When you decide to purchase a home, your first thought is probably about how you'll afford it. Between down payments and closing costs, the costs of a new home may feel daunting. You can plan for this purchase by setting SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Here's how you can use SMART goals to purchase a new home.

Specific. Your overall goal is to purchase a home, but you can set smaller goals to make the process feel more attainable. Be specific when setting your sub-goals. For example, you may have a goal of saving $12,000 for a down payment within the next year.

Measurable. Assign a time frame, dollar amount, or other measurable benchmark to each goal so you can track your progress. Ask yourself, "How will I know when I've achieved my goal?" Plan small ways you can reward yourself each time you meet a goal.

Achievable. Make sure you're setting goals you can reasonably achieve. For example, saving $500 each month may be doable, but $2,500 each month may be a stretch. Focus on making continuous improvements over time, rather than all at once.

Relevant. Choose a home-buying goal that aligns with the path you want for your life. For example, if you plan to grow your family in the next few years, you may want to focus on purchasing a bigger home. Know what's important to you, so you can set relevant goals.

Timely. Have a timeline for each SMART goal you set. By knowing the end date, you can focus on the actions it takes to meet your deadline.

Purchasing a house, whether it's your first home or a forever home, is a significant investment. Set SMART goals to make the process feel more achievable. With a little planning, you can start working toward a home purchase today.