Last week I talked about the importance of knowing the “why” behind your goals and now this week I want to talk about the difference between long term, short term, and process goals. All three are important but knowing the difference and which ones to focus on can be the difference in achieving them or not.
Goals are normally thought of as future achievements. They are dreams and wishes for something you want to happen in the future. By the time I was 9 years old, I already had my long-term goal (or dream) – to play on the LPGA Tour. That is all I wanted to do. I never made a backup plan, never thought about another profession or career. Not long after that, I set another shorter, but still, long-term goal, to play at Furman University. Because of the legacy of the Furman Women’s Golf program, I knew it was my best opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Dottie Pepper, Betsy King, and Beth Daniel to play on the LPGA Tour. So by the time I was probably 10 or 11 years old, I already had my “long-term goals” in place for my life. I thought I was all set!
Well, the one part of the whole “achieve my dream” process that I forgot about was the process itself. I had all of these long-term goals but I never set goals for the process itself. It never really crossed my mind that the “dream” wasn’t just going to “happen”. I will never forget my college coach sitting me down for our end of the year meetings and asking me what my goals were for the next year. My exact answer was “I don’t know, I don’t really have any, I just want to let things happen.”. If I could pop that 20-year old on the back of the head right now I would.
And not because just setting some goals for the next season would have meant that I would have focused on the process then either, but at least it would have been a better start. It would have given me something to work towards achieving in a shorter term sense so that maybe I would have worked a little hard for something that was closer in time than my long-term goal of playing on the LPGA Tour.
Long-term goals (dreams) are what motivates athletes to work hard every day. While you never, want to dwell on the past, you can also do the opposite and get too consumed with what you want to do in the future. If you are constantly thinking about what you WANT, aren’t you taking away from time and energy that should be put into what you can be doing NOW, in the present?
We all need goals and dreams that we are striving to accomplish, they are what make us get out of bed every day with a purpose in mind. But if we don’t take care of the many, many small steps (the process) that it takes to reach those short and long-term goals (the outcome), then that is all they will ever be.
Write down 2 short term (within 6 months) and 2 long term (1 year or more) goals for each category: academics, golf, recruiting and personal. Then for each goal write down 3 steps you can be doing NOW to help you reach those goals. These are your actions, they are controllable and doable. This will serve as a reminder of what you want to accomplish in the future by doing what it takes TODAY
Long-term goal: Play golf in college
Short term goal: Win a PKB tournament
Process goals: Practice 15+ hours a week, workout 3x a week, send 10 emails to coaches a week
As you will see the goals are a little broad and general, next week I will discuss the importance of making goals that are specific and how realistic they should be.