We’re going to discuss thinking about the future by reflecting on our yearly and monthly plans.
People don’t think long-term. Whether it’s the poorly thought out economic plans or the blow-back from military campaigns, society and governments are built on the idea of ignoring the future consequences of bad decisions.
However, we are not people. We are individuals. Because of this, we have to think critically about our long-term goals and what we wish to achieve.
Having power over one’s life consists of thinking about your future. From financial independence to relationship stability, consistent planning allows us to build the frameworks that contribute to a better tomorrow.
Be Aware of Yourself
Be aware of yourself, your responsibilities, and your life as it currently is. Long-term goals can help you map out where you’d like to be in a few years. However, it’s easy to get caught up in the romanticizing.
For example, I can set a long-term aim to receive my bachelor’s degree within three years instead of four. However, I may fail to acknowledge my current finances, my job and it’s potential, my family’s needs, my limitations (like my love of sleep), and more when creating this aim.
If I set a purpose without respect to my current life state than I’m destined for failure; it is prudent to establish goals that enable me to start pursuing my bachelor’s degree instead of immediately going for my bachelor’s degree.
So, I would create a financial plan, then scale back on my job while enrolling in school, then spend the next three years trying to graduate.
Awareness of our current situation is crucial to ensuring our success at the long-term goals we set.
Elements of Long-Term Goals
Set goals that scare you – The reduction of comfort is the only way to increase greatness. As we step away from the easy and familiar, we’re always forced to adapt to what improves us. Therefore, we should always seek to set goals that seem impossible or impassable and then passionately attempt to accomplish them anyway.
I’m not saying shoot for the impossible. “Create a time machine” is not a worthwhile aim. However, “obtain a bachelor’s degree in three years” is doable yet is a difficult task. However, while pursuing this goal, we’ll discover ways to adjust and grow which means, even if we fail, we succeed in pushing our limits.
Point to your life goals – Life purposes and legacies are important because they serve as the blueprint for the rest of your life. With long-term ends, you’re defining the plans that will enable you to reach those life goals.
If your focuses aren’t related to your life aims or are contradictory, then you will become aimless and lost. Therefore, we must always reflect on what enables us to succeed in our life purposes.
Measurable and concrete – It’s crucial to avoid abstraction. Define what you’re doing and have a deep understanding as to why you’re doing it.
Take “master writing in two years,” as an example. Maybe mastering writing means writing 4000 words a day. Or perhaps it means receiving a certain number of awards or recognition. Whatever the case may be, it is crucial that objectives are measurable and concrete so we can understand when we’ve succeeded or failed.
Avoid negativity – Try to prevent yourself from setting “avoid” goals. For example, “I will avoid being lazy” is less effective than “I will go to the gym.”
Avoidance goals set a negative mindset and prevent us from radically practicing gratitude. Additionally, we need to establish a proactive mindset, not a reactive one. Negativity breeds a responsive attitude that prevents us from proactively improving our lives.
Remain flexible – Life offers many upsets. Thus, it’s crucial that we’re able to respond. Similar to life aims, long-term goals should have virtues baked into them, so we’re pursuing larger ideals.
When we need to make changes, acknowledge why the change must be made and be honest that the change is necessary. Never give up on a goal because of personal weakness – always back down if, for example, the loss of a job radically changes your financial situation. From there, be proactive and figure out ways to never have to change your goals again.
If your original long-term aims change, that’s okay. For example, securing financial security may be more important than receiving a bachelor’s degree at this moment in your life – even if the bachelor’s degree is related to your life aim.
Lastly, it’s essential to return to your original long-term goals (such as obtaining the bachelor’s degree) if you’ve had to abandon them.
Personally, many of my objectives at the moment are focused on financial stability. However, once I reach the security I need, I will maintain it, so I won’t have to adjust my life in such a way again. With financial stability secured, I can return to my original long-term intentions that deal directly with my life goals.
Keep it simple – Your long-term goals should be simple and few. For example, you don’t want to have a 10-year plan, a 5-year plan, followed by a nuanced analysis of the activity in the months of February and April within your 4-year plan, and so forth.
Complicating things will ensure you’ll feel overwhelmed and eventually forget about them. It’s important to keep things straightforward and simple to help ensure your success.
Life goals are the blueprint of your life that help you understand where your actions and efforts should point. With this in mind, you have to look at your life currently then set long-term goals to help fulfill your life purpose.
I’d say set yearly objectives first and only start with a few. From there, plan out your month and see what you can do to reach those annual goals.
It’s crucial to plot your long-term ends based on what your life goals are. Failure to be aware of what you want to do with your life can lead to anxiety and aimlessness.
Lastly, never be afraid to push yourself. Individuals are made for greatness, not comfort. Always push your limits so you can achieve your life’s purpose.
- What long-term goals do you currently have? Why are those your goals? Do they point to your life purposes?
- Are there any long-term goals that you’ve repeatedly set but have always failed at? Why have you failed at them and what do you plan to do to change that?
- Are you in the habit of setting multi-year goals or monthly goals? Do you feel you may think too far ahead or not far enough?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash