Without clearly defined goals, it’s impossible to reach your full potential and make the progress you’re capable of. In our last blog, we discussed the importance of having an effective goal-setting process, but what kind of goals and deadlines should you set yourself?

Most people are familiar with the concept of short and long-term goals, but there are a lot of conflicting ideas about both definitions. Are monthly goals short-term? Are your targets for the year ahead classed as long-term objectives? It can be difficult to make a clear distinction between the two types, which then impacts your ability to set clearly defined goals.

Think of short-term goals as stepping stones or enablers that will clear the path ahead and provide the motivation needed to realise your long-term vision. Like a winning mentality, you must get into the habit of achieving your goals, building momentum that will propel you forward and speed up your development.

Goal setting is a lot like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Therefore, consistently achieving your short-term targets will stand you in good stead to push forward and achieve the bigger, long-term objectives later down the line.

Effective short-term goals

When you’re outlining a set of short-term goals, it’s important to keep one eye on the long-term vision, so your current activity aligns with where you want to go. If you’re managing a large team of people, then smaller goals work well as regular checkpoints, ensuring everyone is pulling in the same direction.

In terms of time frame, it is helpful to set weekly goals to ensure client work is completed on time, whilst allowing everyone to experience a sense of progress and success. It’s encouraging for your workers to feel a regular sense of accomplishment, as it will inspire and motivate them to keep striving for more.

There’s often a misconception that achieving your goals involves a lot of hard work, which in turn puts people off before they’ve even started. However, some short-term goals should be fun and enjoyable, as this offers variety to the process, whilst boosting the morale of your workforce who will develop a positive attitude towards goal setting.

As previously mentioned, these short-term targets should make the journey to success more efficient by clearing the path and removing any obstacles along the way. By planning your route accordingly, you will have a better idea of which short-term goals to set and the deadlines attached to them.

Long-term achievements

In contrast, your long-term goals tie into the wider vision of the business and are usually milestone achievements that you reach over a long period of time. Rather than small, work-related successes, long-term goals are significant developmental accomplishments, like a promotion or increased business revenue.

These types of achievements have a major impact on our daily lives, offering a sense of achievement and satisfaction that is difficult to describe. Without having clearly defined long-term goals, people will eventually lose interest in their work and drift off course with no incentives to steer them in the right direction.

To accomplish these long-term goals, you must have a clear strategy for completing the short-term objectives along the way. With each checkpoint you reach, the finish line becomes much clearer, providing the fuel and motivation needed to reach your destination.

Remember, as important as it might be to ‘dream big’ and detail plans for a successful future, you must remain committed to achieving your short-term goals even in difficult periods, inspiring your colleagues to embark on the journey with you.