Issue #13: Why Your Short-Term Goals Should Align with Longer Term Goals

Jul 21, 2022

Setting goals is an important part of life. There are different types of goals and it’s important to set goals that align with your desired outcome. Short-term goals are goals that can be accomplished within a short period of time, usually less than a year. They can be smaller goals that contribute to the accomplishment of a larger goal, or they can be standalone goals.

There are several benefits to setting short-term goals. First, they provide a more immediate sense of accomplishment and motivation. Crossing items off a list feels good, and it gives you the momentum to keep moving forward. Second, short-term goals are easier to achieve than long-term goals, so they can give you a sense of confidence and build your skillset. Third, they help you stay focused and organized. This focus and organization are critical when short-term goals align with longer term goals. 

When you have a goal to strive for, you’re more likely to achieve it. However, many people don’t take the time to set long-term goals, or they set goals that are too vague and difficult to achieve. Whether setting short-term or long-term goals, be specific in the goal you set and the time frame within which you wish to accomplish it. 

How to Connect Short Term Goals with Longer Term Goals

Long-term goals are typically defined as goals that will take more than a year to accomplish. To set effective long-term goals, start by determining what you want your life to look like in five or ten years. What are your dreams and aspirations? Once you have a general idea of what you want, break those down into smaller goals that you can achieve in the next year or two. Keep in mind that these goals should be challenging but realistic – don’t set yourself up for failure by choosing vague, overly ambitious or unrealistic goals.  

The Stairway to Goal Success

Now that you have identified your long-term goals and broken them down into more digestible and reasonable portions, create a plan for how you will reach them. Your plan should be SMART, so that your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, so that there are clear steps that you will take and a timeline for completing them. 

It may be helpful to use imagery and create a staircase of the steps that will lead to your goal. The ultimate goal (typically a long-term goal) is the top step, and all the detailed tasks and activities needed to accomplish that goal lead up to it. Visualizing the connectivity between your short-term and long-term goals, identifying approximately how long it would take for each step to be completed and marking off the steps as you go can help you identify additional steps or stages that are needed or help you refocus if you get distracted. 

For example, your goal may be to land a role in the C-suite, perhaps as a CMO. If you are currently a Director of Marketing, the steps leading to your being considered for a CMO role may include working to reduce your company’s customer acquisition costs by 50% by Q1 2023, which would require you to first roll out a new analytics dashboard in Q3 2022, and with that make campaign optimizations that target better qualified leads during the holiday season and cut advertising costs. By demonstrating your abilities to lead cost savings here, you can apply for a new role within the organization, showing what you’ve accomplished. 

While simplified, this example outlines the concept of aligning your short-term goals to longer term goals. Roll out better campaign tracking and analytics, use insights to inform a better strategy, reach or exceed strategic goals, leverage this accomplishment to sell your ability to lead the marketing organization more efficiently as a CMO. A word of caution: Avoid the urge to skip steps as this could lead to as much of a disaster as attempting to hurry to the top step on a literal staircase would be.

Your short-term goals should align with your long-term goals to help you stay on track and achieve your ultimate goal. Having a specific plan with identifiable steps or stages will help you stay motivated and make progress. Take time to reflect on your long-term goals and break them down into achievable short-term goals. Then, enjoy the journey to the top (step)!

Two ways Separation Playbook can help you:
  1. If you're feeling stuck in a position that doesn't align with your vision, and you know it's time to shift your paradigm:
     Take the Self Scouting Challenge which uses the process I've built to detach from the status quo and re-imagine success that aligns with unique strengths, values, and vision.

  2. If you feel the success you're chasing doesn't fulfill you, and you're ready to start building a that matters to you:
    The Legacy OS is the personal operating system to become more intentional about how you invest in yourself and your vision to achieve success that leaves a mark.



Want more insights like these?

Join the newsletter to receive tips and strategies like this every Monday to help you build personal, professional, and financial success.