Focus on long-term goals, and choose some scary ones.

At this time of year, I always spend a few days reflecting on the year that just passed, and thinking about the year to come.

This year, before thinking too much about what’s to come in 2021, I looked back further than just last year.

In fact, I looked back at the last 10 years.

In particular, I wanted to take a look at the new ventures and projects I had embarked on, and see which of them worked out the best.

Two main takeaways…

Planning for the long term has always worked better for me.

When I’ve tried for “quick wins” it has never worked.

This typically happens when I get all excited about something and create a new project and website… hoping it will deliver a big return in just a few months.

This is short-term thinking, going for a fast and relatively easy win.

Maybe some people have had success with that. But it doesn’t work for me.

What does work for me is when I set goals with a time horizon closer to 5 years.

Now I’m planning longer term. No rush. No unrealistic expectations of fast returns on the time I invest.

This takes a lot of pressure off. I can focus on building something, without being distracted by the numbers.

I have the time to do it right.

No income yet? That’s OK. I hadn’t planned for a lot of income in the first year.

Not much traffic to the site yet? Not a problem. I have time to work on that.

When you set short-term goals, you’re falling into the Easy Button trap.

You want it to be easy to achieve success.

But the Easy Button almost always disappoints.

Give yourself time to build something amazing. Take the long view.

Stretch yourself with an ambitious goal.

This is looking at the Easy Button problem through a different lens.

If you try to achieve a goal because you think it’s going to be easy, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

First, because achieving significant success is rarely easy.

Second, because if it is easy, you’ll have a zillion competitors reaching for the same easy goal. And now you have a huge competition problem.

Also… and this is a big one… trying to achieve something easy will never bring out the best in you. It will never stretch your mind or take you to a whole new level of success.

Tough, ambitious goals demand a deep, enduring and fiercely creative commitment to the project.

Suddenly you have an opportunity to really shine.

And, at least for me, dealing with hard problems and bold goals is a lot more fun.

Bottom line… forget about the Easy Button.

The web is awash with promises of fast and easy success. Your email inbox is filled with them too. And your social media channels.

Empty promises with plenty of glitter to catch the eye.

But that’s not how you’ll find success at a life-changing level.

For that kind of experience, extend your goal horizon, and go for something that’s going to really stretch you.

And while you’re on that longer journey, you’ll have plenty of time to look out the window and see all your Easy Button competitors fall away, one by one.

4 thoughts on “Focus on long-term goals, and choose some scary ones.”

  1. Thank you for this article. What I notice about me when it comes to setting short-term goals is that it can be emotionally draining. This especially so if I have to keep moving the goal date. Long term goals seems to be the better option for me.

    Reply

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