What are short term goals, why do they matter, what are examples of them, and how can you set them?
If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions then you are in the right place.
This post covers in detail everything that you need when it comes to short term goals. Whether you’re a goal setting veteran or are new to the world of setting goals, I’ve got you covered.
Jumpstart Your Future With Short Term Goals – Here’s What You Need
Before we start exploring short term goals, let’s first understand why goals in general are so important.
It all comes down to your time; to the 24 hours that you have each day.
Because each day you have two options:
- Use your time to its fullest
- Waste it
A lot of you fall into the number 2 camp without even realizing it. Maybe you spend too much time on unimportant chores, or binging a new show, or scrolling through your phone.
Either way, you’re choosing to spend your time on things that won’t help you progress.
Conversely, if you were to instead say:
“I’m done wasting my time. I want to fully utilize my 24 hours each day!”
Then you would be able to start making progress forward, towards your dreams and ideal life. And once you do make that decision, there are a number of things that you can do to start better utilizing your time.
The first two things that you need are:
- Time Management
When you combine productivity with time management, you’ll find that you can move through tasks faster and more effectively than ever before.
BUT, you need a direction. You need a north star to guide you forward. Otherwise, you’ll just be moving in fast circles.
That’s where goals in come.
Goals provide a vision, a glimpse into your ideal future that you can start working towards today. They allow you to plan out where you want to go and then show you how to get there.
That’s the power of goal setting in any capacity.
But what about short term goals? What are they and why are they my ideal choice of goal?
Let’s find out.
What are short term goals?
Short term goals, long term goals, medium term goals. What’s the difference?
Well, if you didn’t already decipher from their names, short term goals are goals that you can complete in the short term.
Generally they can be accomplished within 12 months, but personally the short term goals that I set all fall within the 3-6 month range.
Long term goals on the other hand are goals set out a little further.
Technically, long term goals are anything that take longer than 12 months to accomplish, but again, long term goals for me start at around the 18-24+ month range.
And then medium term goals are there to fill in the gaps.
So if short term goals are between 3-6 months and long term goals are 18-24+ months, medium term goals fall within that 6-18 month range.
Here’s really what you need to know about the timeline of goal setting though… it’s dependent on you.
If you set a goal to complete something by next week, that’s a short term. From that perspective, if you set another goal for 6 months from now, that’s more of a long term goal in comparison.
So the whole short, medium, long term thing is flexible and based around the timeline that you want to set.
Short term goals vs medium term vs long term
Here’s a quick example of how short term, medium term, and long term goals work:
- Short term: save up $10,000 within 6 months
- Medium term: save up $30,000 within 15 months
- Long term: purchase a condo within 24 months
As you can see, each level denotes a different amount of time required to achieve that goal – 6 months, 15 months, and 24 months.
That could’ve easily been 6 days, 15 days, 24 days. Or 6 weeks, 15 weeks, 24 weeks. The time doesn’t matter, just the perspective that it’s set in.
6 months comes before 15 months comes before 24 months. So from that perspective you have short, medium, and longer-term goals.
Don’t get too caught up on the timing, just recognize that short term goals are the ones that you are immediately working towards, long terms goals are the furthest out, and medium term goals fall somewhere in between.
Why are short term goals important?
Now that you understand what short term goals are, let’s talk about why they’re important.
First, recognize that goals in general, no matter the timeline, are important to have.
As I mentioned previously, goals act like a north star that guide you to a better and brighter future. They help you create the ideal life that you seek and force you to chart a course towards that future.
But what about short term goals? Why are they important?
Well, the simple answer is that short goals lead to long term results.
In other words, the things you do today have a direct impact on how your future looks tomorrow. It isn’t the long term goals that you set for yourself that will change your life, it’s the short term ones.
It’s the goals that you work towards today that will impact you most profoundly.
One of my favorite benefits of short term goals is the positive change that you can create today. The future is always uncertain but today can change in an instant.
It’s for that reason that short term goals are so great – they help you change your today for the better.
Short term goals, long term vision – the importance of short term goals
Goals are exact, but the future is not.
A goal could be that you want to lose 30lbs in 30 months. But the future at that time could be a completely different place than what you are anticipating it to look like right now.
That’s why I don’t normally set long term goals.
I have a long term vision, an idea of where I’d like to see myself down the road, but it’s not too specific or concrete. In other words, I leave room for variability.
With that in mind, I primarily set short terms goals within the 3-6 month range.
Because short term goals allow me to work towards that long term vision today while also giving me the flexibility to correct course if needed.
Here’s an example of setting a long term goal versus setting short term goals within a long term vision.
The concept of a long term vision
Let’s say that you set a long term goal that within 2 years you need to be running your own successful bakery and need to be making $25,000/month.
A solid goal.
But what happens if 4 months in you realize you hate baking? Well then you’re stuck either pursuing something you don’t enjoy or you have to scrap your long term goal and start over.
On the other hand, let’s say that your long term vision is to run your own business.
So you set a short term goal to launch a bakery within 6 months and get to work. But 4 months in, you realize you hate baking.
No problem, your future isn’t set in stone. You can correct course. So instead of baking, you decide to pivot into the restaurant space and find it much more enjoyable.
With that you’re back on track pursuing your long term vision.
That’s why short term goals are so great – they allow you to work towards your long term vision, your ideal life, while giving you the flexibility to learn and change course along the way.
Goal setting in any capacity is one of the most important ways that you can utilize your time. It’s for that reason that I’ve created our Super Course – to help you make better use of your 24 hours each day.
You can learn more about the course < there.
Or you can get a feel for how I do things (for free!) by signing up for our 6 day bootcamp. Each day, for 6 days, I’ll email you one lesson taken straight from the course.
You can sign up right here:
Examples of short term goals
Now that you understand what short term goals are and why they’re so important, let’s dive into some actual examples.
You can set goals for really anything. Here is a list of short term goals examples for business, school, and life.
Short term goals for a business
When it comes to your business, there are a lot of goals you can set. Whether it’s finding new customers or expanding your reach, there are a lot of things you can start working towards today.
Here is a list of some short term goal examples that you can set for your business:
- Growth – Bring on 5 new clients within 3 months
- Sales – Generate 1.5x more sales by the end of 6 months
- Design – Redesign your website by the end of this month
- Organization – Implement a new system to keep track of inventory by the end of the quarter
- Brand awareness – Send an email out to your audience once a week for 4 months
Short term goals for students
Similar to setting goals for a business, there are also a lot of short term goals that you can set as a student. Whether in school or as a student of the world trying to learn outside of the classroom, there’s always more to do.
Here are some short term goal examples that you can set as a student:
- Self Learning – Read 1 book a month for 6 months
- Traditional Learning – Enroll in a class that interests you and complete it with a high grade
- Social – Join and participate in a study group for the duration of the class
- Extra Help – Go in and meet with your instructor once a week for the duration of the course
Short term goals: personal goals examples
Besides school and business, you have an entire life filled with goal setting possibilities. Whether you want to lose/gain some weight, start a new project, save up some amount of money, the goal setting possibilities are near endless.
With that, here are some personal goal examples that you can set for yourself:
- Strength – Gain 1lb of muscle each month for 4 months
- Productivity – Over the next 6 months, track how long you spend on certain tasks and then figure out ways to do them faster (*see our post on how to be productive)
- Travel – Save 15% of your paycheck each month for 3 months and then go on a trip with those funds
- Time Management – Stop watching TV at night and spend that time working towards your long term vision (*see our post on time management tips)
- Health – Spend 5 minutes meditating each day for the next 3 months
Implementing your short term goals
You know what short term goals are, you know why they’re important, and you have some good ideas of the kind of goals you want to set.
It’s time to put all of that into action. It’s time to set those goals!
I have a few options for you…
- Go through our post on how to set goals
- Once that’s done, work through our post on how to achieve goals
- Then check out our post on goal tracker tools to help you push even further
If you want something a little more detailed, I highly recommend you check out our course.
It covers the goal setting process in even more depth and description. Plus, it covers numerous other modules geared towards helping you better utilize your time.
You can check out the course < there.
Another great choice is to sign up for our free, 6 day bootcamp. It doesn’t cover goal setting as much, but it does give you a taste for the course for free before you enroll.
Each day, for 6 days, I’ll send you an email containing one lesson from our course that you can apply to your life.
You can sign up for the free bootcamp right here:
You can also check out our posts on the following topics:
- Productivity hacks
- Time management skills
- Best productivity apps
- The Pomodoro Technique
- Time management strategies
Use short term goals to your advantage. Start setting them and start working towards your long term vision.
It will take time, but it’s better than the alternative of making no progress at all.
You just need to take one step forward each day. Over time, you will have a mountain of amazing results to show for it.
You got this!
And if you ever need a little extra motivation, feel free to come back to this post for a refresher.