Both short-term and long-term goals can motivate and inspire us to be more productive and focused. However, at times, it can be difficult to prioritize between them. Therefore, knowing how to prioritize your goal setting adequately is a vital skill that can help you be more successful in your personal and professional life. The first step to prioritizing goals is to identify your short-term and long-term goals.
A short-term goal is one that can be achieved in the relatively near future, like a day, one or more weeks or a couple of months. Some examples of short-term goals are shedding a few pounds, completing a pending work project or securing a top grade on a school exam.
On the other hand, a long-term goal is one that you plan and strive to accomplish over an extended period of time like more than one year, five years or even more. Long-term goals tend to be more meaningful and provide you a greater sense of direction and purpose. Examples of long-term goals include starting a new business or saving for your retirement.
A problem that most people face with long-term goals is the difficulty or challenge to maintain focus and motivation; this is because these goals are far off into the future and take quite a long time to achieve.
It is crucial to strike a balance between long-term and short-term goals. At any one time, you must have a minimum of one long-term goal and one short-term goal. It is important to have long-term goals, but always remember you will have to invest more time to achieve them so that you do not get bogged down or discouraged easily. This is where having a short-term goal helps as it provides you a sense of gratification much sooner.
However, having only short run goals in the absence of long-term ones is not a smart idea either. Without long-term goals to provide you a clear direction and focus down the road, your short-term achievements are not likely to add up to something substantial.
An excellent way to prioritize different goals is to first establish your long-term goals. It will offer you a sense of purpose and direction. Once you have set all your long-term goals, it is time to start setting your short-term goals, especially those that are relevant to the long-term goals. The benefit of short-term goals is that they serve as stepping stones toward the achievement of the long-term goals. They are easier and simpler to attain compared to long-term goals.
If you set and focus on your short-term goals and accomplish them on a timely basis, it will help you gather momentum and motivation toward the achievement of your long-term plans.