Updated: Feb 12
Last week’s blog covered Long Term Goals but, according to Roger Federer, “You have to believe in the long term plan you have but you need the short term goals to motivate and inspire you.” – Roger Federer
Most goals are comprised of many incremental steps. For example, if your goal is to be a great athlete, you might work toward this goal by setting smaller incremental goals like improving your exercise habit, eating more nutrient-rich foods to support your body as it heals from training, and selecting achievable milestones so that you can track your progress.
Research has shown that structuring a goal into a set of incremental subgoals reduces the difficulty of achieving the long-range goal, enhances your perception of how attainable your goal is, and provides positive reinforcement, an important ingredient for continued motivation and persistence. In other words, setting and realizing proximal goals can facilitate a growth mindset in which you believe that you’re capable of shaping your life as you want it. In addition to supporting this sense of self-efficacy, setting short-term goals is essential for successfully achieving a long-range goal for many other reasons, including the following:
· ● Setting short-term goals helps reduce feelings of overwhelm when it comes to accomplishing the goal.
· ● Short-term goals provides you with a reasonable starting point.One of the most common barriers to achieving lasting change is getting started.
· ● Achieving short-range goals clearly marks progress toward the overarching long-range goal. Failing to achieve a short-range goal can also help you determine when you need to change your strategy.
· ● Short-range goals reduce the risk of damage to your self-concept which can come up when you compare where you are now with where you want to be.
Supported by decades of research are the 5 features of of good short-term goals?
1. Specificity – Your goal is clearly defined. As mentioned earlier, successfully realizing your goals requires that you know what you’re striving for.
2. Measurability – It is possible to track your progress toward and completion of the goal quantitatively. Without the ability to measure progress in some fashion, it is easier to become overwhelmed or discouraged and decide to abandon your goal.
3. Attainability – Your goal is something that is achievable within the context of your life. For example, setting a goal of learning a new language would require effort and dedication, but is certainly attainable over time. Setting a goal of learning 10 new languages, on the other hand, is significantly less attainable (especially if you plan to do literally anything else with your time). Determining whether or not a goal is attainable can be tricky for anyone who doesn’t already have a growth-oriented mindset because, if you believe that your capabilities are fixed, it’s easy to decide that you are not capable of attaining a goal that is fully within reach.
4. Relevance – The short-term goal is an instrumental step in achieving the larger goal. Working toward a short-term goal should matter in the long run, otherwise, it will cost you time and energy without much reward.
5. Time limits – Your goal includes an ‘achieve by’ date. Setting a time limit on shot-term goals is a highly effective way to increase motivation and commitment and to keep track of progress toward your larger goal.
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