A lot of people talk about short-term goals but very rarely do you get a good explanation of what they actually are and why you need them.
Think about it this way, whenever you are traveling a long distance with a specific destination in mind, you need a map.
This is true whether you are actually covering miles on the road or building the life you want.
In either case, the end of the journey can often seem a very long way from where you start.
As you look over this great distance, the idea of reaching the end often becomes overwhelming and may even lead to you giving up.
To help keep you motivated and feeling successful, you need short-term goals as your guide or map.
Short-Term Goals Explained
A major difficulty a lot of people have with short-term goals is that they don’t understand exactly what a short-term goal is.
Again, think of them as a map.
They are the direction you want to take to reach your ultimate destination.
Short term goals set you up for feelings of success and accomplishment while still helping you stay focused on the long-term goals at the end.
These little milestones give you a clear path to follow and allow you every opportunity to grow and learn as you make your way into your future.
There are many different types of short-term goals because there are many areas where people need or want a guide to greater accomplishment over time.
These areas include personal, business, health, and even goals relating to a personal hobby.
First, let’s look at personal goals.
Personal are things you want to achieve to make you a better person, husband, wife, friend, etc.
These goals can also be about personal success in areas such as buying a home or getting out of debt.
In any case, you have to take the time to make an assessment of who you are to be able to set and meet these goals.
Personal change can be very hard because it requires a real look at who you are and where you need to improve.
This honest look at yourself can be uncomfortable at times especially if you look at the entirety of the picture. It often causes people to focus too much on something they find to be a negative aspect.
The key here is to break down those things you need or want to work on into attainable steps.
Business goals are probably one of the most familiar to people when you talk about short-term goals.
Most people even without realizing it will set long-term career goals and then make a plan to reach that end.
The issue in this area is less about having a goal and more about knowing how to go about achieving it.
It doesn’t matter if your long-term goal is early retirement or owning your own company, you have to have more than a dream to get there.
Setting up your short-term goals in this area is the key to finding your way.
Health goals may be one of the most overwhelming sets of goals people make. This is because the number of factors outside of your direct control can be so numerous.
Health goals are an area where it is especially easy to get bogged down in the hazards along the road and give up completely. In the area of health, this can be especially detrimental because it can lead to additional health issues.
The snowball effect created leads to more sense of failure and much more frustration, which is why short-term goals are particularly essential for successfully achieving health goals.
Hobby goals may not be as popular as the others, but they are still very beneficial.
Even in areas, you find enjoyable and relaxing, you often want to make progress.
These goals may seem like making even your downtime into an ongoing challenge with potential for disaster.
The truth is that they give you confidence boosts that can help keep you focused and striving to reach goals in all the other areas.
Success builds on the success and that good feeling you get transfers into other areas.
Making and completing goals in your hobbies may be one of the most important areas you pursue.
On the most basic level, when you talk about short-term goals, the point to set yourself up for success.
You give yourself both an increase in your self-esteem and the ability to set new goals.
Each short-term goal that is marked off your list moves you one step closer to your long-term goals.
They allow you to track your progress and help keep you on the course needed to get to your destination.
Differences Between Short-Term & Long-Term Goals
To be successful in setting and achieving goals, you’ll first need to understand the difference between short-term and long-term goals.
There are several basic differences between short and long-term goals.
When you talk about short-term goals, you talk about things in the low to medium range of difficulty.
The time span of accomplishing short-term goals is fairly low as well.
Generally, short-term goals are most successful when they are things that can be completed in the hour of a two-week range.
That may sound like a lot of difference but there are times when you need those small steps for whatever reason.
On occasion, things that are short-term goals can take as long as six months to a year to complete.
These larger short-term goals are bigger undertakings but still not as monumental as your long-term goals. As you progress toward a single long-term goal, you will have many short-term goals to mark the way.
Long-term goals are usually in the high range of difficulty. It is very common for the timeline on a long-term goal to be a minimum of 6 months but could, in some situations, be as far out as 20 years.
These long-term goals are going to be very few even over the course of a lifetime.
These are the end of various journeys as opposed to the milestones along the way.
Of course, some of you might have already known the difference between short-term and long-term goals, but do you know how they are connected?
In other words, do you know how short term and long term goals benefit one another?
This is where understanding the differences between the two is key.
You need those short-term goals to reach the long-term goals.
For example, you may set a goal to own your own home mortgage-free by the time you are 35.
This is an excellent goal, but where do you even start?
As time passes, how do you know you are still making adequate progress towards that end when the deadline is still 10 years out?
Using your short-term goals such as setting aside a certain amount in savings each month or working at a job that provides a predetermined minimum weekly income give you markers to make sure you are staying in line with that long-term goal.
These short-term goals not only keep you on target, they let you celebrate the little successes along the way.
Another key aspect of your short-term goals in comparison with the long-term goals is that they are flexible.
If you set a short-term goal and find that after making your best efforts, you are still not quite reaching it, you can modify it.
This is not the same thing as giving up.
It is a simple restructuring that helps ensure success in the long run.
Because you will have so many short-term goals on any long-term goal destination, you can simply add in a few more steps that work for you. This keeps you motivated and moving forward.
Examples of Short-Term Goals
The one place where people often get confused is in determining what constitutes a short-term goal as opposed to a long-term goal.
This can get confusing because some short-term goals are significantly more involved than others and the time invested can be substantially different. Here are some excellent examples of short-term goals at a variety of levels:
- Land 3 new clients at $3,000 monthly revenue
- Meet 20 new business owners in San Francisco
- Arrive for work no later than 7:50 am for one month.
- Pay off the highest interest rate credit card within 6 months.
Notice that each short-term goal comes with a time frame. This is a key aspect of the short-term goal and they always have an achievable deadline. This gives you a very measurable marker.
Whatever goals you choose, for business, hobbies, social life or personal, make them count. Every day you procrastinate and lack your vision then longer it will take to reach your goal and your higher potential. Starting setting them today!
They give you a guide for the next step as well since often with short-term goals accomplishing one set up the next one.
These successes boost your self-confidence as well set you up for more future success.
Get started achieving your short and long-term goals with our free goal worksheet. Or, if you’re really ready to take the next step, consider purchasing our goal planner.