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The Dilemma of Setting Goals

The dilemma of setting goals / Spruce Rd.

The dilemma of setting goals / Spruce Rd.

Happy New Year!!! I have never been one for new years resolutions, but this year that has changed (sort-of). Over the break, my husband Elliot and I drove a total of 28 hours, which left plenty of time for reflecting on 2014, and setting goals for the future, and of course catching up on the

Serial podcast

. I’d be lying if I said that we didn’t run into any frustrations throughout our goal-setting conversation. We felt overwhelmed and limited by setting goals for just one year. Some goals seemed more monthly-based, and others more long term. We didn’t want to set goals, knowing that we might not achieve them within one year. 

The solution: don’t limit yourself to just annual goals, but rather set goals for various timeframes.

 This may seem like a no-brainer to most, but it was a good exercise for us to go through.

Short-term thinking

If you restrict yourself to only thinking one month or one year in advance, you are limiting how far you can reach. Instead of only thinking one year in advance, use short-term goals as milestones to build to your long-term goals. The best example I can give is for building your business, whether it is freelancing on the side of your full-time job, or you are self employed. In order to reach your long term goals, you need to create these attainable milestones. Example: Create XX number of blog posts by the end of 2015, Book XX number of clients, launch an app by a specific date, etc.

Long-term thinking

Before you set your short-term goals, it is best to have a long-term goal in mind. Think BIG! You can have a few long-term goals. One might be to open your own business, or become financially independent, create enough passive income to support you, etc. Once you have these long-term goals in mind, you can create short-term milestones to get to this point. You might change your long-term goals along the way, and that is okay. It is natural to grow and shift focus. So just realize that this might be an outcome of thinking long-term.

Solving the Dilemma

Following our goal-setting session, we happened to listen to a podcast by SeanWes about this dilemma. If you have a bit of time, I would suggest listening to it


, you can start at minute 44 for the section about timeframes in goal setting. I think this quote regarding the difference between long-term and short-term thinking, by Sean’s co-host Ben Toalson, sums it up best: “Short-term thinking focuses on present circumstances and makes you think that’s what’s going to happen forever. Long-term thinking looks outside of your current circumstances. It helps you not be complacent even when circumstances are great—not in a way that’s dissatisfied with what you have but in an enthusiastic way for the future.”

I am excited about the personal + professional goals that we established, and looking forward to meeting these goals in the future! Feel free to share any goals you set this year, or any of your reflections on setting resolutions in the comments below. Cheers to 2015!


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  1. Erica

    This post is refreshing. I’m in the process of setting some new goals and getting overwhelmed about just this issue of long-term vs. short-term. Glad I’m not the only one. Also, that’s a fantastic breakdown of what they are. Definitely puts things into perspective and helps clear the brain. Happy New Year!!

    1. Jamie

      Glad I am not the only one who overthinks the whole new years resolution thing, Erica! Take it step by step, and you will feel refreshed rather than frustrated! I use Evernote for this, so it is easy to reference, modify or add to in the future. Happy New Year!

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