Taking the Fear Out of Setting Goals

Goal setting – we often hear how important it is to set goals for ourselves. What do we want to do with our life? How will we plan for it? How will we finance our next vacation? These are all good questions that can only be effectively answered by setting a goal.

To many people, however, the idea of setting some big goal is a bit intimidating. Rest assured, you can set big goals for your life, and still be peaceful. The secret is found in the answer to the question, “how do you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time.

When it comes to setting those big scary goals, the answer is to set a number of short term goals to achieve your long term result. Think of it like an investment.

Invest In Yourself


Investing in yourself is important, because you are ultimately the person you will have to spend the rest of your life with. And part of investing in yourself, is learning to set, and achieve, both long and short term goals. Everyone understands the long term goals – buy a house, go to college, get in good physical shape.

Short term goals are often looked down upon because people may think you aren’t trying hard enough, selling yourself short, or striving for your ultimate success. Don’t listen to the critics!  You know that this isn’t true, short term goals are actually a crucial part to achieving the long term goals that will eventually bring you success.

How Long Should Short Term Goals Be?

When considering setting short term goals for yourself, it’s important to consider the length of your goals. And there is no right answer to this question, rather the length of time depends on how you know yourself to perform best. Some people who have short attention spans do better with daily, or even weekly goals.

If you don’t have a hard time staying on the path to success, you might want to aim for a few monthly goals, with some which extend a bit longer. As a rule, any goal with a completion time of over one year is generally considered a long-term goal, but use your own judgement.

Make Them Specific

Just because a goal is short term does not mean you can be less specific than you are with your long-term goals. You should lay out your short-term goals in the same way you lay out your long-term ones, with details, plans for when things go wrong, and milestones along the way.  Let your long term goal be the result of the compilation of your short term goals.

Chances are you won’t need milestones for a daily goal, but they still can be implied if needed. For example, if your goal is to walk 10,000 steps per day, you could have a milestone of hitting 5,000 steps before lunch. No matter what your short-term goals may be, make sure you write them down in specifics, and track your progress in them as you go.

Why Short-Term Goals?

People often tend to spend most of their time focusing on the long-term goals. Which is fine, except when something goes wrong with these long-term goals, they are easily dissuaded and may even let the goal go at the slightest bump in the road.

This is because short term goals, especially those which lead to your long-term goals, help keep you motivated and serve as markers on the path to your dreams. That way when difficulties arrive, you don’t feel as a set back because you can see exactly how far you have come.

Let’s look at a fun example of how short term goals can be broken down to achieve one of your long-term goals. For instance, if you want to become a professional musician, short term milestones could be writing your own songs, recording an album, playing a show, opening a show for a bigger name band, until you finally reach your ultimate goal of being a headliner for a show. Just breaking this goal down made it more attainable, because you are certainly able to write your own songs without anyone else’s input, and you can start that right now.

Although it make take some time for others to see your same vision, it is something you can be actively working towards instead of just sitting around and hoping you are one day discovered as an amazing singer.

Don’t Give Up!

Some people might try to tell you that short term goals are pointless, when, in fact, the complete opposite is true. A crucial part of investing in yourself as a person comes when you set short term goals. This is because if you set these goals properly, and make them specific, they will eventually lead you towards achieving your ultimate goal in life, no matter what that goal may be.

Consider the legacy you want to leave on this planet, then go for it!  With short and long term goals, you already have everything you need to do it.

Find your purpose – find your joy!

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