How to Set Professional Long Term Goals…And Actually, Achieve Them
Your ability to set and pursue short-term goals and long-term goals significantly influences the success and profitability of your business administration, your enterprise, and your personal life.
Top executives, renowned for their achievements, share one trait: they’re long-term thinkers.
These visionaries project themselves five years into the future, envisioning their positions and responsibilities, all to fulfill their long-term aspirations and prioritize goals. Their continuous quest wondering how to set goals and refine strategic planning propels their business achievements.
Understanding Long-Term Goals
Long-term personal and professional goals are the pinnacle of your professional advancement, requiring substantial time and dedication. Swift achievements aren’t the goal here; meticulous planning and resolute commitment are vital. These objectives might span months or even years.
But remember, even the grandest goals can be broken into manageable portions. A technique called chunking aids this process, dividing the long-term intention into smaller tasks or segments.
Applying this approach enhances any undertaking. Say you aspire to become a bestselling author to elevate your professional network and business profile. Where do you begin?
Start with the ultimate goal—landing on the bestsellers list—and scaffold it with intermediary objectives. Your initial aim might be as simple as learning how to write a book.
Once you’ve studied the techniques employed by successful authors, you can outline milestones along your journey. These stepping stones encompass planning, writing, editing, designing, marketing, and ultimately publishing your book.
In this manner, the short-term goals become scaffolding for your overarching objective of becoming a bestselling author.
Long-term Goals vs. Short-term Goals
Long-term objectives serve as the guiding stars that help crystallize your ambitions. Within them, reside the seeds of short-term objectives – the stepping stones that usher you toward monumental accomplishments.
Consider your long-term triumphs as constellations in the night sky, while your short-term goals function as the guiding lights that illuminate your path.
Picture your team conceiving a groundbreaking app poised to garner a million views annually within two years. These objectives serve as the rudders steering your choices and delineating the destiny of your application. Envision the incremental strides necessary to ascend toward loftier achievements – these are the essence of your short-term and long-term career goals.
Navigating Business Goals vs Personal Goals
It’s imperative to navigate the distinctions between long-term goals for your business, your team, and your personal growth.
While certain goals might align—such as financial or professional achievements—others are tailored exclusively to personal aspirations, like achieving a better work-life balance, honing your time management skills, or laying the groundwork for a comfortable retirement. Recognizing and differentiating between these different types of goals is essential.
Goals for your whole business might pertain to business growth or revenue growth. Team goals could involve communication skills or adding more employees to your roster.
Sometimes these goals might overlap with your personal goals.
But it’s good to have goals for yourself that are completely separate from your business, too. For example, quantifiable goals for improving your time management, becoming a better parent or life partner, a healthy diet, or saving for retirement. These goals are intended for personal growth.
Why Set Long-Term Goals?
Before we talk about some examples of long-term goals, make sure you understand why these types of goals are so crucial and how they can help.
The act of setting definitive long-term career goals catalyzes elevating your performance and bolstering your self-assurance. It’s a reflection of the unwavering belief you hold in your capacity to acquire knowledge and leverage it for your betterment.
Every stride you take towards self-improvement invariably enhances your job performance. Furthermore, goals possess the remarkable potential to augment your workplace contentment through the refinement of your day-to-day objectives.
Sustain Focus and Motivation
Long-term goals emerge as beacons amid the routine challenges of each day. They bestow a sense of direction upon your endeavors, infusing purpose into your actions.
By persistently advancing new skills in the areas that genuinely matter, these objectives provide intrinsic motivation and a positive mindset that propels you forward. The achievement of short-term milestones en route to your ultimate goal fuels an enduring sense of determination.
Uphold Your Vision
As the operational intricacies of daily tasks accumulate, the clarity of your original business dream can sometimes waver.
Long-term goals rekindle the passion that initially fueled your dream country or venture’s inception. Functioning as a bridge between mundane daily responsibilities and your aspirational vision, these goals make your dream palpable and attainable.
Enhance Your Business Operations
Continuous refinement of your day-to-day business operations is a linchpin for sustainable growth. The more streamlined your processes, the higher your overall performance.
In this context, long-term goals are akin to a compass, guiding you toward operational optimization and amplification of revenue streams. They provide a framework to systematically identify areas of improvement, innovate, and thereby elevate the efficiency and effectiveness of your business operations.
Incorporating personal or professional development objectives, such as obtaining a professional certification, attending a leadership course, or honing public speaking skills, into your long-term goals can empower you with the tools to lead with authority and navigate complex challenges effectively.
Ultimately, weaving the threads of long-term goals into the fabric of your business and personal aspirations not only shapes a successful career path but also nurtures a life imbued with meaningful achievements.
How To Set Your Long-Term Business Goals
There’s a simple five-part formula for developing a sense of direction that you can use for both your personal and your personal or professional advancement goals for the rest of your life.
It’s called the GOSPA Formula.
The letters in the word GOSPA stand for Goals, Objectives, Strategies, Priorities, and Activities.
First, the formula starts with setting your own goals first. A goal is a specific place where you want to end up, at the end of a specific time. For example, your goal could be a certain volume of sales, or a certain level of profitability at the end of a quarter or the end of a year.
Every goal you set should be SMART. A SMART goal is:
- Specific. A specific goal is not vague–it outlines exactly what you are trying to do.
- Measurable. Use quantifiable metrics to help you measure when you’ve reached the end goal.
- Achievable. This might not be the time to shoot for the stars. You don’t want to end up discouraged if you can’t reach your goal. Challenge yourself, but make sure the goal is within the realm of possibility.
- Relevant. Every goal you set should be relevant to what’s going on in your business.
- Timely. Finally, a SMART goal will have a deadline. Specify a date by which you need to achieve this goal.
An example of a SMART business goal might be, “Double your monthly revenue within the next three years.”
For a personal goal, you could set a goal such as, “By the end of the year, I want to be able to run five miles.”
Setting SMART goals is helpful because they outline a clear vision with an actionable plan. You’re more likely to reach a goal that adheres to these parameters.
The letter O stands for objectives. These are the sub-goals that you’ll need to accomplish to achieve your long-term goal.
Breaking up your big goals into smaller ones is one of the best goal-setting tips I can give you.
Long-term goals are ideal for your big picture, but if you only focus on your major goals, you’re likely not going to reach them as easily. Instead, you want to take that goal and split it into several smaller achievable goals that will ultimately lead you to the big one.
Once you have a long-term goal in place, medium-term goals should come next, and then short-term goals.
If your long-term goal will take years to complete, consider using months as a time reference for your medium-term and long-term goals examples and weeks or days for your short-term goals.
Maybe your long-term goal is to launch a new product in the next two years. Within a certain number of months, less than a year, you may want to create and test a prototype.
Short-term goals, like research, testing, or gathering materials, will help you reach the prototype stage and help you get to your bigger goal.
The third letter in GOSPA stands for strategies. Your strategy is the method you use to accomplish the objectives of your goals.
For example, if we look at sales, your strategy could be to build an internal sales force or you could outsource all sales to a professional organization. Within this could have numerous sub-strategies within your overall, single sales strategy.
Next in the GOSPA formula is setting your priorities. Not all goals are alike. You may need to start working on some of your goals right away. But others might be able to simmer on the back burner until you’re ready for them.
The million-dollar question is how can you decide which goal or goals to work toward first?
To help you decide, make a list of all your business and financial goals first. Physically write them out with a pen and paper.
Next, figure out how important each goal is to you. Consider creating a value system, such as 1-5, and assigning each goal a number based on importance. You can also rank your goals based on urgency.
If you’re getting external pressure from someone else about a certain goal, or if that goal needs to be completed within a certain timeline for any reason, it might be more urgent than the others.
From there, you can decide which goals you want to prioritize the most. But this list doesn’t have to be set in stone. It’s okay to come back to your goals–say, once a month–and reevaluate. You can always change your strategy for setting long-term goals in the future.
The final letter in the GOSPA Formula is A, which stands for activities. These are the specific daily functions that are delegated to individuals with standards of performance and set deadlines.
If you’ve thought out this process completely, each activity will be determined by the current priorities. Each achievement of your priorities will lead to the accomplishment of the strategy.
When your strategy is carried out, you’ll achieve your objectives and at the end of the period, you’ll reach your goals for a specific level of sales or profitability.
One of the primary qualities of executives in high-profit businesses is that they are continuously going through the strategic planning process. They are always playing down the board. They’re always thinking about the future and about the different things they can do, and how to set up realistic timelines and goals to make their desired future a reality.
Once you’ve performed the GOSPA formula on your goals, all that’s left to maintain your growth is to track your progress.
This step is essential—most successful people regularly check in on their progress, considering the actionable steps they’ve been taking to help them achieve long-term goals.
The method you use to track your progress might vary depending on the nature of a certain goal. At a basic level, however, you want to make a note of everything you do to help reach those long-term goals. Then set time aside to sit down and review.
How much time did you spend last week working toward your goal?
What short-term goals did you check off?
Have you run into any obstacles or roadblocks that might alter your overall timeline?
By carefully tracking your progress as you head toward the finish line, you’ll get valuable firsthand insights that you can use to inform your strategy throughout the entire process.
5 Examples Of Long-Term Business Goals
Do you feel ready to start setting some long-term personal goals, but unsure of where to start? Take a look at these examples of long-term business goals.
Launch A New Product
Launching a new product or service could make an excellent business goal. Depending on the product specifications, it could take anywhere from a few months to several years to bring the product to the market.
This isn’t a process you want to rush–you want any new product or service that you offer to be as high-quality as possible.
Increase Your Sales And Earnings
Increasing your revenue could also serve as a long-term goal for your company. Choose a specific number and a time frame so you’ll know when you’ve reached this goal. For example: “We want to see $XXX in monthly revenue by this month and this year.”
Then figure out what smaller goals you need to set to see the sales numbers you want to see.
Grow Your Social Media Presence
Numbers aren’t everything on social media. The amount of followers you have is important. But engagement is extremely important, too–and so is your overall company reputation and what people are saying about you online.
If you decide to set a long-term goal that relates to social media, consider which metrics are most relevant to your other business goals (for example, your click-through rate will likely have a big impact on your revenue). Then include those in your goal.
Expand Into A New Market
Another example of a long-term goal is to expand into a new market. This can be a great way to pull ahead of your competition. Smaller goals to help you reach a new market could include conducting market research, getting feedback from your current customers, and figuring out what kind of timeline this goal will require.
Hire A Larger Team
Hiring more employees can help grow your business as you bring new perspectives and new skill sets into the room. But don’t hire just for the sake of hiring–hire strategically, figuring out which positions will be the most helpful. If you’re trying to grow your social media presence, a new social media manager might be in order.
Goal setting isn’t always easy. But setting long-term goals is the best way to build your dream job or company and advance your career plan, taking concrete steps toward whatever success means for you.
Looking for more goal-setting advice to help you get started? Check out my 14-Step Goal-Setting Guide. This free ebook outlines the strategies you need to avoid common mistakes and succeed with your goals.
If you’re ready to invest in your own business and your personal life like never before, this is the resource for you–my best goal-setting tips all in one place.
About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.