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

January 21, 2022

No matter if we think of personal or professional life, effective planning and following this plan will bring us forward and help us succeed. That's a fact. A motivating vision is a great thing to have, but you need to break down this journey and create specific, measurable goals to follow the path to get there. This will align your focus and give you the right direction to progress step by step. If you skip this part, you will probably get lost on the way and eventually forget the direction you want to go.

Based on the time, we categorize goals into short and mid-term goals that we set and achieve in a short period, like a week, month, three months to a year, and long-term goals, that we set for at least three years+.

How to define long-term goals?

A long-term goal is something you want to do further in the future. Achieving long-term goals requires some time and planning. We don't set them for next week or next month. They are based on many steps that we need to take and are supported with the short-term and mid-term goals that we will tackle later on.

The most common questions that you should ask yourself when defining long-term goals are: Where do I see myself in 3+ years? What do I want to be, do, feel, think, associated with?

Yes, it's like being on a job interview for some big corporation. But long-term goals are exactly that, you in 5 years from now, ten years from now, etc. Here it would help if you were careful that you don't mix them with your wishes. Goals are something you influence, and with ongoing work, you can achieve them. On the other hand, wishes like winning a lottery are not something that you can control. Well, besides buying your lottery ticket every week and hoping for the win.

It will help if you are clear about the direction we want to go and write your goals down.

Long-term goals examples

Here are some examples of what long-term goals look like:

  • Get a university degree
  • Complete an Ironman Triathlon
  • Buy my dream property in Japan
  • Open my beauty salon
  • Earn my first million $$
  • Turn my hobby into a profitable business
  • Retire with 40 years
  • Become top 2% entrepreneur on earth
  • Enable that anyone can move to Mars

How to define short and mid-term goals?

The next step in the process is to break down your long-term goal and make it more achievable. Saying I want to have my beauty salon in 5 years sounds great, but if you don't break this down into smaller milestones, you will probably not get there because you will not even know where to begin.

Before doing that, you will need to do some research to get a better idea of what it means to have your beauty salon, what does it take to go from where you are now to owning a salon. Once you did your research, you will know more about which steps you need to take to get there. These steps are your short and mid-term goals that work to achieve your dream gradually.

While long-term goals are somehow your dream and idea of where you want to be, the short and mid-term goals are more tangible and measurable. They give you a clear picture of each step that you need to take.

It's essential to write them down, track progress, and make sure that we move in the right direction. To make this as much efficient as possible, we use the OKR methodology. With setting Objectives and Key Results, we can set them systematically, work on them, review and measure regularly and repeat until we complete them. You can get a full list of OKR examples of one of our previous articles.

Short-term goals examples

Here are some examples of how short and mid-term goals should look like:

  • Publish my blog
  • Finish a Social Media growth online course
  • Find and add another income stream
  • Develop MVP (minimum viable product) to test the market
  • Setup and Launch a Youtube channel for my Cosmetic reviews

Achieving your short and mid-term goals will help you reach your long-term goals

Sounds easy, right?😉  Honestly, changing life and somehow unfolding our dreams and ideas that are often forgotten and hidden under the fears and not trusting yourself can be a scary thought. We usually start with problems and give up already because we are afraid that we are not capable enough and will fail anyway.

But seriously, there is no shame in failing if you try going out of your comfort zone; there is no shame to try lining your dream. Many people don't even try.

By systematically setting goals, you can break down your 10-year goal into achievable weekly/monthly goals and work slowly towards it. Using OKRs and setting your Objectives and Key Results is a great start. The process is straightforward and definitely a great way to build a goal-setting process that can work for everyone.

The important thing is that you never forget your ultimate long-term goal; you should always have it in mind to still know the direction you want to follow. When the times are hard, and we feel less motivated, it is good to remind ourselves why we are on this journey and waiting for us when we come there.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Leo Brunnhofer - Weirdo.Rocks