When we talk about setting goals, questions that always surface are: should we set short-term goals, what are they, are there any short-term goal examples, and are they necessary? In this article, we’re going to look thoroughly at short-term goals.
When you check it out on Wikipedia, you’ll discover that a goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envision, plan and commit to achieving. People endeavor to reach goals within a finite time by setting deadlines.
This means that any planning you do for the future, no matter what it is, is a goal.
Meaning to say that when you plan to do the chores this weekend, it is a goal. When you plan to watch a movie like Avengers tonight, it is a goal. And when you plan to start an online business and you want to aim to hit $3,000 per month income within a year, this, is also a goal.
The thing is that sometimes when our future planning can be so short that we don’t consider them as a goal. For example, if you plan to eat McDonald’s tonight, it is a short-term goal that you plan to achieve within a couple of hours.
Now, because the time frame or the deadline for a short-term goal is short, some people neglect it and only focus on the long-term goals, which is NOT a wise decision.
Short-term goals are extremely important. In fact, I dare say that without short-term goals, highly likely, you’re going to fail to achieve your long-term goals.
Here’s the infographic to show you the importance of short-term goals and the examples of them. Take a quick glance at it and then continue to read on to discover the power of the short-term goals.
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Long-Term Goals Give You a Vision While Short-Term Goals Give You Directions
Think about driving in the dark. If you want to drive from point A to point B and the distance is 100km away, you can never reach your destination, point B, without the help of short-term goals.
Identifying your destination to point B and getting there can be considered a long-term goal in this example.
Now, we all know that driving in the dark is dangerous. And if you want to get to point A to point B, which is 100km apart, there is no way you can see the entire road.
This is where short-term goals come to the rescue. Short-term goals are like the headlights for your car. They allow you to drive in the dark even though you can’t see the entire journey.
As long as you’re able to see the road in front of you, as short as tens of meters, you’re able to maneuver your car, drive carefully, and safely arrive at point B.
Therefore, if you’re just setting long-term goals without short-term goals, you are like driving without your headlights.
You have a vision and a destination, but you don’t have a clear direction because you can’t see what is in front of you.
This is why short-term goals are vital in making sure that you can get to your destination correctly.
Here’s Why Short-Term Goals Are Important:
1. Short term goals give you better focus
Just like driving in the dark, short-term goals allow you to focus on the road better. You don’t have to see the big picture of how the entire journey turns out, you just need to focus on the road in front of you.
If your ultimate goal is to set up an online business and make a million dollar from it, solely focusing on making a million dollar is difficult. You don’t know where to start and you will be lost in no time.
Things will be different when you have short-term goals to support you. For instance, when you break down your long-term goals into short-term, you will clearly see the action steps and what you need to do.
If you need to build a blog, you will know that you need to set up a blog and pump the blog with quality content. Short-term goals give you focus.
2. Short-term goals help to overcome procrastination
Next, short-term goals are important because they help to overcome procrastination. This is simple to understand because when you set short-term goals such as writing 10 articles to publish on your blog this month, they are clear, specific, and often come with a short deadline that motivates you into taking action.
When a goal is too big, it will be too vague and difficult to handle. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with a vague goal. You want to bring specificity and clarity to your goals.
And when you’re clear, you know exactly what you need to do to reach your big goal, you’ll be more likely to take action.
3. Short term goals provide immediate feedback
This is one of the most important keys to setting short-term goals. Short term milestones are great because they provide immediate feedback.
For example, if you want to grow your email list to 1,000 subscribers within a month, you come up with a plan and you take action. After a month, you will know if your plan works.
Short-term goals are vital because they give up valuable feedback in a faster manner so that we can adjust our plan and make an improvement to do better.
Many times, people thought that being successful and producing remarkable results in life is all about doing the big things, taking the leap, and making that one big decision. This is often not true.
There is a great saying:
“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.”
And the only way you can repeat a small effort and improve the effort to do better is through setting short-term goals.
4. Short term goals create more effective strategies
Let me ask you this question, “What should you do if you want to earn $10,000 online by the end of this year?”
Well, there are plenty of answers. You can sell physical items, you can become an affiliate and promote other people’s products, you can become a freelancer either to design websites for others or provide your service as a writer, or you can also create your own product and then sell it.
There are many ways to do so. This is the vagueness we experience when we focus on long-term goals.
However, things will be totally different when we focus on the short-term goals.
When you break your long-term goals into short-term goals, you’ll clearly see the exact steps you need to take to reach your long-term goals.
5. Short term goals allow you to take one step at a time
Writing this article is a short-term goal and it can be further broken down into even smaller pieces, such as coming up with the draft, the subheadings, writing the first paragraph, etc.
Here’s a story I like a lot about taking one small step at a time:
Terry Fox started the Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada run of 3,339 miles. Because he had an artificial leg, his running style was a shuffle and hop. He managed about 24 miles a day and completed the run in 143 days. Asked how he kept going when he was exhausted and knew he had thousands of miles ahead, he responded, “I just kept running to the next telephone pole.”
Short-Term Goals Examples
Now that you understand why it is important to have short-term goals, let us discuss a little about the examples.
Please keep in mind that these are just examples. Some of the examples are without the considerations such as a deadline or being measurable.
It is always better to include a measurement factor and a deadline for your short-term goals.
Short-Term Career Goals
- Never be late to work and show up in the office by 8:30AM each workday.
- Talk to 50 prospects and present the new product idea by the end of this week.
- Declutter and organize the workstation.
- Talk to Janice about the new plan and how to implement it.
- Improve customer service by learning the feedback, start by contacting 5 customers tomorrow.
Short-Term Financial Goals
- Set up a checking and savings account this week.
- Use an App to track daily budget.
- Read a book on personal finance; start with “The Millionaire Fastlane”.
- Study and research on potential stocks for investment.
- Create an automated transfer for long-term savings.
Short-Term Fitness Goals
- Get a personal trainer.
- Commit to workout in the gym every Tuesday and Thursday, from 7PM to 9PM.
- Buy a workout outfit and get a new shoe.
- Measure my weight every day.
- Do 50 pushups in the morning before taking bath.
Short-Term Personal Development Goals
- Create a vision board tonight.
- Commit to reading 2 books a month by reading for an hour a day.
- Build a habit to write 1,000 words each morning before getting to work.
- Wake up at 5:30AM every day.
- Attend a seminar or a workshop in town this year.
Unleash the Power of Your Short-Term Goals
According to an article published on Entrepreneur, written by the famous internet entrepreneur Neil Patel, he says that humans are hardwired to want things right now. This is what Neil says:
“Instant gratification is the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay or deferment. Basically, it’s when you want it; and you want it now.
Instant gratification is the opposite of what we’ve been taught and tried too hard to practice — delayed gratification. Waiting is hard, and there is an innate desire to have what we want when we want it, which is usually without any delay.”
As you can see, we all want things immediately. We want to get fit and slim, right now, and that is why we invented all kinds of weight loss pills and medications to give us immediate results.
We don’t want to earn a million dollars in 10 years, we want it right now. We don’t want to resist the urge to watch TV later, we want to watch it and enjoy the pleasure right now.
So what does instant gratification has to do with goal setting? A lot.
When we set long-term goals, say to achieve something within a year or two, that’s delay gratification.
The problem is that as human beings, we’re not hardwired to delay our gratification. And this is why people who focus on long-term goals often fail to accomplish them.
Their motivation fades. They get distracted by other ‘better plans’. It takes too long to see the results and thus, most people give up.
And this, my friend, is exactly why short-term goals are powerful.
Because short-term goals require a shorter time frame and they give us almost immediate results, we’re able to experience instant gratification. It works WITH how our brains have been conditioned, and not AGAINST it.
How to Make Good Use of Your Short-Term Goals
By now, you should know that short-term goals are important. And after going through some of the examples above, you should have a crystal clear idea of they look like.
In my opinion, short-term goals can be weekly, monthly, and even up to a year.
When you read the New York Times best-selling book, The 12 Week Year, written by Brian Moran, you’ll understand how to make your short-term goals, 3 months particularly, into a powerful driving force.
I strongly suggest you read the book.
Most people fail to achieve their goals because they set them too long. When your goals are 3 years away, you’ll easily lose traction, interest, motivation, and are easily distracted.
There’s no telling what will happen in a year’s time, let alone 3 years, right?
Hence, a better solution is to set a 12 week or a 90 days goal. This is where you focus all your energy and effort into this one goal and make it happen.
If you’re able to earn an additional $1,000 a month by working hard for the next 90 days, don’t you think this is going to be something great?
It may not be life-changing, but it is a great start to a better life.
Plus, you’ll be more motivated, able to focus better, and take massive and consistent action when your goals are short-term.
Now, I’m not saying that long-term goals are unnecessary, but short-term goals are what give you immediate results so that you will never lose interest and direction.
Therefore, set one or two empowering short-term goals that will drive you to success. It can be something that you want to achieve within one, two, or the maximum, three months.
Short-term goals give you the adrenaline rush and quickly catapult your success to a higher ground.
Of course, there will be work involved, but the effort will be well worth it.