Goals come in different lengths; short-term, medium, and long-term. To understand long-term, you also have to know how short and medium-range goals work.
Short-term goals can range from a week to a few months, they are actionable, and you can do them either now or soon. For example, you can plan to create an automated savings account now or next week. Or buy a couch in two days. Short-term goals enable you to take charge of the situation in the now.
Medium goals might take several months to a year. An example would be planning for a promotion, budgeting through the half year while saving 10% of your income, or losing a certain number of Kgs in a year. Most people move to medium-range goals after successfully achieving their short-term goals.
Long-term goals, in most cases, are a product of your short-term goals and reflect the true meaning of life. An example of a long-term goal might be getting your dream job or buying your dream house, both of which aim at improving your life. A long-term goal takes longer to achieve. It could be two, five, or even ten years. Here's why long-term goals are paramount:
Long-term goals are about having a vision of the actual things you would like to achieve at a particular time. They are a big commitment, and the best way to accomplish them is to make them as realistic and practical as possible.
So, before you create a long-term goal, define it and decide if it's something you wholeheartedly believe in. The only way to stay true and stick to long-term goals is if they matter. Also, examine your values and see if they align with your long-term goals.
Say you want to maximise your earning potential or save for retirement. These are realistic long-term goals for which you have to set a time target and commit yourself to achieve them. Any tasks you create should be practical, helping to reach your long-term goals without too much stress.
Finally, the vision you make and set in motion doesn't require much updating or revising because you will have deliberated over it at the very start. Reviewing it now and then implies it may not have been efficient and may cause problems along the way.
When you know what you want and set long-term goals, you are more likely to achieve them.
You might want to use what it takes for final positive outcomes, so you examine your strengths and weaknesses.
If you are short on financial literacy skills, nothing hinders you from acquiring them to achieve your goals, so you strive to attain them. Perhaps you need to improve your earnings, necessitating you to look for a higher-paying job or a side hustle.
Suppose your long-term goal is to save for retirement. You might decide to minimise your expenditure to save more. You might also strictly stick to a budget that helps you track your expenses to help you achieve some of those long-term goals.
Long-term goals shine a light on the type of future you strongly desire and encourage you to go hammer and tongs to accomplish it. To get the best out of your long-term goals, ensure they are specific and measurable. The SMART goal framework couldn't have come at a better time.
SMART is an abbreviation for:
An excellent example of a SMART goal is: “I will settle my Ksh500,000 loan in 2 years by paying a monthly amount of Ksh25,000. To achieve this, I will cut down on eating out four times a week and reduce my weekend entertainment.”
The goal specifies the amount of loan you owe. It is measurable by mentioning how much you will pay monthly and achievable because you can raise the Ksh25,000 monthly. The long-term goal is realistic because you can identify practical ways to increase the monthly payoff. Finally, it's time-bound since you can raise your monthly target and pay the loan within two years.
Read Also: 10 Long-term Financial Goals to Start Today
Long-term success can be progressive and typically leaves a trail. Take the example of someone who's worked their way up building a business from zero to owning an empire. The actionable steps which involve a clear mission and long-term goals are traceable.
The same applies to someone who's grown their career from the bottom, working their way up the career ladder. These individuals know what success looks like from their mentors, have a vision, and prioritize their long-term goals, leading to ultimate success.
Depending on how you visualise your success, the first step would be to list your long-term goals. Next is to execute them, keep measuring your progress as time goes by, and finally determine if they are a success; based on the outcomes.
Proper long-term goals are never random. These are things you mule over and ponder before you can execute them. That is because you have made plans and know exactly where you are heading per your long-term goals.
You also make tangible decisions to which you stick that can help you reach your destination. In this case, the long-term goals function like a compass, directing you and helping you to make only the right choices to accomplish your desires.
Sometimes, however, you might get stuck in confusion if you have more long-term goals that you can effectively handle. Hence you have to prioritise and highlight which ones make more immediate sense in your life.
The trick is to note down all the long-term goals, listing them from top to bottom according to their importance. If you can, specify the time it takes for each of them, and finally, decide which plan deserves your immediate attention to start working on it immediately.
Focusing on urgent long-term goals helps draw attention to what you need to accomplish. Whether they are education, skills, funds/savings, or a better job, you can create mini/ short-term to medium-range goals to help achieve that particular long-term goal.
Prioritising and planning also eliminates the stress that a lack of proper execution decisions causes.
Most people would shudder at sitting down and creating a long-term goal. They wait for that perfect moment that never seems to come. Some of the impediments and natural fears that might prevent you from taking that initial step include:
But once you put it in effect, it's like an electric car is in motion because long-term goals will often give you the push, focus, and energy to do whatever it takes. Since a long-term goal is like that North star that amplifies and shows the way, there is never an excuse not to follow it. You evade all procrastination and stay motivated to see them to the very end as soon as you put them into gear.
Being without long-term goals equals a ship without radar. It's like moving through life clueless. Yet, successful long-term goals depend on some short-term and medium-range goals to finally accomplish.
Finally, long-term goals require commitment, effort, and never luck. It requires you to know the actual desires and create steps, a timeframe, and direction to get to where you want down the road. You can also measure the goals determining if they are achievable or not.