6 Reasons to Set Short Term Goals (and 17 Ideas to Get You Started)

6 Reasons to Set Short Term Goals (and 17 Ideas to Get You Started)

When you think of goals, what are the first things that come to mind?

For some, it might be more instinctual to think of the big, lifelong goals. Saving for a house, landing your dream job, starting a family, or traveling the world. 

But some short term goals are often overlooked yet critical to the success of your long-term goals, especially when it comes to achieving them. 

In this article, you’ll learn what defines a short term goal. You’ll also learn the benefits of short term goals—and get 17 ideas for short term goals to get your gears going. 

What are short term goals? 

First, let’s start out with a simple definition. A short term goal can be characterized as something a person or organization wants to accomplish in the near-future. Short term goals are often: 

  • Set to accomplish within a short period of time
  • Stepping stones to achieving a longer term goal 
  • Achievable, digestible, and fairly straightforward  

The time frame for short term goals depend on the goal setter. For some, a short term goal may be a daily task or a line item on this week’s to-do list. For others, a short term goal may span a couple of weeks, a month, or even a year. It’s important to keep in mind the context in which a short term goal is operating. 

For example, a new entrepreneur might have a short term goal of building a website. While building a new website might take a couple of weeks, it ladders up to a larger goal of starting a new business. Another short term goal might be walking the dog every day. Similarly, this short term goal might tie into a larger, longer term goal of keeping your dog healthy and happy. 

To help scope out short term goals, it’s great to have access to a handy planner—from a today planner to a three-month planner (and everything in between). Planning material resources can help you break down your short term goals into digestible, achievable formats to get you one step closer to creating the life you want

6 benefits to short term goals 

So, why set a short term goal? If you have a bigger goal in mind, what good does a short term goal do? 

Sure, there might be some thinking that short term goals aren’t as impactful or important as long-term goals. Arguably, any long term goal isn’t achievable unless the short term goals are met along the way.

Here are six benefits to setting short term goals, just to name a few: 

  • Helps build confidence. When there’s a looming big goal on the horizon, sometimes the short term goals are the doses of confidence you need for your energy bank. When you have a sense of accomplishment, it can help you gain the confidence you need to keep momentum going. 
  • Streamlines decision-making skills. Short term goals help increase decision-making skills, specifically because the decisions are likely smaller and easier. But the frequency of decisions increase, which means you benefit from increased exposure to making decisions. When those big decisions come your way, you’ll already have a bank of solid, smaller decisions that you’ve made to help increase your choice confidence.  
  • Boosts motivation. Similar to building confidence, achieving short term goals can also help with motivation. When you achieve something (whether big or small), it  
  • Increases focus and attention. Another big benefit to short term goals is increased focus and attention on the bigger picture. One study found that when people focus on both short term and long term goals, they’re more likely to achieve their long term success. 
  • Helps with prioritization. Another benefit of short term goals is heightened prioritization. Because short term goals help narrow your focus, you’re better able to scan your list of to-dos and prioritize accordingly. Setting short term goals help give perspective to the array of things on your plate. In turn, this helps to make sure you’re putting the most important tasks at the top of your list.
  • Creates accountability. Lastly, short term goals create a sense of accountability that’s hard to ignore. Because short term goals are often broken into smaller, more measurable and achievable items, it’s easier to hold yourself accountable to them. 

17 ideas for short term goals 

  1. Go on a 10-minute walk every day to help increase your movement and commitment to health. 
  2. Journal daily for five minutes every morning to help increase self-awareness and reflection. 
  3. Drink a cup of water before and after every meal to help with nutrition and hydration. 
  4. Make the bed every morning to help tidy your house (and mind). 
  5. Meditate for 60 seconds every day to help better manage stress
  6. Reach out to one friend a week to help increase social connections.  
  7. Read a book a month to help build a healthy reading habit.  
  8. Charge your phone in a different room than your bedroom to increase sleep hygiene. 
  9. Volunteer for one hour every month to help give back to your community.  
  10. Make dinner at home five nights a week to help reduce spending on takeout.  
  11. Bring a reusable bag to the grocery store instead of using disposable bags. 
  12. Make coffee at home three times a week instead of buying coffee to help better manage your budget.  
  13. Send a note of gratitude to one friend a month to help cultivate a gratitude practice.  
  14. Spend one hour outdoors every month to better appreciate our Earth.  
  15. Schedule one date night a week without phones with your partner to better focus on your relationship.  
  16. Write in your today planner every day to keep track of your goals and create a sense of accountability.  
  17. Create a monthly budget at the beginning of every month to better track your finances.  

Ready to get started? We hope these ideas spark some inspiration to help adapt some healthy habits in your life. So, get ready and grab your game plan pad—and start hitting your short term goals today. 

Written by Madeline Miles

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