Planning For Long Term Success
Updated: May 26
You don’t want to be 40 and still questioning what you’re doing with your life, right? If the answer is yes, then you better be setting some long term goals.
I wanted to write this post because I’m currently in the process of writing my own long term goals: where I want to be, where I want the blog to be, etc.
It’s funny, I took a gym class my first year of college. The teacher made us do these ‘SMART’ goals, and I thought it was the dumbest thing in the world. I BS’d the entire thing. Now, here I am, about to make a freaking life plan.
I wanted to do this because I heard a podcast that talked about a case study regarding planning. I can’t remember what exactly happened, or even the name/host of the podcast, but they had 2 groups complete a task. The control group was only told to complete the task, while the other group was told to make a defined plan on how to complete the task - and then complete it. I don’t remember the exact results, but my mind was BLOWN at the difference between the two. The group that planned before doing the task blew the control group out of the water.. So I felt inspired to make a plan.
Anyway, here are the things I’m keeping in mind while writing my goals:
Create a specific and realistic vision for the long term.
As I was writing some of my goals, I realized everything was super broad. Broad is a good place to start, but shouldn’t be left that way. When I started to think of things in specific terms, I had to ask myself questions to realize what was actually realistic.
In writing about my business goals for the future, as a freelance online marketer, I asked myself: How will I find clients? What types of businesses do I want to work for? What do I want to specifically do/accomplish for the company? Will I need to get more qualifications to do what I want to do?
Asking a lot of specific questions like these made me realize that it wasn’t super easy to get where I want to go, but it put things into a real perspective for me. Realizing that early on allowed me to have a clearer vision and better head start.
Additionally, a huge part of being realistic is understanding the effect that the long term goal will have on you. Whether it’s creating a healthy lifestyle, growing a business, saving money for a house - it’s going to take a personal effect.
Ask yourself: What does the future look like/how is it changing from my life now? How do I feel with this goal in progress/accomplished? What are the pros/cons? How does this goal fit into my schedule, other goals and priorities, and my family/social life?
Know your obstacles.
What are your obstacles? Why? How do you overcome them? If you don’t have a plan for your challenges, they’ll slap you in the face.
This doesn’t really relate to a specific ‘goal’, but I have an example:
Before I knew I had depression, I didn’t have a plan for handling problems. I would let things build and build and then I’d eventually explode. Now, I have a specific plan. I immediately journal to get everything off my chest, distract myself (usually with 20 mins of Netflix) and come back with a fresh mind. And if that still doesn’t work, I take a nap. - Being 100% honest, I usually get over it by then because I wake up realizing that I was just tired.
By doing this, I probably solve about 90% of potential breakdowns - just from knowing my weaknesses and how to work with them.
Start with a broad goal and work your way down.
It’s easy to think of a big goal/vision. But when you break it down into smaller parts, you can assess how realistic that vision is and it gives you a roadmap for getting to the goal. Again, try to write as specifically as you can. Here’s how I set up mine:
Then move onto the weekly’s and daily’s
Notice how I didn’t just write the steps to reaching the goal. I made the goals based on a certain amount of time. Giving yourself a deadline makes sure that it gets accomplished within a reasonable amount of time. For example: I don’t know about you, but if I were given a homework assignment while being told to “finish it whenever”.. I wouldn’t even take a second look.
Make a checklist.
I really freaking love to-do lists. Any kind of list, really. Just me? Probably.
But here’s why they’re important:
It’s freaking motivating to cross something off.
You can instantly know what you need to do, what’s next.. All in one place.
It helps you focus on one thing at a time. That way, you’re not scrambling and trying to figure out how to balance a million things at once. You won’t get ahead of yourself. You’re working smarter, not harder.
You won’t get (as) overwhelmed by the future.
It serves as a reminder of where you started and what you’ve accomplished.
Share your goal with others.
Is your goal personal or a group goal?
If you’re in a group, you need to make sure that everyone in the business (or invested in the business) is on the same page with this goal. Everyone agrees with the vision, values, mission, etc. Leave knowing that the future is planned with the details ironed out and everyone’s on board.
As for personal goals, they’re still important to communicate! It’s good to tell your friends and family because it allows them to support you in your decision. I’ve probably said this before, but I thought about starting the blog without telling anyone because I was nervous/embarrassed. I’m so glad I didn’t, because I had an overwhelming amount of support. And truthfully, I would have been dying while trying to keep it a secret.
* Oh, and obviously business goals are just as important to share with friends and family, but it’s best shared after decisions have been finalized with the group.
Lastly, you need to hold yourself accountable. This is the most important step. So important that I’m going to leave it for a seperate blog post (going up Saturday) to go more in detail on the subject. So until then, start writing out your goals and planning for success! :)