Self - July 23, 2018

How To Set Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

Y’all might be thinking it’s a weird time for me to be writing about how to set goals – especially since I just told you I’ve been pretty much failing to do it! But you also know I just like sharing what I learn and I’ve never pretended to be an expert with everything over here.

Since I’ve been feeling pretty aimless I decided I’d research how to set goals – but not just any goal. Because when I started thinking about how to set long-term goals, I wasn’t sure if I should be using the same criteria as I do with short-term goals (like working out every day in a week). So that got me into researching different types of goals, which I wanted to share with y’all!

Short-Term Goals vs Long-Term Goals

Short-term goals are the things you want to achieve in the coming months (some experts say short-term goals are one month goals, some say they’re 6 months goals, some say they’re 12 months goals, WHO REALLY KNOWS). Whereas long-term goals are things that take a little longer to achieve. And I’m sure y’all are thinking “thanks Brighton, I knew that already” but I wanted to cover off on the basics.

Anyways – I’ve been reminded that when it comes to setting goals, it’s important to have a mix of the two. That way you’ve got a longer term vision that’s driving you but you’ve also got specific things you can focus on so that it’s easier to achieve your goals (since it’s so hard to achieve goals when they’re too big and vague). The more research I’ve done the more I can see why I’ve been struggling – I don’t have either at the moment! And I really want to change that.

Use Long-Term Goals To Create Short-Term Goals

I think what sounds the most appealing right now is to create a long-term goal and then use that long-term goal to create smaller, short-term goals. This seems to be the best of both worlds but it also seems to be the most challenging (since I still feel like there’s a MILLION things I want to do).

This should probably go without saying, but it’s also important to make sure y’all are setting goals you actually want to work on. I struggle with people pleasing as much as the next girl but when it comes to your goals, they need to be for you and you only. If you’re struggling with motivation it might be because you don’t even want it in the first place (just saying). Always check in with yourself to make sure your goals are coming from the right place.

1. Create A Vision

This is the hardest step but I have faith that once you’re over this hump the rest will be much easier! Creating a vision starts with braindumping all the things you’d love to do with your life or your business or whatever you want to set a goal for. This is the time to live in fantasy land and to note all areas of your life that you’d like to improve – realistic or not. I love thinking on paper so it definitely helps to get a cute journal out and maybe pour yourself a coffee too, K?

Once you’ve done that, go over what you’ve written down and narrow in on exactly what it is you want to achieve. Get super specific and add any details that’ll make it crystal clear.

2. Make Smaller Goals

Once you’ve got a vision that you want to work towards (I know it’s hard to do y’all but it’ll be worth it!), you can take that vision and break it down into the smaller things that you can focus on that’ll take you one month to one year to achieve. This is really essential otherwise you’ll basically end up getting nothing done!

If y’all are anything like me, chances are that it’s nearly impossible to nail down your vision but I think it’s important not to get too worried about choosing the ‘wrong’ goal otherwise you’ll never choose anything (I should know). Try to come up with one short-term goal that will move you towards your vision (side note: I always find it best to focus on one maximum two goals and make sure they’re done before I move onto the next).

3. Design A System

Once you’ve got your short-term goal, it’s time to implement a system. Most goals fail because they don’t have a specific system. BEEN THERE! In order to meet a goal, you have to set yourself up with steps to get there.

Goals are hard work in many ways (but damn rewarding), so this is the time to start putting systems in place so you won’t give up on your goal. If keeping your word is important to you, tell your friends/family/Facebook feed about your goal and do it often. If your planner is your BFF, schedule reminders. If you’re frugal, invest money into your goal so you’ll feel forced not to waste it.

I know this is a bit of a different approach to having strict deadlines (like a lot of experts say) but sometimes you just have to trust your own experience and I like to think of my goals more like habits. Deadlines are stressful, so I don’t love them for goals. Plus #life! Sometimes things come up and it’s impossible to stick to a deadline. Instead, I find it better to focus on my goals until they become a normal part of life and I don’t get too worried about exactly when they happen.

Here are a few more things about goals I’ve learned as well:

  • Figuring out what’s urgent vs what’s important helps A LOT, the Eisenhower Matrix is perfect for this.
  • Instagram and podcasts are my favorite places to get inspo for goals but it’s important to make sure you don’t end up choosing your goals based on inspiration alone – your goals need to really matter to YOU to be able to achieve them.
  • It feels overwhelming to have too many goals and it feels overwhelming to have no goals at all. Aim for 1-2 at a time.
  • If your goal revolves around productivity, I love the Pomodoro Technique.

Have y’all got short-term and long-term goals?

I’d love to hear in the comments.

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