We are disciplined traders at OptionsAnimal. We educate students on how to apply leverage through the use of Options while managing portfolio RISK. The curriculum not only provides an in depth education about options behavior, but also a blueprint from which to build trading activities into a strong business.
Its’ traditional to consider RESOLUTIONS for the New Year, those activities that will make us healthier, wealthier, and happier. This is the perfect time to begin to apply something that is taught in OptionsAnimal’s class on Portfolio Management – Goal Setting. Where do you start?
There is an acronym that serves as a guide to setting SMART goals.
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Realistic
T = Timely
Anyone without experience in applying the process may not know where to start. I offer the following example as one application of the SMART goal setting method. This method can be applied to guide you in getting anything you want out of life, whether for personal fulfillment or career advancement.
S= Specific (Make this as a definite statement, not a “wish.”) I will graduate from Options Animal by December 31, 2011.
M = The statement above is measurable. You will either have the certificate by that date or not.
A = This is attainable, as many others have proven.
R = This is realistic, as enough time has been built into the goal to make it realistic.
T = It has been given a deadline, and not been left open ended.
Now the goal has been set. But, there is still much more to do. First consider what steps must be taken to reach the overall goal.
Perhaps you are currently at Level 5 in the curriculum. You have 12 months to complete levels 5, 6, 7, and 8. Then you must meet the requirements for graduation. The graduate candidate seminar is offered once a month. Perhaps target November for participation in that to ensure that your deadline is met. If 2 months are needed to assemble the completed documents for graduation, the levels should be completed by September. That really gives eight to nine months to learn and digest the lessons in levels 5, 6, 7 and 8. Given the time frame you established, you can comfortably spend two months on each level.
Now you have a vision of how you’ll reach your goal. You’re still not finished! What intermediate steps are required to measure your progress? The level examinations are a good measuring stick for your intermediate progress.
Intermediate Goal: I will graduate from level 5 on, or before February 15, 2011.
a.) I’ll attend each level 5 class once by January 20, 2011.
b.) I’ll take the level 5 exam during the fourth weekend of January to determine weakness that requires more study.
c.) I’l l spend the next three weeks studying that material.
d.) I’ll re-take the exam by February 15th and pass with a 90% or better score.
Now that you see how to break every step down into smaller, measurable, attainable, reasonable and timely goals, you’ll be able to create your PLAN. (I’ve provided a starting point. It needs to be completed through each level and graduate requirement.) You know that if you had stopped after identifying the GOAL, you may not have looked at it again until next fall, then you’d wonder why you didn’t achieve it.
This is really no different than the trading plan that is constructed before each trade, identifying primary and secondary exits. The key is the discipline to flesh it out and put it on paper. Yes….
WRITE IT DOWN AND KEEP IT CLOSE! This is a blueprint for your daily, weekly, and monthly activities. It is your working document that should be handy, not filed away to review later. Make 2011 your BEST year yet! Achieve your goals!