Are you having trouble making progress on your goals?
Then you might want to give short term goals a try.
Studies have shown that we tend to abandon our goals within a month after setting them. This is all too real for a lot of us.
We tend to be gung-ho about our goals at the beginning, but then lose steam once the reality of hard work and discipline sets in. But don’t lose hope just yet. There’s another way that we can stay on top of our goals, and that’s by creating short term goals.
A short term goal is any goal that you set to achieve within a short time frame. You can set monthly, weekly, and even daily goals. A shorter deadline means that you can create a realistic action plan - so instead of trying to run a marathon, you’ll be focused on trying to run one mile, then five, then ten, until you ultimately build your way up to a marathon.
Having a short term goal means that you’ll be rewarded more often, and these positive feelings will contribute to your momentum and help see your bigger goal through until the end.
So if you’ve hit a wall with your goals, try blasting through them with our surefire strategies for short term goals. Below, we’ve provided examples of inspiring short term goals, along with tips on how to formulate your long term goal into a simpler one, with a shorter deadline.
Benefits of short term goals
Here are just some of the many ways that a short term goal is helpful to you and your work:
Short term goals help you focus. When you set a short deadline of a month or week or a day, you’ll have an easier time pursuing your goals. You know that you won’t have the luxury of time, so you can’t afford to procrastinate or get distracted. A shorter deadline gives you just the right amount of pressure you need to keep your eye on the finish line.
Short term goals give you quick feedback. You don’t want to wait until the end of the year to learn that your goal-setting strategy isn’t working. Instead, set short term goals so that you can check in on your goals regularly and analyze your work.
For example, maybe you set a two week goal to write 1,000 words a day but found yourself skipping days or abandoning the goal altogether because the bar was set too high. You can easily course correct and adjust your game plan before it's too late. Maybe this means creating smaller, incremental goals and adjusting your word count to 250 words a day. By allowing yourself to evaluate your progress on a regular basis, you gain greater insight into your work habits, and can adjust your strategy accordingly.
Short term goals give you momentum. When it comes to staying on top of our goals, we need discipline, but more than that, we need encouragement. We’re only human beings after all, and can’t rely on hard work and productivity alone. Short term goals mean we’re getting rewards on a regular basis. We feel the high of meeting our daily word count or going for a short run or cleaning our rooms and are more excited to pursue our next benchmark and the next.
Here are some examples of short term goals to help you gain momentum and achieve success:
Examples of short term creative goals
Maybe your long term goal is to write a screenplay or have an exhibit of your artwork or just start being creative again. Here are some short term creative goals that can help you achieve your long term goal.
Write 200 words a day
If your goal is to write a novel, but find the idea intimidating, start as small as you can. No one likes staring at a blank page, but it gets easier once you put something down.
So set the bar low and make it as easy as you can so that you actually commit to it. Start by writing 200 words a day. As you start writing, you’ll see yourself gaining more confidence, and building momentum, and soon you’ll be writing 500 words, to 1000 words a day.
Carry a notebook
It’s hard to lock ourselves in a room and force ourselves to start being creative. Instead of pressuring yourself to create the most magnificent artwork or manuscript of all time, start small by carrying around a notebook or sketchbook to doodle in or to record your observations. This way, you can get in the habit of noticing the world around you and finding inspiration, instead of waiting for inspiration to strike.
Go without your devices
Getting traction on a long term goal can sometimes require behavioral changes and getting rid of bad habits. So if your long term goal is to be more creative, but you find yourself tethered to your phone or TV, try to set a short term goal to help you gradually remove your device, instead of just quitting cold turkey, which can often backfire.
Maybe start small like “no TV after 9pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays” and then gradually start eliminating your devices throughout the week.
Example of short term mindfulness goals
When the new year rolls around, we tend to set goals like “be happy” or “find peace” but it’s hard to articulate those goals into something actionable. Here are short term goals that will make your mindfulness goals feel more tangible. We can’t achieve happiness and satisfaction in a day, but we can make small choices to cultivate mindfulness and gradually improve our well-being.
Develop a morning routine
Try creating a soothing morning routine that will help you start the day on the right note. Maybe this means waking up 15 minutes earlier to meditate or write in your journal or sip a cup of soothing cup of tea.
Develop an evening routine
If you’re not a morning person, don’t worry. You can still cultivate mindfulness by incorporating an evening routine instead. What are some activities that you can do to help you unwind? Maybe this means quitting your devices by a specific time. Or writing in your gratitude journal before bed. Commit to this action for a month and see how much more rested and relaxed you feel.
Example of short term personal goals
Whether it’s going on a dream vacation or developing better money habits, you can turn those personal dreams into reality with these short term personal goals.
Create a travel fund
If you have wanderlust on the brain, try to set aside some funds for your dream vacation. You can start small by trying to skip the takeout twice a week or putting $5 bills away in a jar. See how amazing it feels after a month and then challenge yourself to do another month. Before you know it, you’ll eventually have an impressive amount of money saved up for your travel adventures.
Develop a meal prep routine
Meal prep is an easy short term goal with satisfying results. You’ll end up eating healthier and saving money, and you can use the money you saved towards your travel fund or other personal goals. Use our Ink+Volt Meal Planning Pad to help you organize your shopping list, recipe ideas, and ingredients.
Create a fitness routine
You can’t just run a marathon one day; instead, break your big goal down into its simplest parts. Use our Ink+Volt Fitness Journal to help you create an action plan and stay committed to your fitness goals. Keep a daily log of your fitness routine to keep yourself accountable and see how much progress you’ve made.
Here are more examples of specific short term goals:
- Update your professional website
- Update your LinkedIn profile
- Declutter your house
- Renovate your workspace
- Take a 20 minute walk each day
- Read one book a month
- Watch a foreign movie every week
- Practice a new language for 15 minutes a day
How to formulate your own short term goals
So now that you have examples of smaller goals, let’s see how you can modify your own long term goal in order to create a short term goal.
- What is a long term goal that you have now?
- Where do you want to end up at the end of the year?
- Assess your resources. What kind of energy, tools, and time do you have to commit to your goal?
- What is one thing you can do this month to help you get closer to your goal? So let’s say your big, overarching goal is something like “Be better at public speaking” How can we turn this into a S.M.A.R.T. goal so that it’s more achievable?
Here are some ways that you can turn a big goal into a daily, weekly, or monthly short term goal.
Big goal: Be better at public speaking
Short term goals:
- Speak up at least once at daily meetings
- Attend a Toastmasters meeting
- By the end of the week, reach out to 3 people you admire and ask for their advice on public speaking
- Sign up for a 4-week public speaking class
Try picking a short term goal from this article that resonates with you and committing to it. Or, maybe you’ll feel inspired to design a short term goal of your own.