(You have probably scrolled up and down to see if you’re at the right place. Yes you are. Continue to read.)
Short term goals are goals that you want to achieve instantaneously. There is immediate result and you benefit directly.
Long term goals are goals that you want to achieve in the future.
It will take you a while to achieve these goals and you have to be patient and persistent to achieve your goal.
Bear with me now…This is going to make sense, I promise.
Example. You are hungry.
Short term goal: I want to eat something.
Long term goal: I want to maintain my gorgeous figure. (ahem…Just go with me on this one…)
If you focus on your short term goal, anything will do: a snickers bar, ice cream, donuts, anything.
But if you bring in the long term goal, you will need to think about how you are going to achieve your long term goal, while keeping in mind your short term goal.
In other words:
how am I going to still my hunger without ruining my fantastic figure.
Got it? Simple, right?
So, why am I talking about goals?
Because they relate to parenting.
Parenting is a job where you constantly have to remember that it is about the long term goals.
But the present is so in our face, that sometimes we forget and go with the short term goals and eventually pay the price.
Example: You’re in the supermarket with your child.
Your child is tired cranky, difficult.
But you have to do this.
We all know that this is a scenario for a possible disaster.
And we all know how easy it is, to give the child some candy or a cookie and get the job done.
(I’ve done it, you’ve done it, I’m guessing we all have.)
But what is the long term goal here?
You want to be able to do your groceries in peace and quiet.
And possibly have a great time doing it, maybe even some skipping and singing.
Too far fetched? Okay, let’s back up..
How do you achieve that long term goal?
By NOT giving the candy.
By planning and repeating rules, by making sure your child is fed and well rested,
whenever you enter the supermarket.
By praising your child for good behavior,
by making sure you build up the amount of time you spend at the supermarket.
How do you achieve that long term goal?
This is what I do all day, it is hard.
It requires an enormous amount of energy.
Sometimes I have to be patient, because I am somewhere in between the process of achieving my long term goal
and I just cannot see the end of it. Sometimes I’m tempted to go for the short term goal.
You want me to give your ten teddy bears, little blankets and little beds for the night?
And you want me to make sure they are all in the right bed with the right blanket,
and you change your mind about it every second? Sure kid. If I get to crash on the couch and you finally go to sleep after that.
Sure, I’ll do it.
But then I ask myself this question:
Do I really want to spend my evenings running around, taking care of dolls and teddy bears
and every other stuff that you seem to come up with just around bedtime?
Or do I want bedtime to be quiet and peaceful and efficient.
And I realize, that I want the latter.
So I take a deep breath, and choose the battle.
On my last nerves, desperate to choose the couch instead.
I explain to my hysterical screaming child that it is bedtime, not playing time.
She will lie down now and Mommy will go downstairs.
She screams, she cries, she stomps her feet. I go up and down the stairs four or five times.
She won’t calm down. I cuddle, but I don’t give in.
Finally she goes to sleep.
I throw myself on the couch, tired, discouraged.
“Mommy I want the big bear and the little bear and my giraffe, and…”
“You can pick two stuffed animals and then you will go to sleep. It’s sleepy time, not playtime.”
She screams. I kiss and cuddle her and walk away.
Before I reach the couch it is quiet. Really quiet.
I sneak upstairs to see what she’s doing.
She’s fast asleep with three stuffed animals..
I am well on my way to reaching my long term goal.
Does any of this sound familiar? What are your long term (parenting) goals?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our writer in The Netherlands, Mirjam.
The picture used in this post is credited to the author.