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The Importance of Short-Term Goals

So often, young adults like myself become fixated on achieving their ultimate life goals. So much so that a small setback can easily derail their progress and send them into a downward spiral of self-doubt. We convince ourselves that the path to achieving these goals, whether it be starting a business, owning multiple homes or finding the cure for Alzheimer’s, is straightforward and as such impose a time limit on ourselves. However, the problem with fixating on a long-term goal is exactly that, they are established for the long-term and are thus not likely to be achieved in the near future. Funnily enough, the near future is often the target of our self-imposed deadlines. 

We are consequently left feeling as if we have failed, as we have not managed to succeed in what appeared to be a simple task. I have personally experienced what it is like to lose sight of my goals. I felt lost and all of a sudden my degree was not worth pursuing, as I had no direction. However, the silver lining of my experience was realizing the importance of short-term goals and this knowledge has now become invaluable to both my personal and professional life. 

Short-term goals are bite-sized pieces of your long-term goals. They are small challenges that you set for yourself, which are realistically achievable in the near future and once achieved, will leave you feeling empowered and ready for the next step towards your ultimate goal. I have come to realize that short-term goals enable us to maintain our motivation and lessen the likelihood of becoming discouraged when a spanner is thrown into the works, as is so commonly the case. 

Lastly and I believe most importantly, establishing short-term goals will allow you to celebrate all of your achievements, no matter how minor they may seem. On that note, I shall leave you with the words of Richard Benyo – “Training for a marathon is much like climbing a ladder. Each ring is a short-term goal that must be met in sequence in order to reach the long-term goal at the top of the ladder”.