Set goals and change your life – Mid term goals, what, why, and how to create them.
Two simple mental exercises profoundly changed my life for the better. The first was writing my eulogy. The second and less morbid is the habit of creating goals. The process of creating goals brings clarity to your values.
It distills down the millions of thoughts and dreams swirling around in your mind. You need to get clear on what you genuinely want to endure the setbacks that will inevitably happen to you. The resilience required to persevere through adversity is created through the process of setting goals.
When it comes to goal setting, there are three main types: short-term, mid-term, and long-term. Mid-term goals are my favorite and the most important. Mid-term goals are the goldilocks of goals, right in the sweet spot of not too long and not too short.
Mid-term goals are big and bold enough to impact your life but still close enough to see them as they come into focus. This post will focus on defining mid-term goals, how to create them, and tips to make it easier as you go forward.
Are you ready to make your goals a reality? Yes? Outstanding, let’s get started.
Here are the critical points to takeaway before diving into the details.
- Set goals that encourage you to push yourself out of your comfort zone
- Set goals that will excite you when achieved
- All goals need to be quantifiable; let the numbers tell you if you got there
- Let yourself fall in love with the goal-setting process
- Setting goals brings clarity to your vision of ultimate success.
What are mid-term goals?
Mid-term goals are the secret weapon of goal setting. They’re ambitious and excited but close enough to realize measurable progress along your journey. Mid-term goals are goals you set with a timeline between 1 and 3 years.
This reasonable time frame allows enough time for you to make progress on complex and challenging puzzles. It also forces you to chunk down your larger vision into smaller pieces, so it doesn’t get pushed back to “someday.” The elusive day in the future that you never get to, “someday.”
- Short term goals are less than 1 year
- Mid-term goals are greater than 1 year and less than 3 years
- Long term goals are greater than 3 years in the future
Here’s a pro-tip when it comes to long-term goals. There are two phases of long-term goals.
The first phase is between 3 and 5 years. Never underestimate how much you can accomplish between 3 and 5 years with the proper focus and applied energy.
The second phase of long-term goal planning is anything over 5 years. Anything over 5 years is beyond the horizon of life. The world is moving too fast to spend significant time planning for things 5 years into the future.
Let plans over 5 years be what they genuinely are, dreams of the ambitious heart. Let them grow and slowly mature, but don’t force them to be anything more than what they’re meant to be.
Use these fuzzy visions of the future to craft your mid-term goals. Then, work backward from the bigger picture. Ask yourself, “What can I accomplish 3 years from now to make progress towards my long-term goals?”
Why are mid-term goals important?
Mid-term goals are essential because they have the power to create a compelling future. Mid-term goals push you outside your comfort zone but are still realistic when adequately designed.
The real meat and potatoes of achieving exciting goals happen in the 1 to 3-year time frame. Getting a promotion, falling in love, having a child, building the financial habits that will change your life, or getting in the best shape of your life.
These are the type of goals that alter the trajectory of your life. So why not design plans that create the future you want? Don’t wait around and let life happen to you.
Life can stomp all over you if you let it. Chaos is the Universe’s natural order. You must fight back with positive and intentional action!
Give yourself a real mission and a new direction towards a rich and compelling future. That’s what mid-term goals are all about.
If that’s not important and reason enough to set mid-term. Well, you’re on your own partner. Best out of luck, and I hope the Universe goes easy on you. Maybe you’ll stumble into lady luck and figure it all out by chance.
Mid-term goals examples
Mid-term education goals
Never stop learning, education is a lifelong process, and it’s critical to always be learning new things.
Consider significant changes like returning to school full time or earning professional certifications/diplomas. Part-time schooling and online course are great less time-intensive ways to continue your education.
For working professionals
- Finish your degree, high school, or undergraduate college.
- Go back to school, full-time or part-time, for a master’s degree.
- Earn a professional certificate/diploma
- Learn copywriting
- Learn how to code (data science, web/app development, etc.)
- Learn design and video creation
Everyone’s educational journey is unique, so set goals that are important to you. Don’t let anyone else dictate your needs and objectives.
- Finish all your required courses for your major
- Get accepted into a study abroad program for a semester
- Maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher
- Complete a research project for your major outside of standard classes
- Finish your degree in four years (you’d be surprised how uncommon this goal is)
Mid-term career goals
According to BLS, the average tenure at a job in 2020 was 4.1 years. Therefore, planning your transition from your current to your next employer requires a mid-term goal or two!
- Start a new job
- Start a new career
- Start a side hustle
- Get a promotion
- Get a raise
- Add performance-based compensation to your package
- Negotiate for equity compensation
- Become a team lead
- Become a manager
Mid-term health goals
Being healthy makes every aspect of your life easier. That’s my belief, and one day, science will prove it. I’m sure of it. To be a high achiever, you need high energy and a high functioning mind. Both of which are the net benefits of a well-functioning healthy body. Regular exercise makes you smarter, so even if you don’t get six-pack abs, at least you’ll be more intelligent than you were.
All great fitness goals are mid-term goals. You can radically improve your health in 1 to 3 years with good habits and an okay plan. Just execute and keep on trying to improve!
- Complete a marathon
- Decrease your weight to x pounds
- Lower your cholesterol to y HDL/LDL
- Run 2 miles in 10 minutes
- Complete 10 pullups
- Do 50 pushups in a row
- Squat your body weight
- Bench press your body weight
- Touch your toes from a sitting position
- Standup from the ground from a lying position without touching your hands to the ground
Mid-term family goals
All great outcomes require thoughtfulness and commitment. Your family is the most essential part of your life and requires planning.
It’s all too common for people to ignore this key area of life when creating goals. Career goals probably outweigh family goals 100 to 1. That says something about the culture America built for itself. It’s totally out of balance!
- Find a partner and fall in love
- Have a baby
- Be a great partner and parent (good key results will help make this less fluffy)
- Buy a house
- Become a coach for one of your kid’s sports team
- Make sure all your kids graduate high school or college
- Teach your kids simple money habits to make them wealthy.
Mid-term financial goals
Okay, now it’s time to get to the money goals. I know this is a website about financial independence, but it’s also about life. Money is just a tool to create the life you want.
Achieving financial freedom unlocks the authentic version of life; it is the beginning, not the journey’s end. Creating reasonable financial goals will help you achieve your financial independence goal even faster. You may even exceed it and find a whole new level of abundant living.
- Pay off high-interest credit card debt
- Pay off high-interest auto debt
- 3 months of cash saved or invested (safety net)
- 6 months of cash saved or invested (safety net)
- 12 months of cash saved or invested (safety net)
- Pay off your student loans
- A net worth of zero
- Major purchase, wedding
- Major purchase, house
- Major purchase, college
- Major purchase, house remodeling project
- Achieve a savings rate of 25%
- Achieve a savings rate of 33%
- Achieve a savings rate of 50%
- Net worth greater than $50,000
- Net worth greater than $100,000
- Net worth greater than 5 years of expenses
- Net worth greater than 10 years of expenses
- Net worth greater than 25 years of expenses
- Net worth greater than 33 years of expenses
How to create midterm goals
There are three common starting points for creating mid-term goals.
- I have long term goals that I want to make more progress on
- I have short term goals or activities, but I want to make a more significant impact on my life
- I have no goals. I’m just living life one day at a time.
If you have long-term goals, midterm goals facilitate progress towards your long-term vision. The midterm goals act as a half-point or just a milestone towards a larger image you have for your life. For example, you have a long-term goal of early retirement. A midterm goal could be achieving a net worth of 10 times your annual expenses. Of course, you wouldn’t be financially independent at this midterm goal. Still, it’s impressive progress towards the larger purpose and worth celebrating when you achieve it.
Let’s jump to the other end of the spectrum. Having a list of short term goals or activity list of things you want to do, is the most common starting point.
At my corporate job, people always start with a list of activities +90% of the time. People have an urge to just list out all the things they want to do. All the fun or exciting activities they assume will amount to something once they’re done checking it off the to-do list.
Most people don’t have goals. They have to-do lists of activities.
The big question to answer when starting here is, “What is the ultimate outcome you want to see after you finish all these things? How do you know all this effort will be worth it? “
You must define what success looks like in as much detail as possible. What does this win look like, what does it feel like, and how will it make you feel? Answering these questions helps connect you to the compelling future trapped in your subconscious mind.
What is the purpose of all these short-term goals or activities? How are they related? Find the themes or patterns among them. Your to-do list is driving towards something, but you need to figure out what that is!
The last common starting place: is having no goals. All you have is a blank canvas, so jump right into mid-term goal planning!
No matter where you start, the core process is the same.
First, you need to ask yourself, what do I really want? What is success for me in this area of my life? What is the compelling future that will excite me and energize me throughout my journey going forward?
Be specific and write it down. The editing process and rewriting your goals until they are right is integral to success. If you already knew exactly what your goals were, you would have accomplished them by now.
Write down your goals. You must write them down, edit them, and make every version better.
I fundamentally believe using the OKR methodology is the easiest and best way to set goals. Therefore, I use them for business and personal goal setting.
Let’s use achieving “financial security” as a mid-term goal to illustrate the OKR framework.
Objective: Achieve financial security.
This is my mission. This is the mid-term goal I’m aiming for. How will I know if I achieve it? How will I know that I have financial security? That’s what the KRs of OKRs are for. KR stands for “key results.”
The KRs define the achievement of my objective. Here’s what financial security means to me.
Objective: Achieve financial security.
Key Result #1 – $1.2 million invested in my FIRE portfolio
Key Result #2 – 6 months of cash saved in a high yield savings account
Key Result #3 – Spend less than $3000/mo on my necessary expenses for 9 of 12 months
Financial security is enough money to pay for my necessary expenses for the rest of my life. I’ll never have to worry about having enough money to pay for housing, food, transportation, utilities, and insurance. Of course, I’ll still need to work to have money to pay for entertainment and travel, but the basic needs are taken care of. It’s a fantastic milestone on your path to financial freedom.
I added two more key results to round out the spirit of feeling secure.
#2 is a cash amount to cover short-term expenses or needs.
#3 ensures I have a lot of awareness and confidence in knowing what my costs will be in the future.
When I achieve all three results, I’ll proudly say I achieved my objective and am financially secure!
Smart goals are another popular method for creating goals. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
It’s an acceptable method and very similar to OKRs. However, OKRs make more sense and are easier to implement and build on.
No matter what planning method you use, know that you’ll stink initially.
Setting goals is a skill that you must build by practicing!
You can’t get in shape by going to the gym one time. The same applies to goal setting. You can’t become great at OKRs by doing them one time.
Repetition is the mother of skill!
Tips for creating midterm goals
When setting mid-term goals, here are a few things to keep top of mind. First, your goals need to be specific and measurable. Get clear with the principal intention of your ideas.
Ask yourself, why do I want this? Ask yourself five times, and you’ll arrive at the truth. The process of the five whys is a secret power.
Once you know what you want, the next step is to ensure it’s measurable. How will you know when you achieve this mission? What quantifiable outcomes define achievement? Those are your key results.
Be specific with your mission and make your key results measurable.
Make sure your mid-term goals are aligned with your overall life goals. What do you ultimately want to achieve with your life? What are the values that define a successful life?
Don’t set mid-term goals that are misaligned with these values. That will create incredible conflict in your heart and mind. Be true to yourself and keep your larger life goals in mind when designing mid-term goals.
Make your mid-term goals hard to achieve. They should be realistic in the sense that they are possible. But these goals need to stretch your mind, heart, and physical ability. Change is the only way to grow in a manner that fulfills your heart and soul.
Next, create timelines.
I gave you the 1 to 3-year timeframe, and the boundaries of mid-term goal setting. It’s up to you to specify when your specific goals will be completed in that timeframe.
What’s your target date for each goal? Nail it down, and then go for it. Only you will know if it’s too short or too long.
- Get clear on what you want to achieve
- Set goals that push you out of your comfort zone
- Creat key results that quantify the achievement of your goal
- Once you have your midterm goal, then you can create your activity list
- The inputs, or activities, are things you need to do to make the outcome you want to happen!
- Chunk down your mid-term goals into short terms for even more clarity
No matter your mid-term goals, remember to enjoy the process. Don’t try and cheat your way to the end of the process; that leads to uninspiring goals.
My favorite resource to learn the principles of world-changing goal setting is Measure What Matters, by John Doerr. It’s written about OKRs for business, but the main takeaways are life-changing. Apply them to your personal life, and you’ll find wild success.
- Learn OKRs
- Get inspired by companies that use them
- Be an ambassador for change
- Your go-to reference guide