A young man sitting on a bench and writing down his long-term goals.

Photo Credit: Pexels, Keira Burton

Make Sure You Set Long-Term Goals

It can be easy to overfocus on the present and ignore the future. At times, it’s genuinely helpful. Even necessary. But not always. When it comes to setting goals to achieve success, the importance of long-term goals should never be overlooked.

Long-term goals impact the route by marking the destination

If life is a journey, short-term goals help determine the specific steps taken. In looking down and focusing on each one, you can make sure every step is precise. You can make sure you avoid stepping in dog feces. But if you’re only looking down, you can also walk into a tree branch. Or miss the pedestrian signals at a crosswalk and get hit by a car. Worse, you could be going the wrong way…and never know it.

While you also shouldn’t only look up, you need to raise your eyes on a regular basis. You need to see the bigger picture, not just every brushstroke. And the most important part of the bigger picture is where you’re going. Every so often, you need to look up and mark your desired destination to ensure you’re going the right way. That’s what long-term goals help with. Long-term goals mark the desired destination.

This is pivotal to holistic goal setting. Because, as with a GPS, the desired destination should determine the route. Not the other way around.

Short-term goals can lead to your long-term goals. Emphasis on can. It’s not an automatic. If they’re not driving to long-term goals, short-term goals can pull you one direction and then the other, allowing you to make scattered progress along miscellaneous routes leading to who knows where. Possibly nowhere. Possibly somewhere. But likely the wrong where.

To ensure you take a route to where you want to go, you need to know where you want to go. Simple as that. So, before you make more short-term goals, be sure to set or review your long-term goals. Be sure you know your desired destination.

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