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.
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?
When 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.
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.