Has anyone ever asked you what your long term goals are?
How did you respond? Did you blurt out the first thing that came to mind? Name a childhood ambition you still hold dear? Or were you lost for words?
Many of us don’t know how to respond or react when asked about our long term goals. Perhaps we’re too shy to voice the aspirations closest to our hearts. Or perhaps we haven’t really thought about it in much detail.
We want to tell you a little more about long term goals and how they can inspire you to go out into the world and do incredible things.
What Are Long Term Goals?
First, let’s explore what long term goals are. Simply put, long term goals are goals you envision for your future. These are not things that can be accomplished today, tomorrow, or even in a week or month’s time.
Long term goals are often made up of one or more of the following:
- Careful planning
- Hard work
Long term goals aren’t easily accomplished. They require a careful balance of planning and perseverance.
What Are Some Long Term Goal Examples?
Long term goals come in many shapes and forms! What appeals to one person may not appeal to the other. The reasons we possess for pursuing our goals are unique and individual to each and every one of us.
But here are a few examples of long term goals you or someone you know might have:
- Start a family
- Buy a house
- Go on vacation
- Pursue higher education
- Increase your level of fitness
- Start a business
- Pursue a new career path
- Go abroad
- Learn a new skill or trade
Goals like these cannot be attained overnight. They require application and dedication to see them through to the end.
Long term goals are exciting to contemplate. But the practical reality of planning and managing the path to achieving a long term goal can be daunting.
That’s where the importance of short term goals comes into play.
Short Term Goals — What Are They and Why Are They Necessary?
When planning the execution of a long term goal, it helps to break the process down into small, bite-sized chunks called milestones.
Milestones, or short term goals, help you track your progress and give you a sense of accomplishment as you work toward a larger, long term goal.
When a long term goal takes years to accomplish, it can be easy to feel discouraged and lose your momentum. When the gratification that awaits is set far into the future, it’s difficult to stay steadfast and devoted to the task.
That’s why we need short term goals. They help remind us of exactly what we’re working toward and why. They keep us focused and reward us with a sense of achievement along the way.
Short Term versus Long Term Goals — What’s the Difference?
Short term goals and long term goals may point you in the same direction, but they’re quite different from one another.
You can use the smaller milestones of short term goals to build toward your larger, long term goal.
Here’s a handy example to illustrate how short term goals support long term goals:
Say you’re working toward a certification, diploma, or degree in higher education. Obtaining these credentials is no easy feat, and may take several years to achieve. So, we could safely label this goal a long term goal.
As you work toward this long term goal in higher education, there will be many short term goals you complete along the way. These short term goals help keep you focused and on track to achieve your larger aspiration.
For example, each course you complete could be considered a short term goal. For each credit that you earn, you are moving a step closer to your long term goal.
In fact, you can even break short term goals into even small subsections of short term goals!
Each course or credit can be divided into papers, assignments, tests, and exams. These are also short term goals, all helping you build the ladder, rung by rung, toward finishing the credit, the course, and eventually, your certification.
Here is a quick video of Vishen Lakhiani discussing how to redefine setting goals.The more opinions and advice, the merrier; he is a brilliant man.
Long Term Goals for Success and Personal Growth
“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.”
Having professional long term goals is important. Perhaps you’d like a raise or a promotion. Maybe there’s a special project you’re hoping to be able to work on. Having short and long term goals in our professional lives helps us stay motivated at work; and that’s important, considering many of us need to work to support ourselves!
Cultivating personal goals is perhaps even more important.
Think back to when you were a child. What did you want to be when you grew up? What matters isn’t whether or not you became what the childhood you wanted you to be. What matters is that when you were younger, you looked at your future with a sense of excitement, possibility, and wonder.
We must recapture this magic, this idealism, this hunger for more. It’s never too late to do something. Are there aspirations you once held that you’ve let go of?
You can begin putting things in motion that set you on the path to your ambitions today.
Long Term Goals to Inspire You
If you can’t conjure up any of your old childhood daydreams, don’t worry. Our ideas and perceptions shift as we get older, and what we once wanted when we were young may simply not appeal to us now.
But there are personal long term goals you can achieve. You have to be willing to open yourself up to the possibilities that surround you. Dare to dream bigger and larger than you ever have before.
Here are some possible long term goals to get your creative passions flowing:
1. Travel Somewhere Awe-Inspiring
By awe-inspiring, we don’t just mean a weekend road-trip to someplace local. We mean plan an adventure that has the potential to change your life.
Visit a religious or spiritual center like the Vatican, Jerusalem, the Taj Mahal, or Mecca. Go on a trip that will challenge you physically, like a trek to the Peruvian citadel of Machu Picchu, or a tour of the sweeping fjords of Norway.
Explore a culture you’ve always been fascinated by. Learn about a place you’ve never been. Decide where you want to go, and set it in motion.
2. Develop Your Craft
What is it that you love to do? What do you wish you had more time to pursue? Perhaps you have a skill or craft you’ve long been invested in. Or perhaps there’s something new you’ve been longing to learn.
Set aside time on a regular basis to dedicate to your craft. Paint, write, take photos, carve, build, play, learn, explore.
Set a personal milestone for yourself so you have something to work towards. Decide how to get to where you want to be.
3. Do Something Daring
We’ve begun to verge into bucket list territory, but that’s okay. Because doing things that inspire and excite you will only feed the flames of your ambitions.
Ever thought of sky diving? How about learning to fly a plane? Does scuba diving sound like a thrill?
Here are a few ideas you could pursue:
- Bungee jumping
- Ride a hot air balloon
- Ride in a helicopter
- Go white-water rafting
- Learn to ski
- Go kayaking
Do these ideas sound wild? Intimidating? Out of reach? That’s the point! But you may surprise yourself with just how close they truly are.
What long term goals would you like to pursue? What strategies do you use to keep yourself motivated? Tell us in the comments below!