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Having both short-term and long-term goals are essential for success in business and life.  Long-term goals are goals that act as a guiding vision towards achieving something bigger and better in the future.   Goals that can be achieved in less time are short-term goals.

Short-term goals are essential for building progress, momentum and motivation towards achieving the bigger vision you have for yourself.

A short-term goal is something you want to achieve by a specific date in the near future. Depending on what that goal is, you may want to achieve it in a day, a week, a month, a quarter or in twelve months.

The important part is that the short-term goal is something you want to achieve in the near future, usually in 12 months or less.

There are many benefits of setting short-term goals.  In this article I’ll share 6 benefits of setting short-term goals so you have a framework to use the next time you set goals for your life and business.

What are short term goals?

Short-term goals are specific, measurable goals that you want to achieve in the short-term.  They are the bridge from where you are now and where you want to be in the future (your vision).  Having short-term goals gives you the capability and confidence to achieve the things that are most important to you in the short term, whilst making measurable progress towards achieving your dreams in the future.

A short-term goal is a specific, measurable outcome you want to achieve in under 12 months.  Short-term goals are easier to accomplish and help you build confidence and momentum towards achieving your long-term goals.

Having short-term goals gives you the ability to make measurable daily and weekly progress towards achieving something important.

Setting a small number of short-term goals improves focus and minimises distraction and overwhelm.  They help to minimise procrastination and perfectionism and helps you become more productive and creative every day.  Achieving short-term goals builds self-confidence and self-esteem which pushes you to achieve bigger and better goals in the future.

Read also:

Goal setting: how to set and achieve your goals 

Short-term goals examples

There are many short-term goals examples you can use to improve your goal setting skills.

The important thing to remember is that your goal must be specific, measurable and have a deadline attached to it.

If your short-term goals have no measurement or deadline attached to them, it’s easy for them to fall by the wayside.

Short-term goals could be saving up for a car, going on holiday, specific home improvements, getting promoted, losing a specific amount of weight or improving your health and fitness in some way.

Short-term goals for a business may be achieving a specific revenue target, increasing number of sales, freeing up a specific amount of time, hiring a specific member of staff or improving client retention rates.

Here are some short-term goals examples:

  • Lose 12lb in the next 30 days
  • Improve my 5k running time by 20 seconds in the next 7 days
  • Take a week-end break to Paris by the end of the year
  • Free up 30 hours of time in the next 30 days.
  • Increase revenue by 20% in the next 6 months.
  • Increase my email list by 200 in the next 90 days
  • Start learning yoga in the next 2 weeks
  • Have an article published by Forbes in 6-months
  • Speak to five groups of peers in the next 30 days
  • Open my second pilates studio in 12 months

Read also:

How to set SMART goals

What are long-term goals?

A long-term goal is something exciting you want to achieve in the future. This future time period is usually 12 months or longer.  Many people use a timeframe of three years, five years, ten years or even twenty-five years.

Long-term goals require time, commitment and an emotional and intellectual engagement to achieve. They are not something you can achieve today, this week, this month or this year.  They are a guiding vision that shape your short-term goals.

Achieving long-term goals can take significant time, energy, focus and planning to achieve, but they are exciting enough that they inspire you to achieve them every day.

They are goals that will create the biggest change or transformation in your life if you can achieve the goal.

Your long-term goals often relate to travel, property, location, family, careers, and big life changes such as starting a family or starting a business.

Successful achievement of short-term goals can inspire you to set even bigger and better goals for the future.  That’s why long-term goals are often fluid, while short-term goals are fixed.

Examples of long-term goals

Here are some examples of long-term goals to think about when setting your own.

  • Set up your own business in 2 years
  • Purchase your dream home in 5 years
  • Pay off your mortgage in 15 years Graduate from college
  • Take 3 months off to travel the world in 5 years
  • Be debt free in 18 months
  • Commitment to improved health and lose 2 stone
  • Train to compete in the London marathon in 2022
  • Launch a charity by this time next year

Even though these goals may feel far off, they still need to be specific, measurable and have a deadline attached to them.

Some people will create a vision board to help them clarify their goals and to inspire them to take action on their short-term goals.

Writing down your goals is a great place to start.

Want more goal setting tips?  Sign up for the Time For What Matters newsletter to get the best tips and strategies to help you achieve your goals.

6 benefits of setting short-term goals

Here are 6 benefits of setting short-term goals. 

1. You have a greater focus

Short-term goals give you a clear focus for a specific period of time.  You know exactly what you want to achieve and by when which makes you more motivated and productive.  This clarity gives you a clear plan and path to follow with action steps to take, every day.

This helps you focus on what you need to do to achieve the goal and filter out everything else.  Having a greater focus on a small number of goal-orientated activities can stop you feel overwhelmed, reduce your to-do list and allow you to organise your day more effectively.

This process allow you to focus on just a small number of things at a time.  They are often what I call ‘quick win goals’ that are achievable, which ensures you stay focused and don’t get discouraged.

2. You build self-confidence

Goal setting only works when you have a clear, measurable outcome you want to achieve that is exciting and motivating.

You have to be emotionally motivated and intellectually engaged in the goal you want to achieve.  When you can feel and understand the difference achieving the goal will make, you are more motivated to take action.

Goal achievement then becomes more powerful and makes you feel great about achieving your goal.  This goal achievement builds self-confidence.

You just feel much better about yourself and have more confidence to take on bigger and better goals.

If you want to build your self-confidence through short-term goal setting set yourself up to win.  Mix in daily goals with weekly goals and 90 day goals so you are always making progress and succeeding.

Try setting micro goals by starting each day listing three micro goals you want to achieve that day.  Achieve them and you will feel confident to achieve more the following day. 

3. You manage time effectively

Short-term goals give you a clear destination to reach and path to follow to reach the goals.  Having this plan allows you to simplify your time and focus, which makes you more productive.

By having a small number of activities to do each day to make progress on your goals you can manage time effectively.

Rather than wasting time on low value activities or chasing shiny objects your time is focused on a small number of specific activities each day, that move you closer to goal achievement.

4. You see measurable progress

We all want to make measurable progress each day on achieving something that is crucially important to us.

Having measurable goals gives us a track to follow each day and allows us to feel like we are always winning and making progress.

When your goal has a number or event to achieve and a deadline to achieve it in we can track our progress.

We can see the gains we’re making towards our goals, which builds confidence and increases motivation and momentum.

Whether you’re writing progress down, using an app or something else, the opportunity to see forward movement on your goals just makes you feel really good.

To get the most out of achieving measurable progress on your goals always measure progress backwards from where you started from, rather than forward to the end result.

5. You build motivation and momentum

When you’re energised and motivated about the goal you want to achieve you take action.  If you see progress and results daily, you feel even more motivated and excited to take action towards achieving your goals.

When you don’t have that excitement and energy about your goals it becomes more difficult to take action.

Energy, excitement and motivation are important in building momentum.

The best way to build momentum is to always feel like you’re making progress towards achieving your short-term goal.

Do this by tracking your progress, celebrating improvements and getting clear on what micro goals you want to achieve each day are.

6. You overcome procrastination

Procrastination can hold us back from achieving things that are important to us in business and life.  Short-term goals help to stop procrastinating, because the goal are simpler and more achievable.

We often procrastinate when we don’t know what to do, or don’t feel like we have the capabilities to take action.  When you have a specific target to reach that is attainable and give you a clear and defined path to follow you are less likely to procrastinate.

Instead of procrastinating and wasting hours and days thinking about what you should do, short-term goals lay out exactly what to do, and give you the plan and path to take action.

Summing Up

Having short-term and long-term goals are essential for achieving the success you want in business and life, as they become the plan and path to make your dreams a reality.

Ensure your goals are specific, measurable and have a deadline attached to them to give you the best chance of success.

Hopefully these tips will help. What’s the first goal you’ll set for yourself?  Let me know in the comments.

Read also:

The importance of writing down your goals 

About the Author

Mark Pettit is the Founder of Lucemi Consulting and a small business coach to business owners who want to simplify their time, energy and focus so they can multiply their freedom, impact and results.

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