When I set my first long-term goal, I had no clue what I was getting into. I was under the impression that setting goals were easy and that there wasn’t much to it.
I was so wrong.
I believe that digging into the finer details of goals is more complex than it seems. There are a lot of moving parts to it. Not to mention there are certain qualities that people might not recognize.
Take short-term and long-term goals. Of course, many people understand these concepts. However, did you know there are certain special qualities that long-term goals have that aren’t so common?
There definitely are, but at the same time, I bet others would ask what’s the point in knowing them, right?
Well understanding these tiny details and qualities is helpful for a few reasons. Not only will you set better quality long-term goals, but also be able to achieve them easier.
Indeed, the special qualities I’ll outline below will help you to better set long-term goals and achieve them. Here they are and why they’re important.
They’re Highly Visual
The first quality of long-term goals is that you’re able to visualize them. While it’s essential to visualize any and all goals, it’s worth noting the degree in which you are visualizing that goal.
For short-term goals, it should be easy. If you’re looking to be healthier in a few years, it’s easy to visualize how to get there. From visualizing healthy foods to exercising on the regular. But for that long-term goal what do you think that you’d visualize?
In this example, most people would say they’d visualize the figure they want. Right?
I’d say that’s a good start. But that’s not enough.
One thing that I’ve been getting into for my long-term goal of being healthy is to visualize everything down to the tiny details.
I visualize what I’m eating and how I’m getting my food.
I’m visualizing the exercises that I’m doing, how many I’m doing, how I’m feeling and more.
Having this quality is important as it makes it obvious what you need to do in order to get there. If you leave nothing to guesswork, you can be clear about what you want to do and what drives you.
They Can Be Written Extensively
On the same note of being highly visual, you also want to be able to write or talk about them extensively. In some cases, this might involve you doing research, maybe even investing in coaches to help you with that goal.
The idea here is that you want to be able to be familiar with concepts. This is essential.
How do you expect to hit your goal if you don’t know anything about the environment surrounding that goal?
I’m not saying you need to write thousands of words around the topic. But you want to be able to understand the ins and outs. This can help you in understanding your emotions and thought process surrounding that topic.
For example, one big focus on my life is my finances and my health.
With health, I spent some time in the past trying different diets, getting a good grasp of my own health and what the industry is talking about health.
I wouldn’t consider myself an expert, but this information has helped in the past in determining where I should put my attention and exactly how I want to go about it.
They Can Be Broken Into Smaller Steps
When you have a lot of clarity about your goals and how they fit into the whole industry, you can then break the goal into smaller steps.
Of course, your long-term goals should be able to be broken into simple and small steps.
But how easy should they be?
I ask this question because the small steps along the way need to be just as inspiring and exciting as the overarching goal itself.
Motivation is a huge issue and with our mindset still growing, people can run into complications. I know for myself I have a tendency to procrastinate. That or sometimes I overthink my issues.
I know I can handle them for sure, but I can’t say that for other people. These little roadblocks can kill any momentum or motivation people have.
So it’s important to break the goal into smaller chunks, but at the same time, have them be challenging and exciting enough.
They’re Impossible To Reach At First
While you’re breaking the long-term goal into smaller steps, one other thing must remain constant:
When you set the long-term goal, it should be impossible for you to reach. At least for the time being.
If you want goals to be challenging, the first thing you need to do is make them force you to change in the first place. Indeed, goals have a tendency of changing people in general. However long-term goals should really make you change for the better.
My two current long-term goals are being able to grow my business to support myself and being physically fit.
While these goals are simple in concept they force me to improve in more ways than I could imagine.
If I want better health, I need to develop my mindset around exercise, being consistent with it and eating the right kind of foods at the right time.
To get better financially, I need to grow my work ethic, curb procrastination and overcome other mental roadblocks.
These requirements push me into doing things that I normally would never do. From waking up every day and exercising on the regular to putting together a solid work schedule and stick to it. It might be small to people looking in, but these are big to me.
My point is a long-term goal needs to challenge your very existence and the habits that you have. It should encourage you to devote more time to a particular habit or help you rearrange your life.
They’re Highly Flexible
The final quality of long-term goals is that they are flexible. This isn’t to say you should be able to change them at will. However, you should be able to be open to the idea of changing how you get to that goal.
This is what I mean by flexibility: changing not the goal but how you achieve it.
Having this open-mindedness can save you a lot from all kinds of problems. I know from my own experiences, having this flexibility has helped me on a number of occasions.
Namely, whenever I felt stuck, or not sure what to do. It’s in this aspect that being familiar with the industry and your environment comes in handy. After all, there are so many options out there if you take the time to look around.
All in all, having the flexibility can help you in achieving your goal as it allows you to not be committed to one single option. For sure, you want to be focusing on one solution at a time. But knowing there are other options can help you in your growth and your journey.
There Is More To Long-Term Goals
Long-term goals are incredibly powerful and essential to our growth. By focusing on short term goals, we can get ourselves lost. Long-term goals are our compass for where we want to go in our lives.
I consider achieving them as the “levelling up” in life. It’s the hard boss at the end of a stage in a video game. You need to have that challenge if you want to be getting anywhere in life.
And understanding these unique qualities will allow you to set better goals.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon