With the New Year just around the corner, the time for declaring some big goals in life is approaching its peak – and some of you might decide it’s the right time to set long-term goals.
But have you ever thought about this question – are long-term goals even worth setting?
As you probably already know, having a goal as a guide by which you’re governing your actions is a good thing to have.
And even though I’m a huge fan of goals, I can’t say the same thing when it comes to long-term ones – and here I want to explain why I believe there are big chances for your long-term goals not to work.
(at least not in its original form)
And by long-term goals, I mean on those that tend to last 1 year or longer.
The most tragic thing with long-term goals (at least in my opinion) is if you end up wasting time.
Your current time.
Not sometime in the future, but the one in which you’re living right now.
You know, you dive so deep into some distant future, where fantasy and possibilities mingle, and you’re making plans for some days which are far to come, brainstorming and strategizing different scenarios, choosing the best options…
Overall, better say – you’re daydreaming.
(not that I have anything against it, but when it comes to efficiency it’s only a waste of time)
The reality is you’re in some form of procrastination and haven’t actually made a single step toward that distant goal of yours.
I really don’t want this scenario to happen to you (or me, or anybody! Well, maybe I’d wish it for my archenemy! 😉 ).
Man plans, and God laughs.
There are reasons why this quote is still vivid, despite its ancientness.
And it especially applies to long-term goals.
I’m sharing my 3 main reasons why I think long-term goals should not be the ones you should focus on.
Reason #1 – Process
The easiest thing is to set a goal.
(although there are certain aspects that do take your time and effort if you want to set the goal the right way)
However, as you know, setting a goal and getting to it are two distinct categories.
(yes… sad, but true.)
As I’ve said, we all start from the same point – by setting a goal.
Then we define its milestones and ways how we can get there.
Finally, by taking specific actions we’re getting closer to achieving it.
This process as a whole is the one that will lead you to (any) success.
And as for any process, it takes time.
Because by default it takes more time to accomplish a long-term goal, the time itself is the biggest reason for not getting to the final point.
However, the mere duration of a goal is not what sets it for disaster by itself.
Underneath what we perceive as time, lies a whole spectrum of other, true reasons for it.
Reason #2 – Change
This reason is only a consequence of the previous one.
Time inserts changes to our lives.
Sometimes smaller, sometimes bigger.
Some are planned, but most are not.
Changes are inevitable.
Changes become a part of our lives as a natural consequence of personal growth, or they may appear out of the blue.
Either way, those changes affect you.
They might affect the way you think, the way you consider what your priorities and needs are (at least in that specific moment), the way you perceive the world around you, the way you value certain life aspects…
Therefore, due to those changed circumstances, your goal might become irrelevant for you to pursue it further.
Reason #3 – Action
Achieving any goal depends upon taking action.
If you merely set a goal and wait for the stars to be perfectly aligned so your goal could be magically accomplished without putting any work into it, you’re in for surprise.
If you want to get something done, you have to make an effort and continuously work on your goal for days and days in a row.
(ok, maybe it’s not absolutely necessary to be in a row, but you get the point)
Are you absolutely confident you will be capable to take action on it for a year (or maybe even longer)?
Will you have the stamina and motivation to go forward despite what might happen?
Are you willing to stand behind your goal all the way through the very end?
These reasons really don’t help long-term goals to be seen as favorable.
However, that doesn’t mean you should completely forget about them.
Having some sort of vision for your future is a great thing.
It keeps you moving forward.
But it shouldn’t be the primary focus of your daily actions.
I suggest acknowledging your long-term goal and then putting it aside.
(no, not to forget about it. just put it aside so it doesn’t distract you from the actions you should be focusing on in the present.)
The way I view this, short-term goals are the ones you should truly work and focus on.
They’ll give you a more precise path of action with more tangible milestones which you’ll reach sooner.
So, despite looking to the distant future, remember we’re all living in now.
Make this moment matter, and what the future brings is yet to be seen.