Sacrificing Short-Term Satisfaction for Long-Term Happiness

If you are into investing and want to make the most from your effort, you must balance short-term satisfaction and long-term reward. Otherwise, you get stuck in a downward spiral from which escape seems impossible. The good news is that you can overcome that problem. Learning the difference and why you should keep an eye on the long-term is vital.

You achieve much more and gain true fulfillment, and you will know you did the right thing. You must explore both sides and gain a true understanding of how these concepts work. Even if you don’t get the outcome you want right away, learning about short- and long-term satisfaction goes a long way toward your goals. The key is to understand how your brain works and to craft a solid plan. With those things in mind, you should have no trouble moving forward.

Active Investor: Learn How Your Brain Works

Learn how your brain works for the best results. When it comes to short- and long-term satisfaction, you deal with the emotional and logical side of your brain. Your emotional side wants a reward right away. In investing, this happens when you want a path that leads to a faster payout. The logical side of your brain, on the other hand, wants you to wait longer for the larger payout. Also, most people look only at their short-term goals by default. You must train your mind to look at the benefits of overlooking short-term gratification in favor of long-term reward.

Make a Plan

Having a plan is vital. Many people go through life without a solid sense of direction. If you don’t have a plan, you have no way of knowing if you are moving in the right direction. You have no way of tracking your progress or knowing where you are. On the other hand, a solid plan keeps you on track and lets you monitor your progress. Every active investor needs a plan, and creating one is a powerful step in the right direction.

Think about what you would like to achieve over the coming months and years, and you won’t have trouble reaching your desired outcome. How much profit would you like to earn over the next five years? What steps should you take to get there? Make an outline of your plan for the best possible results, and you won’t have to worry about too many unneeded complications.

Don’t overthink your plan at the start. You can always change it as you move forward, and most people do. Review your plan all the time to make sure you are on track to reach your goals. This helps you maintain your motivation and ensures you don’t forget anything along the way.

Write Down Your Goals

Writing your goals down is another vital part of the process. Consider all the things you would like to achieve over the coming days, weeks, months and years, and you will have no problem staying on track. Create two lists if you would like to get the most from your effort. The first list should contain all the goals you would like to achieve within the next few weeks or months, and the second list contains your goals for the coming years and decades.

Your goals don’t have to stay the same for decades. If you learn new information or face unexpected issues, your long-term goals can change. Also, you could experience something that changes your mind about what you would like to achieve over the long run. The important part is having a solid starting point so that you know where to go and whether you are getting there.

Do your best to relate your short- and long-term goals. For example, if you would like to make a large purchase over the next several years, putting enough money to the side each month is a great short-term goal. Reaching your short-term goals gives you enough motivation to keep pushing yourself forward, and you won’t have trouble getting the outcome for which you have been hoping.

Consider Both Sides

If you want to achieve the most from your effort, look at both sides of the situation. Short-term satisfaction might be tempting, but it’s not as good as what you could achieve over the long run. Consider that many people get into active investing to make fast money, so they turn to short-term investments. Depending on where you are and what you would like to achieve, this might not be a bad choice.

But you should always take an objective look at both sides. Consider what you could gain by opting for long-term satisfaction instead of short-term gain, and you will be glad you did. Waiting for the long-term reward is not always easy. But you get a much greater benefit if you do it.

The path you take depends on your resources and why you got into investing in the first place. In some cases, you can take and enjoy both paths. Make several investments that pay off quickly, but you can also make at least one long-term investment that grows over the years.

Start Small if You Must

If you are just now learning about these concepts, setting long-term goals is not going to be easy. The way you act and behave conditions your brain. Consider someone who gets up every morning at 5:00 a.m. If that person gets a new job and no longer must get up that early, they still wake up at 5:00 a.m. even without an alarm.

If you spend a long time focused on short-term gratification, you must train your brain to look at the long term. Begin by slowly transitioning your mindset toward the long run, and you will get there without too many problems.

Look Toward the Future

Looking toward the future is critical if you would like to achieve the outcome for which you have been looking. Imagine you are several years in the future. How will that future look if you don’t work toward your long-term goals, and how will it look if you do work toward them?

Looking at the future this way is a powerful step in the right direction. Many people view the future as so far away that they don’t believe it’s important. But your stance changes if you vividly imagine your future. You know you will get there one day, and you get the required motivation to make it happen.

Reward Yourself

Working all the time and never taking time off causes you to burn out. Many investors with an eye for the future dedicate too much time and attention to working all the time. This path might look appealing at first glance, but you can lose your motivation faster than you expect. Avoid that setback by rewarding yourself as often as you can. Your rewards don’t have to be big. Try doing one thing you enjoy each day, and you keep stress under control and maintain your motivation to keep moving forward.

Review Your Progress

If you are serious about sticking to your plan, don’t forget to track your progress. Depending on the size of your company, review your progress at least four times each year. Look at your plan to see if you are on track for reaching your short- and long-term goals. If you are not, see what you can do to catch up so that you don’t stay behind.

Checking your progress from time to time is a powerful way to ensure you don’t go too far off the path you selected. Noticing that you are not on track is not always enough to reach the outcome you want and deserve. If you would like to avoid similar problems in the future, ask yourself why you are not on track and what you can do about it. You can then make the required changes to prevent additional problems from taking place.

Active Investing: Congratulate Yourself

Each time you complete a difficult goal, remember to congratulate yourself on doing the job right. Take some time to appreciate the effort you put into your goals, and you will feel much better about your journey. Depending on what you have achieved, reward yourself with a nice dinner or a vacation.

If you closed a major deal, buy yourself a new vehicle or home. Congratulating yourself is the smart way to maintain your motivation and remember how much progress you have been making. No matter what you would like to achieve, you take your results to a new level before you know it. The right approach gives you a great combination of short-term reward and long-term satisfaction.

Tracking your results ensures you are on track and that you don’t fall behind, giving you peace of mind. Review your progress so that you don’t make too many mistakes along the way, and you will be glad you did. Making the transition in your mind might not be easy when you begin.

Although you might have trouble getting started, things get easier when you gain traction. You will make your life much better and take your profit to where you have always wanted it.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.

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Joe Fairless