Setting and working toward goals is one of the most reliable ways to boost your happiness, satisfaction, and sense of accomplishment. The importance of setting intermediate objectives and ways to do so. Dominican University conducted research that found that students who wrote down their goals were significantly more likely to achieve those goals than students who did not write down their goals. One strategy for accomplishing long-term objectives is to break them down into shorter-term milestones.
Before getting into the meat of this article, let’s define what we mean by “intermediate goals,” because there are many other reasons why we should take goal setting seriously.
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Where Do I Go From Here?
There are many different kinds of goals, from short-term to long-term; what does an “intermediate goal” entail? Any target that you hope to reach within the next three to five years is considered an intermediate goal. We have a range of about three to five years as a good ballpark estimate.
Just what is the function of the intermediate goals?
You can think of an intermediate goal as something to work toward between your annual and long-term goals. An illustration of a long-term goal would be saving $2 million for retirement. A savings target of $X over the next three years could serve as a stopgap measure. The problem with long-term goals is that they are usually far off in the future, so the benefits of achieving them aren’t motivating to us right now. The gap between you and your eventual reward can be narrowed by setting intermediate objectives.
The Human Brain is Hardwired to Seek Out and Enjoy Short-term Rewards.
This is why it’s so challenging to lose weight. If you want to lose weight, the most fundamental principle is to eat less and move more, regardless of the specifics of how your body stores and retains fat. The problem is that when hunger strikes, our bodies want food immediately. As a society, we have come to depend on instant gratification. Since the brain values short-term satisfaction over long-term goals, we eat that extra helping of rice even though we know it won’t help us lose weight.
Think of Short-Term Objectives as Benchmarks
Think of short-term objectives as building blocks for a longer-term objective. Low rates of goal-setting and achievement can be attributed, in part, to the gradual decline in individual motivation over time. The New Year is a great time to reflect on the past year and make a fresh start with new goals.
How Successful You Are
In the end, the reason you set out to achieve a particular objective will determine how successful you are. The motivation behind your efforts must be strong enough to keep you moving forward. Without compelling justifications, your efforts will be like trying to haul a huge, heavy rock up a steep, never-ending incline. However, if your motivation for pursuing the objective is strong enough, it will act like a magnet, drawing you ever closer to your target.
For example, if you want to buy a yacht so that you can show off to your high school classmates, you’re setting yourself up for failure from the start. If, on the other hand, you want a yacht so that you can escape to the open water and enjoy the tranquillity of nature, these reasons are likely to be powerful enough to propel you toward success. This is why it is helpful to set intermediate goals. They attract you, like magnets, toward realizing your ultimate aim.
Make Goals and Routes
Take your first job after graduation as an example. Perhaps you’re working toward a position in the company’s upper management down the road. But waiting ten to twenty years is a long time for someone in their twenties.
By dividing the overall objective into smaller, more manageable chunks, you increase the likelihood of success. If you find that your company’s upper management is made up entirely of people with MBAs, you might set yourself the goal of earning your own. Getting promoted to the management level within five years is another possible objective. Knowing your goals for the next three to five years will help you plan accordingly. You have taken the place of a lofty long-term objective with an unclear path and replaced it with a manageable one with a well-defined course of action. When you reach a short-term objective, you have time to pause, take stock, and plan the next move toward your ultimate objective.
Health And Fitness Targets
This strategy is also applicable to health and fitness targets. Take the Boston Marathon as an example of a long-term fitness goal. The Boston Marathon, however, stands apart from others in that it has particularly stringent cutoff times for participants to qualify. You need to show proof that you’ve completed a marathon within the required age and gender brackets. For the 2021 marathon, males between the ages of 45 and 49 who have completed a marathon in less than three hours and five minutes will be eligible to participate. A time of fewer than three hours and fifty minutes is required for a woman to qualify as having run the marathon between the ages of 45 and 49. To do so in that amount of time is challenging.
If you’ve never run a marathon before, you should set some intermediate goals, such as finishing a 5k and a 10k race and then working your way up to the full 26.2 miles. From there, you’d have enough data to make the necessary adjustments to your training regimen and complete a marathon in time to qualify for the Boston Marathon. These milestones not only help you get closer to your long-term objective but also provide the motivation you need to keep going. They act as a magnet, drawing you closer to your end goal.
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How to Establish Short-Term Objectives
To get the most out of your intermediate goals, you should first set a long-term goal that is both ambitious and exciting. The construction of the house my wife and I have designed from scratch is one such long-term objective. Because of the high price tag we anticipate this will incur, we have divided the process into manageable chunks.
The first is to set aside a certain sum of money, say, half of the total price. The next step is to locate an appropriate plot of land and make an offer on it. It’s time to start constructing the home. Three subgoals make up that overarching objective. Put money aside, buy some land, and then start constructing your dream home.
I have this overarching objective and its sub-objectives—the three intermediate milestones—set up in the projects section of my notes app, along with images of the kind of house we want to build (to keep me focused). The money-saving intermediate goal is well underway at the moment. The endpoint is where you want to end up in the long run. Having a plan to follow when you first open your eyes in the morning is motivating. Achieving this ultimate objective will be easier if you set smaller, intermediate objectives that will serve as guides along the way.