The Importance of Setting Medium-Term Goals

So often we daydream and think of some far-off goal that we would like to achieve. "I want to play the guitar in a band," "I want to run a marathon", "I want to be better at my job," etc. It's not difficult at that point to break it down into short-term goals… practice some chords in the evening, run on the weekends, or arrive an hour earlier at work. You get in a groove and suddenly you're on the way to reaching that long-term goal.

However, there are so many other goals where that groove is tougher to find once you get started. You begin to feel overwhelmed as you think about the long journey ahead.

This is where medium-term goals and a reward system can really make a difference. A good medium-term goal can keep the "fire" burning. For the examples above you might set a medium-term goal to play 5 of your favorite songs very well, or to run a half marathon, or create one new idea that will help your co-workers. Some may take longer than others, but bridging the gap between short and long doesn't make the journey seem so "out there!"

You still might get bored and not feel the same enthusiasm as you did early on, and that is why it's important to have a reward system. So, if you have your long-term and short-term goals, and you've just come up with your medium-term goal, it's time to reward yourself for progress. An example: if you achieve 90% of your weekly goals, take yourself out to dinner. If you achieve the weekly goals a total of eight times, buy yourself a new toy. If you achieve a medium-term goal, buy something for your house. For achieving a long-term goal, take a trip!

I know… where is the money coming from???? You don't have to go into debt to reward yourself… but I think the little extra money you shell out to stay motivated will be worth it in the long run. You'll gain more than just playing in a band, running a marathon, or being better at your job; you'll gain all that comes with it! Your life will have become enriched along the way and your self-esteem will skyrocket because you've reached something you've always dreamt about!

Never give up… keep fighting for your dreams!

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Member Comments

Mid term goals are my goal. Report
Good article. Report
Love reaching a mid term goal. Keeps me motivated. Report
I have long-term goals and daily tasks to accomplish them, but I like the idea of setting up medium-term goals. I think this might help me to stay motivated. As to rewards, I think a good one for me is to just stop and notice and appreciate to myself what I've accomplished before racing on to the next task on my endless to-do list.. And yes, everyone should do the dishes after every meal. But just to stop and say to myself how nice the clean kitchen looks. And thank myself for a job well done, is free and non-caloric and might do wonders for my mood and self-esteem. Report
Spark has a really good companion article for this one. Rewards are a basic part of learning theory & a good idea when we're establishing new behaviors.

http://www.spar
kpeople.com/r
esource/motiv
ation_articles.asp?id=86 Report
Love this idea. Not a fan of food-based rewards though. Report
I am not one to reward myself usually. It's just not the way I am. I do need to stay motivated though. I have a short-term goal that I started April 1st - to lose 20 pounds by May 22nd. I started out fine, losing 2 lbs. each week. But last week and this week I haven't lost any. I am still exercising and have been doing strength training with weights. My muscles are started to look toned but I am so frustrated that I have hit this plateau. This is bad for me because in the past this has caused me to derail my program. Report
Goals, yes! Rewards, no!! I don't believe in rewarding myself for something I should be doing. That's like rewarding myself for doing the laundry or cleaning the house. "And when you have done all that, say to yourself 'I am an unworthy servant. I have only done my duty.' That sums it up in a nutshell. Report
Great article, but I too would like to see more ideas for no-cost, food-free rewards. A walk in the woods, taking my dog to the park, a guilt-free couple of hours kicking back with a book or old movie can be more relaxing than dinner out if it's going to stretch the budget. Report
rewards are probably one of the hardest things for me --- I most always get what I NEED --- and usually get what I want ???

I know it's a cop out but losing the weight is a pretty NEAT reward for me. Report
KAREN2LOSE55
A super great helpful article. Thanks! Report
COASTAL6
Again, this is a great article! Thank you!
WooHoo! Report
I am trying to give myself a weekly challenge and posting on my blog. Just taking my vitamins each day and drinking at least 4 glasses of water will be a real accomplishment for me right now.

And am moving more - just getting up and doing something for at least 5 minutes every half hour.

Great reminder!! Report
This is great and it put's things into perspective. Report
Good article! Some of the rewards are not for me-like food! Really?!?!
I agree with CUISINEEXAMINER . I too am on a small fixed income & can't reward myself with $$ rewards or going out to dinner...
.CUISINEEXAMINE
R's idea about an article on how to reward ourselves with something that has no cost or is free.
Report


 

About The Author

Joe Downie
Joe Downie
Joe, an exercise enthusiast, is a certified physical fitness instructor and high school soccer coach.
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