How to Set and Reach Long-Term Goals

Everyone has goals. Good or bad; long-term goals or short-term goals; financial, relational, physical; goals about, careers, families, hobbies, the list is endless. As humans, we’re obsessed with goals. Just think about New Year’s Day and the number of resolutions that are made.

Short-term goals can be a bit easier to attain. They can still be difficult, for sure, but when compared to long-term goals, the farther ahead the goal is, the harder it is to reach.

If you’re honest and ask yourself how many of your goals you meet, where would you fall on the scale? Maybe you meet some goals; maybe you meet no goals. Wherever you fall on that scale, it’s not too late to change or improve the patterns that involve these goals.

We have the keys you need to set and reach your goals for the future. Keep reading to access these essential tips.

What is the difference between short-term and long-term goals?

A long-term goal is something that takes months, even years, to accomplish. Examples of long-term goals include making a board game, becoming debt-free, or writing a book.

A short-term goal can be accomplished this week, this month, or this year. Examples can include designing the cards for your board game, spending less money on leisurely activities, or composing a chapter of a book.

If you look closely, the short-term goals we listed above are directly related to the long-term ones. Without designing cards and creating a board for a board game, the board game will never be finalized. To reach a long-term goal, short-term goals must be met. So, let’s talk about how to set those goals.

How to set goals

Know the difference between goals and hopes

There’s quite a big difference between a hope and a goal. A hope is something that you wish happens to you without any work or care, like winning the lottery. A goal is something you have to envision yourself reaching and how to get there, like earning X amount of dollars in the next five years.

You can hope all you want that you’ll get rich, but it’ll probably never happen. When you set goals, they are concrete things you can genuinely work towards and accomplish.

Identify your goals

Decide precisely what you want to accomplish and in what time frame. Rather than saying, “I want to be skinny” or “I want a house,” decide how many pounds you want to shed in a year and what kind of house you would like to attain in four years. Choose a long-term goal and specify what it is and when it needs to be met for you to feel accomplished.

Writing down your ideas can be helpful in identifying goals. That way, your vision is not simply floating around in your head. With written goals, you’re able to visualize what you’ve done and what’s yet to come.

Make short-term goals

Short-term goals come in handy here as you cannot reach long-term ones without short-term goals in place. Let’s go back to our examples above, losing weight and buying a house. A few short-term goals for losing weight are:

Short term goals for buying a house can be these:

  • Create a savings fund
  • Move out of parent’s basement
  • Meet with a financial advisor

Your short-term goals have to be personalized just for you. And remember, they have to be attainable within days, weeks, and months.

How to reach your set goals

Be flexible

Sometimes life throws things at us that we’re not expecting: an unpredictable job loss, the death of a family member, or a move to a different city. All these can affect our set goals, but don’t let them stop you from the growth you are pursuing.

Instead of giving up, realize you might need to push pause on a specific plan and trade it for another. Sometimes, a goal will just become less meaningful than it used to be and another one might take its place. That’s totally fine. This builds character and strength.

Be celebratory

When trying to reach your future goals, make sure that you remember to celebrate your baby steps. Sometimes our loftier goals can become overwhelming, but if we set milestones and celebrate each one, then reaching those goals can become more exciting. It’s just like getting excited over every new moment our baby has, from the first tooth to the first step to its first word. We celebrate each of those moments. Do the same for every short-term goal you reach that brings you daily closer to meeting your long-term goal.

Be accountable to someone

Let’s face it. Staying motivated to goals can be hard. It’s so easy to give up or be lax at times if we’re doing it alone. That’s why we need people with us on the journey. Find trusted people who know you well and share with them the dreams that you are trying to meet. Meet with them weekly or monthly, depending on your long-term goals. Develop a plan of action for them to help you with achieving your goals. It’s up to you how your accountability plan is framed. But it’s so much easier to accomplish things in life, with supportive, helpful people on our side.

Begin now

You may have no current goals, or you may you have many but are struggling to reach them. Whatever boat you might see yourself in, if you want to make and achieve any long-term goals, the best time to start is right now.

Get a pencil and paper or your laptop and begin brainstorming about what you want to accomplish. List out realistic and specific goals. Get some friends to help you and to keep you accountable.

Goal making and reaching can seem overwhelming, but when you put our tips into action, it’ll make the process so much easier and fulfilling. We’re here too if you have any questions or needs in this process of reaching your future goals. Reach out to us at any time.

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