Intermediate and Short-term Goals
The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to read your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence . –Confucius
Intermediate and Short-term Goals help you reach your Lifetime Goals. In fact, without setting these shorter-term goals, you probably have no chance of reaching your Long-term goals. It is important that all of these goals to be well-defined, challenging, and realistic.
“I will make better grades or good grades” are vague. How much better? How good? It will be better to say” I will make a B average”.
Or” I will bring my GPA (grade point average) up from a 2.5 to a 3.0″
But notice that bringing up a 2.5 to a 4.0 is unrealistic – probably impossible. Bringing the 2.5 up to a 2.7 is realistic but not challenging. We are more motivated to work hard with challenging goals.
Andrew graduated from college ten years ago but wasn’t happy in his job. He decided to start his own business. Now he is attending evening classes, learning how to prepare a business plan. He is working hard to reach his goals.
What are Intermediate Goals?
These might be goals for the next several years or for the next ten years. They might include:
1. Goals for college graduation, for acceptance in grad school, law school, medical school or whatever education you might need.
2. Finding a job – any reasonable job – to support yourself as you get your education.
3. Goals for meeting the person you want to spend your life with and getting married.
4. Goals for developing skills you might need to reach your long-term goals. These could include learning a foreign language, computer skills, leadership skill, business skills, physical skills, or your skills in art, music, acting, writing, etc.
What are Short-Term Goals?
Short-term Goals might be for a year, for one semester or a summer, or they might be only for one week. They are usually based on your Intermediate and Long-Term Goals.
1. To meet your goals for graduation, and possibly getting accepted for further education, you might set short term-goals for the classes you are taking this semester. These might include making good grades or learning important information or skills.
2. To meet your eventual goal of finding the person of your dreams and getting married, you might decide to lose weight and get in better physical shape, or you might set a goal of meeting three new potential mates each week.
3. To find a job to help pay for your education, you might write and print up 20 copies of your resume, buy clothing suitable for an interview, read the want ads, and begin visiting 3 companies a week to ask if they are hiring.
4. To work toward your goal of being a writer, you might take a writing class and set a goal of writing ten pages a day.
What are Immediate Goals?
We could also call these Daily Goals. In order to reach any of your goals, you will need to work on them every day. Some people think they can work on only one goal at a time. But, if you are a students, you might want to work on losing weight, improving your grades, meeting new people, and looking for work all at the same time. None of them should be put off.
Begin early in the morning. Before you go to breakfast, Either read or think about your goals. Then say “Today, I will meet one interesting boy… maybe the boy who sits next to me in Chemistry. Today I will get 30 minutes exercise doing a fast walk right after my French class. Today I will not eat doughnuts for breakfast. I will eat cereal, milk and fruit.”
Or you might say “Today I will use the time between Biology Lab and Chemistry to study the next chapter in Chemistry. Today, I will take notes in Chemistry using an outline. Today, after Chemistry, I will go to the Bookstore to see if they are hiring and leave my resume with them.”
It is best to say these things aloud. You will remember it better. But if you can’t bring yourself to do this, then go over it mentally several times.
At noon, you might check to see how you’re doing. The boy you wanted to meet wasn’t there today? How about meeting the boy sitting alone in the cafeteria? Your Chemistry notes weren’t done too well? Maybe you can find time to rewrite them in outline form. If you are serious about meeting your goals, you need to be determined and disciplines. Don’t make excuses. Do what you decided to do.
Now that you have your goals …
It won’t help much if you write your goals and hide them in a bottom drawer and forget them. You need to remember what your goals are and think how you will reach them. Here are a few suggestions. You may have better ideas. Put of copy of your goals on a bulletin board or where you will see it when just before you go to sleep and when you wake up. You might tape a copy inside your notebook.
Perhaps you could create a motto or find an inspirational poster that will remind you of your goals. You might want to create a collage or some sort of symbol to remind you of your goals every day.
Start a journal. Set a regular time, possibly once a week to reflect on your goals. Describe what you did that week that will help your realize your goals and, if necessary, what you did to make it harder to reach your goals. Think about the coming week. What are a few things you can do to help you accomplish what you want to do and be?
Setting goals without keeping track of how you are doing and making changes along the way is like creating a budget and then continue spending money like you did before.
Don’t expect to make a lot of huge changes in your life all at once. Forgive yourself when you take a step backwards and celebrate when you succeed.
Occasionally, perhaps at the beginning of each semester, you should rethink your goals. Are there any changes or additions you should make?
If you are much braver than the rest of us, you could show your goals to a close friend. Sharing goals (like the intention to lose weight or to stop smoking) provides motivation to stick to your plans. Your friend can remind you when you need to reconsider what you’re doing. Friends can also offer much-needed encouragement and help you celebrate your accomplishments.