Short-Term Goals: Why They’re Important and Examples to Get You Started
Lots of people get stuck focusing on long-term goals way down the line. Yes, long-term goals are important in goal-setting, but you can rarely get there without the help of short-term goals.
5 MINUTE READ
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August 29, 2018

Lots of people get stuck focusing on long-term goals way down the line. Yes, long-term goals are important in goal-setting, but you can rarely get there without the help of short-term goals.

Short-term goals are like the stepping stones that push you closer to your long-term goals and vision. They are right in front of you and develop the path to long-term success. Typically, a short-term goal is something you want to accomplish in less than a year, but it can be much shorter than that.

Whether you are planning your own personal development, creating life goals or working on your career goals, these short term-goal examples can help you get off to a good start.

Short-Term Career Goals

Perhaps you have a long-term career goal to build your own business and become fully self-employed in the next 18 months as a freelancer. That's pretty broad.

Break it down into monthly goals, at most. For example, set shorter-term goals such as:

  • Read out to at least 10 potential clients per week or apply to 10 freelance jobs per week.
  • Acquire at least one new client every month.
  • Attend three networking events per month and follow up on all of your leads.
  • Increase your freelance income by at least 25% every month.

It's also helpful to track your progress towards goals with project management software, so you know always know where you stand. Use a program like Samewave that helps you keep yourself accountable to the promises you make to yourself and your clients. You can communicate, collaborate, share and store files, and more — and it's free.

Short-Term Life Goals

In the game of life, personal goals are just as important and professional ones. Let's use a common personal goal as an example: You want to lose weight.

Imagine that you want to lose 100 pounds in the next two years. That seems daunting, doesn't it? Make the weight loss more manageable by breaking it down into short-term goals. Set shorter goals like:

  • Lose at least 4 pounds per week.
  • Set a calorie intake goal and stick to it. If you make a calorie goal of 1,500 calories, track how many times you meet it on a weekly basis.
  • Don't forget about fitness goals. Set a goal to wake up before work and go to the gym at least 4 times per week. Track how many workouts you complete in a month.
  • Invest in a personal trainer twice per week.
  • Join a weight loss program, such as WeightWatchers, for support.

Setting and tracking short-term goals that lead up to your long-term vision help keep you motivated and on the right path. Celebrate every success to keep up the momentum! If you don't hit every short-term goal, don't lose sight of your long-term plan. Regroup, reassess and start again.

Short-Term Money Goals

Whether you are saving to buy a house, start your own business, retirement, vacationing around the world or funding your children's college experience, financial goals are just as common as weight loss goals.

Let's say you want to save $20,000 for a down payment on a new house, but you only have $500 additional income per month. Set some short-term goals to help make it a reality. For example:

  • Don't spend more than $100 per month on eating out and entertainment.
  • Start using a budget management app like Mint.
  • Take $300 out of every paycheck and put it into a savings account.
  • Get a part-time job on the weekends to save an extra $500 per month.
  • Read a book about budgeting and finance to learn about new money saving strategies.
  • Pay off your credit card in the next nine months to improve your credit score and mortgage loan rate.

Track your goals and stick to them. Before you know it, you'll be closing on that new house because you focused on short-term goals that made your vision a reality.

Personal Development Short-Term Goals

Personal development goals are arguably the hardest goals to attain because it's so easy for us to let them go in the midst of daily life. It forces you to look at the big picture and figure out where you want to see yourself down the road and what new skills and knowledge you will need to get there.

Let's say you want to become a better writer and you think you'll have to become a morning person to have enough time to dedicate to your goal. First, start with a good attitude. Any change to your current lifestyle requires a positive outlook. Set short-term goals like:

  • Wake up at 6:00 a.m. on weekdays to write at least 1,000 words.
  • Find a mentor to help you hone your craft.
  • Read at least one book per month about copywriting.

Take two courses about writing and productivity in the next six months.

Additional Benefits of Short-Term Goals

Now that you are familiar with some examples of short-term goals you can incorporate into your life, let's expand on the benefits.

Short-term goals reduce procrastination. When you only focus on the long-term goal, it's like driving to a destination far away without a map. It's easy to stray off course and get distracted. Having short-term goals keeps you focused. It's like having checkpoints or turn-by-turn-directions on your journey.

In the long run, humans are wired for instant gratification. Whether you are working towards a long-term goal individually or with a team, it's easy to fall off course without frequent success and celebration. Set yourself up for success by incorporating short-term goals that pave the way for success in all areas of your life.

Finally, make sure your small steps towards the ultimate goal are measurable. Being able to track and manage your progress sets the stage for reaching the finish line. What shorter-term goals will you set today?

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