The Importance of Setting Intermediate Goals

Setting objectives is one of the most certain methods to enhance your life, sense of well-being, and overall contentment.

Many studies have shown that individuals who wrote down their goals were far more likely to achieve greater income levels than those who did not have written goals. Setting intermediate goals is also an effective approach to establishing goals.

There are many more reasons why we should be committed to goal-setting, but before we get into the meat of this essay, let’s define “intermediate goals.”

What Is an Intermediate Goal?

There are many sorts of goals. So what does an “intermediate goal” imply?

The purpose of any intermediate goal is to help you achieve a longer-term objective in the next three to five years. We may deviate up to a year or two, but three to five years is a good range.

What Do We Use Intermediate Goals For?

An intermediary objective connects the goals you’ll be working on this year and next with your longer-term lifetime aspirations.

For example, if you want to retire with $2 million in assets, that’s a long-term goal. Saving X money over the next three years would therefore be an intermediate objective that bridges the gap between here and then.

The disadvantage of long-term objectives is that they are frequently many years away, which means the benefits received for reaching them are too distant to inspire us now. An intermediate goal closes this gap by bringing a prize closer to you.

Our brains are wired to want immediate gratification. This is one of the main reasons why weight loss is so difficult.

Aside from the science behind how fat gets stored in our bodies, reducing weight is simply a matter of eating less and exercising more. The problem is that when we feel hungry, our bodies want food now! We require immediate gratification.

So, no matter how much we understand eating that additional plate of rice will not help us lose weight, we eat it anyway because our brains place a premium on quick pleasure over long-term goals.

Intermediate Goals are Actually Links to Long-Term Goals

Intermediate objectives should be viewed as stepping stones to something greater. The motivation of individuals over a long period fades and wanes. Goals that are too far in the future are frequently neglected, only resurfacing when we think about our New Year’s resolutions.

Finally, it all boils down to why you want to accomplish the goal in the first place. Your reasons must be powerful enough to propel you towards your objective. If your rationale isn’t strong enough, it will feel like you’re pushing a heavy, weighty rock up a never-ending slope.

On the other hand, if your objectives for achieving the goal are compelling enough, they will act like a magnet attracting you towards fulfilling that objective.

If you want to wow your old school pals with a yacht, you will fail in the end because trying to impress others is a poor motivation for attaining a goal. If, on the other hand, your motive for wanting to buy a boat is so that you can live on the ocean and have somewhere to go where you may relax in nature, your motivations will almost certainly be powerful enough to drive you towards success.

Setting intermediate goals is helpful in this regard. They serve as attractors to attract you towards accomplishing your long-term objective.

Creating Milestones and Pathways to your Long Term Goals

Imagine you’ve just completed your studies and gotten your first employment. Your long-term aim, for example, might be to work your way up the corporate ladder over twenty years. However, that might take ten to 20 years, which is far too long for a 20-something.

You may break down the objective into smaller goals to make it more attainable. For example, perhaps all of your company’s top executives hold MBAs; thus, one goal might be to study for and finish your MBA.

One aim could be to advance yourself within five years to a managerial position. You can figure out how to make it happen once you know what you want to accomplish over the next three to five years.

You’ve made a clear road to achieving your long-term objective rather than a big, long-term goal with an unknown path. You’ve created a clear route towards achieving your long-term aim rather than a vague purpose with an unclear path.

When you’ve completed your intermediate aim, take a break, reflect, and seek the next stepping stone leading to the longer-term objective.

This approach can also be used for fitness objectives. Let’s pretend that one of your long-term fitness goals is to run the Boston Marathon in five years. The Boston Marathon has stringent qualifying requirements, which makes it unique. You must be able to show that you have completed a marathon at a specific time under your age and gender.

To qualify for the 2021 London marathon, you must have run a marathon in less than three hours and five minutes if you are male, aged between 45 and 49. A female aged 45 to 49 must finish in under three hours and 50 minutes. It’s tough enough as it is.

If you’ve never run a marathon before, start with some shorter-term objectives—maybe a 5k race followed by a 10k and eventually building up to running your first marathon. After that, you’ll have enough information to alter your training so that you can accomplish that goal in the qualifying time for Boston.

Long-term objectives, on the other hand, provide you with a stronger motivation to keep going until you reach your overall goal. They propel you closer to your longer-term objective.

How to Set Intermediate Goals

If you want to take advantage of intermediate objectives, first establish a long-term objective—a goal that is large enough to inspire and energize you.

For example, my husband and I have a long-term objective of constructing our home—a house we created ourselves. We’ve estimated how much it will cost—which is a lot—and so we’ve broken down the actions into intermediate objectives.

The first step is to save a specific sum of money—about half the total cost. The next step is to discover and purchase a piece of property on which to build the house.

Then we must begin constructing the house. There are three intermediate objectives in that longer-term objective. Savings, acquiring land, and building the home are all required steps.

I have this long-term objective established in my projects section of my notes app, along with pictures of the type of house we want to build (to keep me motivated), and these are broken down into three intermediate goals. We’re almost halfway through the saving money intermediate goal at this point.

The ultimate objective is the long-term aim. It provides you with a goal and a sense of purpose for getting out of bed every morning. Intermediate objectives serve as stepping stones to help you stay on track and ultimately bring you closer to your goal.

Final Thoughts on Setting Intermediate Goals

Everyone has long-term aspirations. However, it’s essential to take a step back and establish intermediate goals that will help you reach your longer-term objectives. Here are the most important lessons on setting intermediate goals.

  1. Create a long-term goal and explain why you want to achieve it.
  2. Break down your long-term goal into parts that last three to five years.
  3. Determine what you’ll need to do to complete your first intermediate goal, then get started.
  4. Regularly assess your intermediate goals (at least once a week).