Without Long Term Goal Setting You Will Fail

long-term-goal-settingLast week, I listened to the interview I completed with Leon Ho, Creator and Owner lifehack.org.

And Leon’s discussion on ‘Long-term Goal Setting’ jumped out for me.

I realised that I had never set long-term goals (i.e. 5 or 10 years away) for myself. Well not seriously anyway.

Easy Question To Ask, Difficult Question To Answer

It is a bit like the question at an interview ‘Where do you want to be in 5 years time?’ An easy question to ask. A hard one to answer.

I think most individuals answer by saying ‘In your position’!

Leon’s passion is sharing his knowledge on productivity, software engineering and company start-ups. Everything Leon does today ensures he is one-step closer to achieving his long-term goals in each of his passions.

That is what gives Leon his energy, his passion, his drive to succeed and why he has been so successful in his short career.

Do you have long-term goals?

Leon suggests he would not be where he is today if he did not set himself long-term goals.

Here are six steps to support you in creating long-term goals:

1. You need to understand your passions. There is no point in creating a future for yourself, which you are not passionate about.

2. What are your strengths? You have a far superior chance of succeeding if you use your natural strengths.

Your passion can be different to your strengths. Your passion may be writing but it just might not come naturallly to you.

3. If you are unsure of your real passions and strengths, try out new things. What are you naturally good at? What excites you? What task are you doing when time just flies by?

What task would you love to do and would be willing NOT to receive income for it?

That is a great question isn’t it?

4. Once you understand your passions and strengths, take your time to set your goals.

Once set, see yourself achieving the goal NOW.

What does it look like?

Does it feel right?

Does it excite you?

Your answers will show if you have set the right goals.

5. Once you are happy with your goals, write them down and read them every day.

Also, add to each goal, all the major tasks that you have completed which gets you closer to achieving the goal. By reading them everyday it will help focus you and give you the energy to move towards them

6. Regularly review your goals – at least quarterly. You can always add to them, change them, and tweak them to meet your new requirements.

Therefore, if you do not have long-term goals, set some time aside over the next few days and follow the six steps. They can make a huge difference to your success and life.

The rest of the interview with Leon flew by. Leon shared his knowledge on such subjects as building customer relationships, making that jump from Technician to Manager, shaving hours off his working day, long-term goal setting, delegation skills, sharing his passion for productivity and, of course, blogging.

You can get more details on the interview with Leon along with 11 other highly successful individuals here: Great Successful People

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38 Responses to Without Long Term Goal Setting You Will Fail

  1. Justin May 30, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    First, great article — and great questions. I know firsthand the power of simply setting a goal. About 14 years ago, I was living in upstate NY (aka the frozen tundra) and in a dead-end job. On a lark I took a road trip vacation with my cousin down the coast of California. We discussed our five year goals. At the time, mine were 1. Live near the ocean; 2. Have a job that I love, working in an environment with people I liked; and 3. Own a Nissan Altima (I was just 2 years out of school at the time and owning a car free and clear was a big deal). Within 3 years I had achieved the first two…and by year 5, I had paid off the Nissan Altima (that I had purchased in year 2). Needless to say, it started me on a path of setting 5 year goals….

    • Andrew May 31, 2011 at 8:46 am #


      Great story – thanks for sharing.

      What about nowadays…what are your long term goals?


      • Justin May 31, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

        I set these when I turned 38.
        1. Become a parent. (My wife and I are already godparents to three beautiful girls.)
        2. Be debt free. (almost there – only got the mortgage left and we hope to have that paid off in another 2-3 years)
        3. Donate or raise at least $25,000 for charities (we are already halfway there).

        • Andrew June 2, 2011 at 10:10 am #


          I love you goals. It looks like you will be needing a few more soon!


  2. Dennis Edell May 30, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    I could show you a list of domains I’ve registered and what I have planned for them…does that count? 😉

    • Andrew May 31, 2011 at 8:47 am #


      In one way yes…but what about ‘having fun’ goals or ‘finance’ or ‘health’ or…


      • Dennis Edell May 31, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

        This isn’t fun?
        Without this, there is no financial
        Health, well…..

        • Andrew June 2, 2011 at 10:11 am #


          I was thinking more specific financial ones (for example). Like make $10k a month or remove all debt or…


  3. Richard May 31, 2011 at 2:11 am #

    Long term goals help me all the time. It ensures that I have milestones that I want to reach over a certain length of time. That keeps me going.

    That way, if I have a one year goal and a 5 year goal, I know where I will be in 5 years and I know what I need to accomplish in 1 year to be heading in the right direction.

    • Andrew May 31, 2011 at 8:48 am #


      That’s a good approach. I really believe you are in the minority…most don;t set goals and go from day to day.


  4. fred May 31, 2011 at 6:57 am #

    Quite a blunt title — “You will fail!” LOL.
    These are really general bits of good advice that can basically be applied to any facet of your life – whether it’s blog-related or not.
    While there is a type of person who flies by the seat of their pants and just moves forward with no plan and DO find success, I think this is a rare type of person.


  5. Andrew May 31, 2011 at 8:48 am #


    Yeah _ I agree about the title – just wanted to get some attention!

    And agree again…you can/should apply these ‘rules’ to all areas of your life.


  6. Tony June 1, 2011 at 8:05 am #

    If you only have plan for short terms, there’s nothing can be done as good and smooth.

  7. Alice June 1, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    Yes, doing something without any plan is risky. To avoid wasting time and effort, set your goals first. Formulate a plan on how you are planning to attain those goals. Look around and consider the current situation if you have the capacity to obtain it. If you have the available resources like time and money to do it. It is better to set your goals into reality. Remember the SMART! Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Time-bounded..

    • Andrew June 2, 2011 at 10:12 am #


      Excellent advice you are sharing…thanks.

      What are you goals?


  8. Joe June 1, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    Usually short term goals are contrary to long term goals and yes, that´s life 🙂

    Eating shortterm an ice cream against long term health for example.

    • Andrew June 2, 2011 at 10:14 am #


      I would not use the word, “usually”.

      You may eat the odd ice cream but I bet most of the time you are eating healthily if you goal is to be more healthy.


  9. Bogdan June 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    I think long-term goals are what keeps us doing what we are doing right now. Sure, many people quit even with “long-term goals” but in the end, what is a goal without perseverance and hard work?

    • Andrew June 2, 2011 at 10:15 am #


      For me, having goals spurs me on to persevere and work hard.


  10. Corinne Edwards June 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    Dear Andrew –

    Very few posts are worth printing out and studying. This one is a bit of a jolt.

    Geez – I hardly plan what I am going to do next week.

    Guess I have some work to do. Thanks.

    • Andrew June 2, 2011 at 10:16 am #


      It’s not a lot of work though.

      I really believe setting daily/weekly/monthly goals makes a big difference.


  11. Felicia June 2, 2011 at 8:00 am #

    Hi Andrew,
    This is a very interesting and thought-provoking article. Long-term goals are great and it helps us steer clear from the wrong path. It also motivates us when we think that our day is not going so well. I haven’t thought much about what my long-term goals are, but I agree that long-term goals are those that what would make us happy.

    • Andrew June 2, 2011 at 10:17 am #


      If you feel having long-term goals would make you feel happier…perhaps you should set some, no?


  12. Andrew Walker June 2, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the wonderful tips on setting long term goals. I love your idea on writing them and read it every day so we won’t forget about our long term goals.

    • Andrew June 2, 2011 at 10:18 am #


      I have a big white board in my office with mine on…so each time I look at the white board I am reminded of what they are. Works for me!


  13. marj swan June 2, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    i like your idea, If you have the available resources like time and money to do it. It is better to set your goals into reality…thanks for sharing this tips…

    • Andrew June 2, 2011 at 10:20 am #


      You don’t always have to have a lot of money to reach your goals.

      You may set a goal to reduce your outgoings by 25%…that way you need even less money!


  14. Abina June 2, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    I believe that in order to achieve your long term goal, you have to consider your passion. Remember, we are talking about years here. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to do something you don’t like for a lifetime. And to start with your long term goal, start making daily life decisions. What you do today creates a big impact in the future.

    • Andrew June 6, 2011 at 3:14 pm #


      Very true – without natural passion, you won;t get very far.


  15. Petra June 2, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    Hi Andrew,

    I especially like the point about visualizing your goals and making a decision based off of this as to whether or not you have set the right goals for yourself.

    It’s important that you be able to ‘see yourself,’ so to speak, in the place you envision yourself in in five years, ten years, etc.

    Basic, but important point.


    • Andrew June 6, 2011 at 3:15 pm #


      And also a point that many people don’t complete.


  16. Gary Ashton June 6, 2011 at 3:57 am #

    Well written Andrew and you’re so right in saying that trying to achieve a goal involves a lot of factors and the right planning is only one amongst those many factors. Other than having the resource, funds and man power we still need to work on proper planning and a host of other inner quality in ourselves.

    • Andrew June 6, 2011 at 3:17 pm #


      You are right…with JUST planning you won’t get very far.

      For instance…ACTION!


  17. Charlene June 9, 2011 at 4:33 am #

    This is a great piece Andrew! For years, I’ve only learned to set day-to-day goals which made me survived. But now, I’ve realized (through your questions) that long term goal setting allows me to excel and become better in every way. And it doesn’t have to be difficult because you just have to understand what really your passions are.

    • Andrew June 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm #


      Well, I’m pleased the words will make a difference to you.


  18. Dan August 25, 2011 at 2:20 pm #


    Well done. I am passionate about muscle building. My long term goal is to help others with their muscle building goals by providing them with the knowledge that I have obtained over the years. My strengths is my knowledge about muscle building and my desire to succeed. My weakness, as you know, is my IT knowledge. I acknowledged that was my weakness and I sought you out. You are helping me turn my weakness into a strength. Thank you!

    • Andrew August 25, 2011 at 7:16 pm #


      I’m glad I could help.

      I do have my own muscle building goals. I go to the gym every day, 6.30am and do the weights.

      I didn;t tell you this but last year I lost 28lbs. This year just keeping it off.

      But more muscle is needed!


      • Dan August 26, 2011 at 1:33 am #


        Thats awesome! 28 pounds is a lot. All you really need is 2 days a week with total body weight training on each of those days. That will put some muscle on you and lean you out at the same time. Keep it up!


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