization, or SEO. That’s not an achievable goal in and of itself since SEO has many moving parts. How about saying something like this instead: For the next 30 days, I will take a Skillshare course to learn SEO basics, including onsite and offsite optimizations. Being specific also helps you identify the next right steps to take.

3. You don’t see failure as a path to success.
Failure gets such a bad rap! Even the most successful business owners have a long list of failures. Steve Jobs was fired from Apple in 1985, the company he cofounded from his garage. Then he later returned and went on to revolutionize music and mobile phones. Consider viewing success as a million little failures — failures that give you important information that can help you refine your strategies, so that you can achieve your next goal. Your missteps could also give you the strength to overcome obstacles in your way. Learn to see your failures only as slight detours off the path to achieving your goals.

4. You don’t plan for problems.
Even with the best of intentions, life sometimes gets in the way. If you know that certain obstacles will sidetrack you from your goal, create a game plan to sidestep the landmines. For example, if you want to eat whole and healthy foods, but you’re on a plane every week, you can plan to pack snacks and research healthy local markets and food options. There’s a reason it’s called a goal and not an outcome; no matter how well you plan in advance, making changes along the way is inevitable. Plan to be flexible.

5. You’re allergic to commitment.
When you’re setting SMART goals, make your calendar your new BFF. According to productivity author and Columbia University professor Heidi Grant Halvorson’s  landmark research on goal-setting , deciding in advance when and where to transform your goals into reality can double or triple your success. It’s not only about self-control; it’s about the strategies and plans you put in place to meet your goals. Block out time each week so that you can focus on taking steps to move your goal forward.

Learn How to Accomplish Your Goals
Finally, you can master the art of setting goals by creating a goal to learn how to set goals. Jack Canfield , is launching his free 7-Day Goal Achievement Bootcamp today. The program runs from Monday, January 7, 2019, through Sunday, January 13, 2019. Canfield is an award-winning speaker and an internationally recognized leader in personal development and peak performance strategies, as well as originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series. Click here to register for the course and download Canfield’s Goal Setting Guide

Our goal for 2019 is to remain focused on you and dedicated to your success. Please feel free to call anyone on our team to discuss your 2019 goals at 610-828-1900 (PA) or 732-341-3893 (NJ) with questions. You can also contact me at to help you have your best year ever.

Martin C. McCarthy, CPA, CCIFP
Managing Partner 
McCarthy & Company, PC 

Disclaimer:  This alert is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Information contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used as tax advice, and cannot be used by the recipient to avoid penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code. We strongly advise you to seek professional assistance with respect to your specific issue(s).