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By Bakari Akil II Ph.D. (December 16, 2007)
It is great to have long term goals. The type of goals where all of the ultimate outcomes you desire become a reality. Long term goals is the fuel that inspires and helps you to maintain focus while you go through your daily, monthly and yearly regimens.
However, what happens in the meantime? How do you remain steadfast and not become disillusioned due to the time required to achieve your objectives? Further, how do you make sure you don’t pawn your happiness and satisfaction in the present for a goal in the future?
A good way to insure that this does not occur is to set short and mid-term goals. Now, what time frame you set for your short and mid-term goals will be determined by what outcomes you are seeking. A college student at the beginning of a semester may have a long term goal of graduating from a certain class. Short term goals would be to pass a quiz, achieve an A on a paper or ’ace’ the first exam. However, if the college student’s long term goal was to graduate from college, then perhaps a short term goal would be to successfully pass the first year or to obtain a scholarship available to students who make the Dean’s List. Regardless of the perspective on time, short and long term goals can be interspersed in almost any plan.
Of course, in order to achieve any goal a comprehensive plan should be developed in order to understand what steps need to be taken along the way. By creating a comprehensive plan, short term and mid-term goals will become apparent.
A short term goal helps a person accomplish a few things. First, it allows you to see a definite finish line, early in the process. This serves as motivation. Second, it allows you to feel the excitement and satisfaction of accomplishing a step toward your goal. It also lets you measure your development, which will demonstrate to you that you are in the process of becoming or achieving what you desire. Being able to reach short term goals also lets you know that you can relax and concentrate on other aspects of your life as well because your plan, is going according to plan. A short term goal also prepares you for the next stage of your quest, which leads to your mid-term goals.
Mid-term goals are important to your psyche because it further allows you to see that your efforts have not been in vain. They serve as an evaluative tool to further chronicle your development and let you know that you are on the right path. By reaching a mid-term goal, the one who achieves it can further relax and be secure in the fact that they are close to their anticipated outcome.
However, none of the benefits of the short and mid-term goals are possible without defining them before your quest begins. Not setting these goals can result in a lack of focus, becoming unmotivated and even over-concentrating on the future without focusing on the present. If short and mid-range goals are defined then results can be measured, motivation can be maintained and the person can relax and concentrate on other things; such as health, relationships and other pertinent matters.
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