Summary of New Horizons Scientists Were Masters of the Long Haul

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Many know the basics of reaching short-term goals. Goals need to be specific, measurable and achieveable in a certain amount of time. What about goals that take decades or even lifetimes to reach? The research is sparse, but a new study by management professors Bruce Barry and Thomas Bateman explores how people stay motivated as they work to pursue long-term goals. Anyone working toward an uncertain future goal or struggling with motivation would benefit from this compelling article.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How people’s motivation differs for short-term and longer-term goals;
  • How scientists in a range of fields manage to keep their eye on the prize for years, even decades; and
  • What components you need when pursuing your own long-term goals.

About the Authors

Bruce Barry, PhD, is a management and sociology professor at Vanderbilt University. Thomas Bateman, DBA, is a management professor at the University of Virginia.



NASA’s New Horizons space probe took nearly two decades to travel the three billion miles from Earth to Ultima Thule, the farthest celestial body visited by human technology. While the team worked toward what one scientist called a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” mission member Andy Cheng saw his children grow to adulthood, his brother and father pass away, and a daughter get married.

Pursuing an extremely long-term goal such as the New Horizons mission takes...

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