Goals: Short-Term vs. Long-Term

Goals: Short-Term vs. Long-Term

Anyone can set goals in life. But sticking at it and actually achieving them is a very different matter…

The Dream Holiday

It’s been a very busy year so far and you need something to look forward to at the end of the summer. What about a nice beach holiday? You will need to save some money, but it’s achievable!

If you’ve realised it or not, you have just set yourself a long-term goal: you want to save money over the next few months. But how do you achieve this?

Stop eating out
Start walking to work
Cut down on the beer and wine (a bit)

The Unhelpful Mate

Your saving starts out really well and you’re on your way to feeling the sand between your toes. But then some unexpected expenses pop up.

It’s your best mate’s birthday at the end of the month and, before you know it, you’ve already agreed to attend a few parties and a meal out.

You hadn’t considered what might crop up in the short-term when setting your long-term holiday goal. But that’s the nature of short- and long-term goals. Your long-term goal of a holiday is not achievable without considering the short term.

Your big goals need to account for those unexpected, but still important, short-term ones. In fact, smaller goals can even give you mini successes that help maintain your motivation as you steam towards the bigger prize (read about that in a previous S4RB blog: Three Simple Steps Which Could Improve Your Supplier Performance).

Back to Work (Minus the Tan)

The modern workplace presents us all with the same fight to the death. We are given the difficult task of trying to balance commitments to a range of different goals.

One of the more difficult balancing acts is trying to achieve our short-term goals without compromising or losing sight of the long-term company vision. The vision for your company or project is set at a very high level, and sometimes your own team goals (monthly or quarterly) can seem to conflict with it.

For example, your team might be asked to run a project to help a customer quickly meet a need within their business. The project is completed on time and hits all its targets. You have a happy customer. But, in the rush to get this short-term project delivered, nobody stopped to think about the larger company goal of growing business with existing customers. The project could have been designed to be run every 6 months, bringing tangible benefits to the customer and serving the company goal of growing business. But it wasn’t.

This is just one of countless possible scenarios that illustrates the importance of considering all your goals when making choices, regardless of whether they are short- or long-term.

It can be a fine balancing act, but taking the time to consider how to approach short-term goals whilst keeping the bigger picture in mind keeps us motivated and on-track to achieve both the goals we have set ourselves, and those set by our company or team.

Darren White
darren.white@s4rb.co.uk
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