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What’s More Valuable: Short or Long Term Goals?

long term goalsWe usher in October tomorrow which means that 2013 is rapidly coming to an end. Remember all those New Year’s resolutions you swore would be accomplished this year? How did those short and long term goals pan out?

Most likely you accomplished some and dropped some. That’s the norm for most of us. I’ve been able to finish two short term goals and two long term goals so far this year. I postponed one to be completed in 2014. The only long term goals I have left for this year concerns my running.

Goals give us targets to shoot for and assist us in moving forward in life areas that we feel need improvement. When they are written properly, they serve to keep us focused and motivated. When accomplished, they give us an incredible boost of confidence and spur us on to create greater ones. I love the feeling of winning with my goals.

Bringing my goals into the public eye this year via this blog has been an interesting experience. It’s helped me develop a clearer understanding of goals and their importance in my life. Most notably, I’ve realized the need to establish a balance between goals that can be accomplished quick and those that will take some more time. Both types have value, bringing unique things into my life.

The Value of Short Term Goals

I define short term goals as those that can be accomplished in six months or less. They are like the appetizers that serve as a quick meal to curb the goal-setting rumblings that routinely pop up in our soul. Short-term goals can be intense but in general, they are easier to accomplish and require less effort than than long term goals

Their real value lies in these qualities:

1. They take less time to plan.

2. They give us frequent boosts of confidence as we achieve them.

3. Often times, they serve as the foundation for the accomplishment of larger goals.

Everyone needs a steady diet of short term goals they can pound out. I’ve become increasingly convinced to make them more of a staple in the future. Our minds have difficulty sticking with goals that require years of effort. Being overloaded with only long term goals might set us up for too many failures and bring on discouragement.


We have been blessed with a unique human ability – the ability to dream. Dreams are all about the future, most often our distant future. It’s through our dreaming that our long-term goals find staying power.

The Value of Long Term Goals

So, you want a more secure financial future? Money for retirement? Kids that graduate from college? That second home in the mountains? A lasting marriage? These don’t happen overnight. They definitely fall into the category of long term goals

Long term goals create huge challenges. They are complicated, with many moving parts and adjustments that must be made along the way. Reaching these requires the deepest levels of commitment.

Their real value lies in these qualities:

1. They force us to develop intensive discipline.

2. They develop humility in our lives (because so many people help us along the way).

3. They keep our mind dreaming as we envision finally getting to the end result.

Of all the goals I’ve reached, the long term goals bring the most satisfaction. They require so much effort it’s impossible to not feel intensely gratified – and proud – and relieved – and a host of other emotions when you reach them. That’s why I’ll always have a few of these on my goals list.

If creating goals has never excited you, then I urge you to try it out today. Read this post to learn how to create them and this post for suggestions on what areas of your life to focus on. Begin with several short term goals and then progress to a longer one. You will find always moving towards a goal brings purpose and focus to your life.

Questions: I’d like to know, do you focus more on short or long term goals? What other value do you see in each of them? What goals have you completed recently that you are proud of?


Now, for an abbreviated September goals update. I’ll only focus on those I have remaining for the year.

Goal: Read one book a month.

Failed. This is the second month in a row I failed here and I’m really frustrated by it. I need to implement some new procedures in my life if this is going to happen in October.

Goal: To support Mrs. Luke1428 as she obtains her MBA by December, 2013

Almost done here. The last assignments are turned in by October 11th.

Goal: To run a full marathon in under 4 hours and run 1,000 miles for the year.

My run total for September was 138 miles as I prep for the Baltimore Marathon on Oct. 12th.

For the year I have run a total of 798 miles. (I really can’t believe that.)

Goal – Blog Related:

Guest post at least once per month. It wasn’t a full-fledge guest post but I did write a 200+ word excerpt for Fearless Dollar as they kicked off their new site. I had a lot of fun helping with that.

Submit an article to a blog carnival twice a month. Completed.

Comment on a Yakezie article or in the forums once a week. Failed…only due to lack of time, not lack of interest.

That’s it for now. Have a great Monday!

Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Next Post: When Conviction Trumps Value

Prior Post: A Trick to Staying Motivated

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  1. Nice post. I think short term goal scan be included as steps in your run towards the long term goals. Here is my way to do it: http://ineed-help.blogspot.com/2014/04/Life-Planner-Achiever.html

  2. Hello every goal is important for a person as for individual, even every fail is important. I would like to share my post about success and goals, read here http://writing-help.com/blog/my-short-and-long-term-goals-our-sample-paper/

  3. For me, the key is to make some long-term goals and then break them down into short-term goals. It’s hard to continually focus on something far in the future and find the short-term drive to stay on track if you don’t have a clear understanding of the things you can do right now to make it happen.

  4. Short term goals are a means to get you to long term goals. I think they are equally as important.

    • Can’t really argue with that! If I was forced to choose, I would give a slight edge of importance to the short-term goals simply because 1) we make so many more of them over the course of a lifetime and 2) they are the stepping stone to accomplishing the long-term goals like you said.

  5. Trick question! Both is the answer! I have some pretty crazy long-term goals, and they dictate my short-term goals. My long-term goals change the way I think about the short-term and keep me focused on what I’m working towards. I wouldn’t be sacrificing hours upon hours each week building a blog and learning about online income if I didn’t have long-term goals that are going to require more income than an accountant makes at a corporate finance position.

    • Haha…I can’t get anything by you! It is a trick question as they are both incredibly vital. I like how your long-term goals affect your thinking in the short-term. That can only help you make better decisions in the here and now.

  6. Kim@Eyesonthedollar says

    I think you need to have both. Long term goals can seem too far off and might get lost in the shuffle. I think lots of our long term goals revolve around short term goals. Financial independence is a huge long term goal, but required paying off credit cards first, etc. I haven’t posted goals online if a while. I should do that. It holds me accountable.

    • This is going to sound really weird Kim but when I’m running, I sometimes think about having to report my running totals to the community of bloggers that I’ve built relationships with and are casually tracking what I’m doing. Although I’m attempting these running goals for myself, a part of me hopes that my story is an encouragement and inspiration to others. That does keep me going sometimes when I don’t feel like it.

  7. I make my long term goals and then break them down into a series of short term goals to keep me motivated and help me gain momentum. I feel like by doing this I get more accomplished which motivates me to do even more the following month. I love both long and short term goals.

  8. MoneySmartGuides says

    Great points. It is really important to make specific goals too. My goals are oftentimes too broad and I think I could definitely benefit from zeroing in on what I really want to accomplish

    • “…make specific goals…” You are right. That is one of the most important steps. And it’s really not that hard to do. It’s the difference between saying “I want to lose weight” as opposed to “I want to lose 25 lbs.”

  9. I decided to break my “no goals” rule and come up with some ones for Oct…and beyond. I think I do need some kind of road map, even if obstacles may get in my way of accomplishing some of them.

  10. Shannon Ryan says

    We definitely focus on both short and long-term goals. As you said, achieving long-term goals is so deeply satisfying but because it can take 20, 30 or more years to achieve some of those goals, you need to have short term goals too. I think by experiencing the success of short-term goals, also keeps you motivated to stay true to long-term goals too. Running a 1000 miles in a year is an amazing accomplishment. Wow! That will feel great and really powerful to achieve.

    • “…experiencing the success of short-term goals, also keeps you motivated to stay true to long-term goals…” You are right on there Shannon! For me, this is one of the reasons I prefer the snowball method to taking care of debt. I know it doesn’t make sense mathematically, but taking care of those small debts first and getting that boost of confidence can spur us on to tackle the larger debts down the road.

  11. Both are important to me, but I use my long-term goals to set my short-term ones. That way everything stays on the same track. It’s always good to take some time and think about goals!

  12. Holly Johnson says

    We focus on short-term and long-term goals. The short-term goals are the easiest, though, because we actually reach them at a certain point. Long-term goals, like early retirement, are harder to focus on just because we’re so far away from achieving them.

    • Long term goals are important but there is difficulty in maintaining focus on them because they take so long to accomplish. That’s why I think short-term goals are a little more effective for our day to day life. We get more emotional lifts that serve to keep us going because these can be accomplished in a shorter time span.


  1. […] @ Luke1428 @ Luke1428 writes What’s More Valuable: Short or Long-Term Goals? – Goals provide us with a target to shoot for. Some are short term, others take longer. Which […]

  2. […] @ Luke1428 @ Luke1428 writes What’s More Valuable: Short or Long-Term Goals? – Goals provide us with a target to shoot for. Some are short term, others take longer. Which […]

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