When planning in the long-term, it is easy to become anxious and stressed.
Medical Advisors: Gladys Elena Villegas, psychologist Jorge Julián Calle Bernal, Psychiatrist
The phrase, “long-term” is one that easily causes fear and anxiety. Whether it is finishing a university degree, writing a thesis, buying a house, getting a promotion, or formalizing a relationship, there are a variety of goals out there that come in different forms. The first step towards starting these plans, and not giving up on the way, is to become motivated.
This refers to the effort that fuels the excitement for a goal, regardless of how long it takes or of the challenges that arise along the way. That is what psychologist and expert in neurolinguistic programming, Gladys Elena Villegas, believes.
It is not as easy as it sounds, however. Such a belief must come from deep within a person and from their values and dreams, “If this motivation comes from wanting to please another or from fulfilling another’s expectations, along the way, the person may begin to feel burdened by their goal.”
This is why many people go through life not doing what they want or doing what they think they should do, “…or what the world is expecting them to do, and they get into goals or projects that become exhausting for them.” Once this answer is clear, the next step is to further analyze by answering the question: What are your life priorities? Depending on this answer, you can call upon the intentions and actions needed to go after them. When deciding on these priorities, people will find that they need short-term and long-term plans that will need to become part of their everyday practices.
STEP BY STEP
In further elaborating this point, psychiatrist Jorge Julián Calle Bernal believes that discipline is key. “The problem with long-term goals is that we end up leaving everything for the last minute. If I am disciplined, every day I will work on that goal and therefore am more likely to achieve it.”
Another fundamental value to this process is persistence, “I can want a lot of things, but if a don’t act in alignment with what I want, I have to accept that I will go down the wrong road. I have a vision and my mission is to begin walking towards it. On my way, I need strength, clarity, discipline, order, effort, and consistency. That is the difference between people that achieve what they want and those that do not,” states Gladys Elena Villegas.
tips for reaching a long-term goal
- Make a timeline. When people can visualize their goal in stages, they will be able to focus better on them. By reaching small goals every day or every week, this will help you get what you want. Also, if necessary, set work schedules.
- Make sure your daily actions are fully aligned with your purpose. Ask yourself: do I need help? If I want to improve my finances, should I seek advice for that? Be consistent with your goal: for example, if you want to pay off a loan in less time, avoid any unnecessary spending.
- Set feasible goals. This is about being realistic, as people often establish very ambitious objectives in a very short period of time or, at the other extreme, they extend their deadlines and fall into becoming lazy and unmotivated.
- Beware of anticipatory anxiety. As psychiatrist Jorge Julián Calle Bernal explains, “Many people are so anxious that they start worrying about what they don’t need to worry about yet. By setting a good timeline and sticking with it, we no longer have to think about our goal as something catastrophic. Thinking about what could go wrong leads us to avoidant behaviors, which make us give up.”
- Work as a team or alone. Making this decision is important, as long-term goals require having good teams that can collaborate, identify tasks and follow through with them.
- Find strategies that help you continue. To achieve something, states psychologist Gladys Villegast, it is important to name it and believe in it. The recommendation for this is to make a plan, keep your timeline close by, visualize your goal every day (either through writing or by posting images), repeat positive phrases such as “Yes, I can,” or “I have the ability to do this,” seek out help by listening to motivational audio books or reading regular books, and seek out the support of people that can leave you with advice and encourage you when you are feeling weak.
May interest you: Goal-planning with pen and paper