How To Set & Achieve Long Term Goals.

Long term planning & goal setting is very essential to be successful in life. The earlier you plan and the sooner you get started, the higher the chances of you being able to achieve your goal. Your 20’s is the most critical stage of your life and the choices and decisions that you make at this stage is going to have a major influence on your future.If you are in your early 20’s or even mid 20’s, this is the best time for you to be setting long term goals and creating an effective game-plan to achieve them.

Time for a Story

Since it was a pretty slow day at work, I was going through my journal and reading entries that I had made in the first week of January. Not surprisingly there multiple entries that I had made about my progress on My New Year’s Resolution. I say “not surprisingly” because my goal of losing a few pounds also happens to rank topmost in a survey conducted by University of Scranton. It struck me that after working out so enthusiastically for the first 2 weeks I had completely forgotten about my resolution until now.

Did I really forget about it?

It’s very easy to get caught up in life and lose sight of our goals, especially the long term goals which do not yield results instantly.

As days go by, in our mind the bullshit happening around us takes precedence to a point that any long term goal that you may have is lost.

9 out of 10 People fail at achieving their New Year’s Resolution.

According to a survey conducted, only 8% of the people are able to achieve their New Year’s Resolution

While 75% of the people are able to maintain it through the first week, the number drops to 71% after 2 weeks. In a month it is 64 % and by the end of 6 months it’s down to 46%.

Talking about myself, why did I find it difficult to exercise and eat healthy when I know that in the long run it is most definitely going to affect my health in a positive way?

Here’s the thing, it’s just not me and if these are the numbers for a yearlong goal, I wonder what happens to goals that require you to plan 5 years, 10 year or even 15 years in advance.

Why are we not able to keep steady pace and enthusiasm towards achieving our goal even when there is an assured positive result?

We are wired to get bored very easily. Our mind constantly wants to keep doing new things and while working out is beneficial to our health, if you don’t add variety and keep mixing it up constantly you are going to give it up very soon because you are bored of the monotony.

Mixing things up and changing your routine is not going work always. Goals such as saving for retirement or to pay off your student loans leave little scope for mixing things up. In fact at times it would mean sacrificing things now so that you can reap the benefit later.

In such cases, how do you keep the same level of excitement and focus?

How do you ensure that you stick to your long term goals?

Post It notes help remember important eventsWhen you have an important event coming up, you set up a reminder or stick a post-it note somewhere that is easily visible so that you are reminded of it each day. 10 years from maybe a long time now, but you know it’s coming.

Reminding yourself is not going to be enough, you are going to need to take action as well and measure your performance.

What is your game plan to succeed?

Success Game Plan

Intention: State what is it that you want to do. What is your intention? A short one line intention can be a powerful reminder. It acts like a loud sound in your head each time you see it posted somewhere. Intention without a deadline is just a wish and life is too short for a wishful living. Set a realistic deadline for yourself.

Desire: This is the most critical factor when planning a long term goal, the stronger your desire (why) the higher the likelihood of success. Will Power is an exhaustible resource and motivation is not going to be around always, you are going to have days when you don’t feel motivated at all. Remembering the reason why you started is a very effective tool to just push through days when you don’t feel like doing anything. Your purpose and desire to achieve, gives strength to continue and justify the sacrifices that you are going to need to make.

Execution: Once you have your intention [what is it that you want to do] and your Desire [Why do you want to do it], the next logical step is to execution [how are you going to do it].

The upside of long term goals is that you don’t have to work on them daily or put in a lot of effort. It is a matter of being consistent.

Start by listing out the possible things that you can do to achieve your goal and then break it down to do-able chunks and get to it.

If your long term goal is to save enough money to buy a new car, the first thing that you might want to start with is with how much money are you going to need and what are the ways you either save or earn money to get to the amount you need.

List out the steps you need to take.

Your brain is supposed to be a fountain of ideas & problem solving tool, not a board to write all the things that you need to do. List as much as you can and free up your mind for things that are more important than remember that you are going to be out of milk soon.

Aftermath: It is very important to keep in mind that life does not turn out as planned and sometimes it can be straight up bitch. Are you going to always achieve a 100% of your goals? Not likely. Chances are that you are going to fail more often than you succeed. It is very easy to give up and not try again because you failed the last time and it wasn’t even your fault. Make you keep a track of your progress and measure your performance at a regular interval.

 

If you have a goal of having a corpus of a million dollar by the time you retire then tracking it every day or even every month is not going to make a lot of sense. Based on your goal and the actions, schedule an appointment with yourself to see how is it that you are driving your life towards success.

Should you happen to fail or no longer achieve your goal, go reflect on these self meeting and you will be surprised with the aftermath of the actions you took to achieve your goals.

 

If you like the I.D.E.A for achieving long term success, you can click on the The Game Plan Template to download the template. Feel free to modify it to your liking and use.

37 thoughts on “How To Set & Achieve Long Term Goals.”

  1. Very strong and powerful information you got here Josh! I make it a ritual to remind myself of my long term goals every day and every night. As you said, they are a strong reminder and give me just the perfect amount of motivation to get me through the day. Its sad that only 1 out of 10 people succeed in their New Years Resolutions, but with this post I am sure you are helping tons of other people! Keep up the AMAZING work!

    1. Hey Jose,

      Often we get so caught up in life or get so compliant that we often forget our WHY. Therefore it’s important to create a ritual that reminds you of your goals and keeps track of your progress. I am glad that you found the information shared here to be helpful :

  2. Hey Josh,
    I have to mention that I really enjoyed surfing through your website and through this post, what you say is very true. I’m only 15 and I set goals on a daily basis. I wake up write 10 things I’m grateful for, meditate, and then I review my three most important goals. I do this at night to and I like to read the best self development books or programs. Keep up the good work man!

    1. Hey Joe,

      That is awesome dude. Keep it up man you are already setting up a solid foundation to succeed in life 🙂

  3. I really like the templates you provided! Goal setting is one of my favorite things to do. When I set a goal, I try to remember to spend time each day thinking about it, why I want it, and how I am going to make it happen. I think that the simple action of just thinking about it each day makes a big difference long term! Great article about goal setting!

  4. Hi there my friend,

    Really awesome site and some really sound advice. I set long terms goals I break them down in parts. Like a year long goal I’ll break that down into nice 3 month segment “what I want to achieve this quarter that will help me in my longer term goal” help me to remain focused.

  5. I like the idea of your IDEA 🙂 I find that the problem with me keeping goals is just keeping up with the struggle of going through the steps. Most people fail to achieve their goals because they aren’t willing to go through the struggle. I find that I can get through the struggles, but I’ll procrastinate and things will take longer that they ought to. I still get through to the end, but it’s a longer journey because I let life get in the way. What would you suggest for someone in this situation? Thanks! (Much better than SMART goals anyday.)

    1. Hey Sarah,

      Thanks for visiting my site and I am glad you liked the IDEA.

      Like you, I too end up procrastinate and then it takes longer to get things done than it should have.

      Even though I have not been able to completely eliminate procrastination, there are a couple of things I do to help me get things done.

      1. Automate by the way of creating habits [eg: Get Fit = Run for 20 mins each day], tracking for the initial 30 days is the key here.

      2. Minimize: I only note down the 3 the most important task in my to-do list each day and start with the most difficult first and somehow I end up doing more than I planned to by riding the dopamine wave.

      3. Visualize: I visualize my top goals for 5 mins twice each day [create a visual map to make it easier]

      I hope this helps 🙂

  6. Great website. Like you I love self-help books and am delighted that you brought DESIRE into the post. I love to follow Napoleon Hills mantra, I try to live by this days to day. I filled out the template and have put it up in my office. I’ll let you know of my progress.

  7. Hi Josh,

    Great website. Like you I love self-help books and am delighted that you brought DESIRE into the post. I love to follow Napoleon Hills mantra that says “Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything”. I try to live by this days to day. I filled out the template and have put it up in my office. I’ll let you know of my progress.

  8. Thanks for sharing this and i must say you right on to big thing here with this site.

    It is well known that the only challenges we face when trying to achieve success is the ones we set for ourselves.

    Motivation again plays very important role in all thing moving forward instead of backward.

    I must say well done, You have won a new reader as i have bookmarked this page.

  9. Hi,

    I prefer setting daily goals rather than set a long term goals which at the long run I may not be able to achieve. But you have outlined that long term goals are achievable with these simple steps of I. D. E. A. That’s splendid.

    I will try them out. Keep the good work up.

    Cheers
    Daniel

  10. Hi Josh,
    I truly enjoyed your article. You make it look easy to set goals and execute them.
    yeah, lots of people set so many goals, such as new year resolutions, but they don’t take action on it, and that’s why they fail.
    I believe by setting goal and planning how you can achieve it, you will have better probability to achieve most of them.

  11. Hello Josh,

    Your post is full of encouraging words. I agree that 20’s or mid 20’s is the best stage of life to set long term goal. As this is the stage that we already understand life because of experience in school, in community and sometimes in achievements.
    I did set goals when I was in this stage, but I think just partly succeeded because I did not have a strong plan. Maybe if I read your post on my younger years and followed the Game Plan then at least it is a success. I am in early 40’s, I want to try another long term goal. And I will try your approach though I think its late. I will also bookmark your post and share to my nephews and nieces as this will be a help material for them in setting long term goals in their lives. Thanks for sharing this helpful one.
    marcy

    1. Hey Marcy,

      Thanks for visiting my site and I am glad that you found this post helpful. I wish you all the best in achieving success in your long term goal and sincerely hope you find the Game Plan helpful. Like you I wish I started earlier but I believe it’s never too late now and I think sharing with your nieces and nephews is a good idea, it will benefit them tremendously.

  12. Hey Josh,
    Great post. Goal setting is a fascinating subject. I loved the I.D.E.A. plan that you discussed and taught so well. A friend of mine who is in business training uses the GROW model. Goal, Realistic, Options, Way Forward. Many of these models play a great role in helping people. Personal implementation is the key.
    Thanks for what you left for the world to enjoy.
    Duncan

    1. Hey Duncan,

      “Implementation is the key” you said. It is also the open secret to success. I am glad you liked the I.D.E.A.

      Thanks for the visit and keep coming back 🙂

  13. Josh,
    This is a great eye-opening article that really hits home for me. There was a study done in the late 60’s to 70’s called the “Stanford marshmallow experiment.”
    Perhaps you are familiar, but in the experiment a group of children were offered a choice between one small reward given right away or two small rewards if they waited for 15 minutes.

    In the end, it was shown that the children that could resist the instant gratification and wait, were “…described more than 10 years later by their parents as adolescents who were significantly more competent.”

    What you are saying with the scheduled “appointments” with one self is an amazing idea! I like to do these checkpoints every so often to keep myself on track.

    -Aaron

    1. Hey Aaron,

      Thanks you for visiting my site and posting a comment here. I am aware of the concept of instant gratification but honestly did not know specifically about the “Stanford Marshmallow Experiment” that is very helpful information for me.

      Yes the practice of creating a self assessment checkpoint is very effective. It basically a measuring mechanism, like if you are working out or on a diet and you see the result [losing weight] you are more like to continue with it 🙂

  14. Goals, goals, goals – why can I not ever keep them? Every time I hear the word goals, I ask myself that question.

    I do not know why, but I have the hardest time keeping my goals. I write them down too! I think when I lose motivation I throw in the towel and just give up. I needed to read this today. Reading articles like this helps me get my attention focused again on the finish line. I am glad I stopped by today.

    Thanks,

    Travis

  15. Hi Josh,
    I like your article about achieving long-term goals, the information is great and actionable. However, while on your site I noticed there is no feeling to it. Since everything is white and there are minimal pictures, it didn’t entice me to stay or hold my attention. Your content in your other articles is great as well, if you could just add some color or more pictures to your articles it would help keep your audience engaged. Hope this helps.

    1. Hi Heather,

      I think comments and constructive feedback are very important to improve.

      After reading your comment I revisited my website with a fresh perspective and I agree with you.

      You’ll see some changes on the website come Monday 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by.

  16. Very neat and clean post on ways to achieve long term goals. I agree with you, they are harder to achieve since results do not appear instantly. I think your tips are great and well explained. Desire for achieving our goals is, yes, the #1 substance needed to have it working. I think if you give an example of a goal along with your tips, it might help people to better undertsand how to apply each one of your exercices. Thank you for your ideas and good luck with your personal goals!

    1. Hi Veronica,

      Thanks for the feedback. I am glad you found the tips helpful and I will try to include examples as much as I can in the future post.

      Thanks

  17. This is a fantastic article. I’m massively into personal development myself, and goal setting is one of the most important things in my life.
    You’re right about losing sight of our goals far too easily- it’s pretty much out of sight, out of mind. For that reason, I write mine down most days, and review them each week. Once I’ve decided on a goal, I’ll write it in huge letters and stick it above my desk- it works for me.
    I also find that setting interim goals really helps me to move forwards in the right direction, as well as keeping me motivated when times are getting difficult.
    Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed this post.
    Chloe

    1. Hey Chloe,

      I am happy you enjoyed this post.

      Posting your goals above your desk is a really good idea.

      Let me know if there is a specific topic that you would like me to write about.

  18. Hi Josh! You are absolutely right when you say that long term goals are absolutely essential to being successful. I have been utilizing long term goals my whole life and while like you said, not every single one of them will be met (at least by the deadlines we set for ourselves), I would say that as long as you stay consistent, which will only happen if the desire to achieve them stays strong, we will accomplish most of them. I feel like it’s important to also not have too many long term goals at the same time because it’s important to stay focused and not scatter your energy. One of the best tips you have here that has been working for me my whole life is to post your goal somewhere where you will see it everyday. I have mine posted on the wall in my kitchen – right by the table. That’s a great place because eating is a very common habit people turn to when they are procrastinating or bored. So every time I eat, I am looking at my goals. Seeing a goal in the very place you may run to in order to avoid work is a great way to remind you to stay focused. I also have reminders above my stove and mirrors are a great place to post goals too.

    1. Hey Donna,

      I wish I had covered the point (not having too many goals) here 🙂

      I usually carry a copy of my game plan with me and i have one copy posted on the refrigerator.

      An unexpected result of this was that people who saw this were curious and i often ended up explaining what the game plan template is and why do I have it posted here.

      Usually they are very enthusiastic about it and I would like to think that they really did make there own game plan. I wish there was application or website that allowed me to print them on sticky notes which i could link here to make the process even simpler for others 🙂

  19. Hi Josh,

    I learned about goal setting the hard way – failing to plan one when I should have and watching others become more successful while I am still stuck in my cubicle.

    Now, I have outlined a handful of long term goals which I want to achieve in 5 to 10 years time. Instead of stretching myself too thin, I have broken down the process to short term achievable goals like what I can do in a week or a month and I make sure I get that done no matter what before I move onto the next task.

    Having a schedule and a lot of discipline is also very important. The more I am able to achieve my short term goals, the more I feel I could make my long term goal a reality too.

  20. Hi Josh,

    I learned about goal setting the hard way – failing to plan one when I should have and watching others become more successful while I am still stuck in my cubicle.

    Now, I have outlined a handful of long term goals which I want to achieve in 5 to 10 years time. Instead of stretching myself too thin, I have broken down the process to short term achievable goals like what I can do in a week or a month and I make sure I get that done no matter what before I move onto the next task.

    Having a schedule and a lot of discipline is also very important. The more I am able to achieve my short term goals, the more I feel I could make my long term goal a reality too.

    1. Hey Cathy,

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I can most definitely relate to what you are saying. I failed to recognize the importance of setting goals early on in my life and that did have an impact on my present situation.

      I second your thought that having a schedule and sticking to it is very crucial to succeed.

      I would like to wish you all the very best in achieving your goals and hope the fulfillment of them bring you joy and happiness.

  21. Hi Josh,
    If only I could have had the presence of mind to think that way when I was in my early 20’s… I’d be typing this from a much nicer computer that’s for sure. lol.
    But one thing I’ve learned over the years concerning long term goals is to somehow set daily reminders.
    Things established that you can attach the idea of the goal by way of habit. A healthy habit. Doing this just may cause for the idea of your long term goal to intrude upon the daily grind instead of the reverse.
    Great post, I can see you’ve put allot into it! Keep up the good work.
    BTW.. I think the game plan template is a great idea!!
    All the best,
    Brian

    1. Hi Brian,

      I couldn’t agree with you more, creating great habits to meet any goal is the surest way to succeed. In fact I’ve been experimenting with “Don’t break the chain method” for the past 10 days to get a deeper insight on the process of building great habits to make actions effortless.

      I am glad you liked the game plan template. I have a couple of them for my different long term goals and i make sure that I go through them once a week and evaluate my performance.

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