Goals

What's more important: short-term goals or long-term ones? What kind of personal goals do people usually set in their life? Not having goals = stagnating?
Vocabulary
  • To work towards (phrasal verb) — make progress towards something you want to achieve.
  • To stagnate (verb) — to stay the same and not grow or develop.
  • Common (adj.) —the same in a lot of places or for a lot of people.
  • Interdependent (adj.) — depending on each other.
  • Long-term (adj.) — happening, existing, or continuing for many years or far into the future.
  • Short-term (adj.) — happening, existing, or continuing for only a little time.
  • To accumulate (verb) — to collect a large number of things over a long period of time.
  • Demoralizing (adj.) — making you lose confidence, enthusiasm, and hope.
Questions and answers
Maria: Do you think people should set personal goals?

Rory: Definitely. I think it’s quite a good way of organizing your life. You have something to aim for and work towards, as opposed to just, I don’t know, floating and doing nothing, really. If you’re not moving forward to something, then you’re moving backwards, aren’t you, really? You’re stagnating.

Maria: What personal goals will people normally set?

Rory: I think probably getting in shape is a big one for people. Anything that involves major lifestyle changes. So, I think getting in shape, going to the gym is probably one of them. Another one might be giving up smoking, for example. So they’re quite common ones. Some goals seem to be built into people as well, like having a family or getting promotions. They seem to be something that people sort of naturally do, as opposed to things that people strive for, like changing their lifestyle.

Maria: Do people set long term goals or short term goals?

Rory: I think they’re interdependent, really, aren’t they? So I think it’s usually a good idea to have long term goals and then to have the short ones to help you get there. For example, like, in the long term, I want to be a primary teacher. But in the short term, in order to achieve this, I’ll read about child psychology and take preparatory courses for my final qualification in this.

Maria: What kind of personal goals do people usually set in their life?

Rory: Um, well, I think people want to be healthier, broadly speaking. And the shape that takes could be losing weight or improving their mental health. So it can be physical or psychological. It all seems to come back to being better and having a more stable life.

Maria: Do you think that personal goals are more important than other kinds of goals?

Rory: I think it depends on what you want from life, really. If you want to spend your life accumulating more and more money and things to enjoy in your twilight years, then that’s the trade off that you agree to. I think most people probably focus more on personal goals, which is why there are so few millionaires, I’d imagine.

Maria: Why is it important to set goals at work?

Rory: Well, if you don’t have goals at work, then you’re just sort of moving blindly from task to task and there’s no end in sight. And I think that can be very demoralizing for people. So that’s one thing. The other thing is it can help people manage their time better. So there are lots of advantages. Though, it’s important not to get too overly focused on meeting the goals. Obviously, you should be enjoying the experience along the way.

Maria: Do you think that old people and young people have the same goals?

Rory: I don’t know…. Generally, no. Young people are usually just beginning to work out what they want from life, whereas older people have all of the life experience that they need probably. And they normally have a clearer idea about what they want. This is most of the time, obviously. You can have very immature adults and very mature children.

Maria: What about children? Do children set goals?

Rory: I think children probably have more… There’s a word for it… Immediate goals, I think. So they focus more on what can be done in the short term, like getting food, getting attention, this kind of thing.

Maria: Do you think that in the future people will set some other kinds of goals? Some goals will change in the future?

Rory: Probably the details will change, but in the long term, the nature of the goals will be the same. It’s all about improving yourself somehow. But the improvements that people want to make to their life specifically probably… Well, they might change a little bit. But I think most of them, if it’s like being healthier, for example, I don’t that’s going to change any time soon.
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