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Goals: What are they? Part 3

Robert DeCrescentis

Part 3 will examine what are long and short term goals and a conclusion to the series. We strongly recommend you reading through parts 1 & 2 first so that you can receive an intro on how to set goals.

Long term goals versus short term goals

When you set a goal, you must think about whether it is for the long term or short term. Most long term goals have results that tangible for the period of time you spend on it (or the future). Short term goals have results for the present time. Let me give the analogy of investing. When individuals invest, they invest into the long or short term (depending on what their goal is). If you invest in the long term, then your reward will appear in the future and will multiply for that period. If you invest in the short term, your reward will be for a short period of time. If you have a goal that focuses on the short term, you will not have it for the future. That is why it is important to figure out what your goal is and get started with that. Here is the caveat, to get to your long term goal (if that is what you are aiming for) you must have smaller, more tangible goals (short term goals) along the way to get you to the end result.

Lewis explains:

First, set achievable short-term goals. Second, make the short-term goals as clear as possible. Third, relate the goals to the major company long-range plans (if you are an employer or employee working for an employer). Fourth, keep time frames short, preferably less than 18 months.

Another thing is you must not cloud the long term with too many short term goals that you lose focus of the long term outcome. For example, if you are in school and in need of work, the job you need now will help you with your bills right now and will not help you toward your long term outcome. The short term in this example is getting income that is immediate so you can stay afloat to stay in school and work toward the long term outcome. If you focus too much on the short term goal, then your long term eventually will not exist; then you have an issue. Then you will be focusing on a bunch of short term goals with no result and you will get burned out. You do not want that and neither do I. Stay on track and think long term.

We live in a society where everything must be done right this minute in order to get it in our hands. There are several issues with that mindset. First, desperation sets in and you will focus on the short term more than the long term. Second, having a long term goal is not in the picture because you are too focused on getting what you need done right here right now. Third, impatience kicks in and you will do absolutely anything to get that short term goal accomplished that frustration will set it, then nothing gets done. If you have fallen into this, then the only way to get out is back up and start over. A long term goal takes time and determination to get to and it will not come overnight.

Bashir et al explains:

Although individuals must act today to achieve many long-term, collective future goals, they often consider such goals to be temporally remote concerns that do not require immediate action...Individuals may be slow to pursue remote future goals in part because the objective temporal distance of these goals reduces goal-pursuit motivation. Indeed, individuals discount future outcomes are less motivated to achieve or avert them when these outcomes are objectively distant in time. Furthermore, individuals’ construals of temporally remote goals undermine their goal-pursuit motivation.

As Bashir explained, some individuals do not do future outcomes because of the lack of motivation due to the goal being distant in time. Be motivated and encouraged to move forward with your goal. In fact, have an accountability partner to help you achieve your goal. The worst thing is to get frustrated and place it on the back burner because you do not have resources or it takes longer than you expected. If you have proper support and people who are on-board with your goal, then you will conquer the outcome.

A side note, if you are associating yourself with people who bring you down constantly, get rid of them. They do not belong in your life. Now, you can love and pray for them, and hope that they change their heart in order for them to become positive. However, the constant negativity does not belong. Positive thinking does belong and that is what you need in order to accomplish your long-term goal with tangible rewards. Negativity creates stress and that is the last thing you need to move forward in your goal.

Boyraz explains:

One factor that may help to prevent stress-induced erosion of meaning is positive automatic thoughts (PATs). In cognitive theories, the PATs and negative automatic thoughts that arise when deep beliefs (also termed schemata) are activated by stressful events affect stress-related coping and adaptation... In contrast to thoughts, beliefs generally take an if–then form (e.g., ‘‘If everybody likes me, it means I’m a good person’’) and tend to remain at preconscious or unconscious levels, although they can be accessed with psychotherapy and practice.

Therefore, it is extremely important to have positive thinking when pursuing a goal because that thinking will help you be motivated to reach the next level. Slow down, think positive, stay away from negative people and thinking, and you will be ok. Do this first before even thinking about your goal.


Starting your goals is the first step to success. As stated above, doing proper research is extremely important to complete goal success. You must have some sort of a blueprint to move forward with your goals. After you done your research, then it is ok to write down your goal. Writing down your goal will create accountability and discipline to move forward and get started. As I stated above and will state again, stay away from the negativity and people who act as downers in your life. If you listen to their negativity, you will not be successful in reaching and completing your goals. If you surround yourself with positive and encouraging individuals who care about what you are doing and want to see you succeed, then you are on the right track. A proper support group of individuals who care will help you tremendously.

If you have followed my advice in this blog, then please move forward to the next one. The next blog in the series is titled: Goal follow through: The approach that matters the most! If you are not ready and have not followed the advice to its full extent, then read and re-read this until you have mastered each technique. You are better off making the proper preparations before moving forward to the next step. If you are a individual who likes to skip steps and see results, then this blog series is not for you. Following the system step-by-step will help you get on the way to success.

Most "impossible" goals can be met simply by breaking them down into bite size chunks, writing them down, believing them, and then going full speed ahead as if they were routine. - Don Lancaster


Bashir, Nadia Y., Anne E. Wilson, Penelope Lockwood, Alison L. Chasteen, and Susan Alisat. "The Time for Action is Now: Subjective Temporal Proximity Enhances Pursuit of Remote-Future Goals." Social Cognition 32, no. 1: 83-93. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost. 2014.

Boyraz, Güler and Owen Richard Jr. Lightsey, "Can positive thinking help? Positive automatic thoughts as moderators of the stress–meaning relationship." American Journal Of Orthopsychiatry 82, no. 2: 267277. PsycARTICLES, EBSCOhost. 2012.

Erez, Miriam and Frederick H. Kanfer. "The Role of Goal Acceptance in Goal Setting and Task Performance." Academy Of Management Review 8, no. 3: 454-463. Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost. 1983.

JOHNSON, STEFANIE K., LAUREN L. GARRISON, GINA HERNEZ-BROOME, JOHN W. FLEENOR, and JUDITH L. STEED, "Go For the Goal(s): Relationship Between Goal Setting and Transfer of Training Following Leadership Development." Academy Of Management Learning & Education 11, no. 4: 555-569. Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost. 2012.

Lewis, Brian J. "Set Short-Term Goals Within the Long Term." Journal Of Management In Engineering 14, no. 6: 8. Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost. 1998.

Presslee, Adam, Thomas W. Vance, and R. Alan Webb, "The Effects of Reward Type on Employee Goal Setting, Goal Commitment, and Performance." Accounting Review 88, no. 5: 1805-1831. Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost. 2013.

Seijts, Gerard H., Gary P. Latham, Kevin Tasa, and Brandon W. Latham. "GOAL SETTING AND GOAL ORIENTATION: AN INTEGRATION OF TWO DIFFERENT YET RELATED LITERATURES." Academy Of Management Journal 47, no. 2: 227-239. Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost. 2004.

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