Many of us think about setting big life goals. Maybe you want to win the New York City Marathon. Perhaps you’d like to own a home in the most expensive neighborhood in America. Those are great (and frankly, audacious) goals, but there are a lot of baby steps along the way—and that’s where short-term goals come into the picture.

Let’s chat about what a short-term goal looks like and how you can set the right ones to achieve even bigger milestones. We’ll also discuss several examples of short-term goals that you can work toward starting today.

What Is a Goal?

Before we dive in, let’s take a beat to discuss the differences between a goal and a short-term goal. First, the definition of a life goal, according to Merriam-Webster:

Something that you are trying to do or achieve.

You probably already knew that, but it’s never a bad idea to review. So what’s the official definition of a short-term goal?

What Is a Short-Term Goal?

How do long-term goals differ from short-term goals? The folks at Minnesota State University explain that a short-term goal is something that you want to do in the near future—a day, a month, six months, or even an hour from now.

Makes sense, right? Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, what are some short-term goals? Let’s chat about a few personal and professional goals you can set for yourself.

15 Short Term Goals Examples

1. Create a Morning Routine

How easy is it to just scroll through your phone in the morning? Jot down a few items that you’d like to tackle each day, and challenge yourself to get into a routine.

2. Increase Your Productivity

You might look at work goals like this and think, “This could mean anything.” And you’d be right! Instead, try an incremental increase like scheduling specific times of the day to check email.

3. Read More Often

When you’re building a list of short-term career goals, challenge yourself to read a book per month (or week, if you’re feeling up for it).

4. Kick a Bad Habit

Can’t stop biting your nails? Up to six cups of coffee per day? Challenge yourself to kick that habit. But also, be nice to yourself if it takes a few tries.

5. Get More Organized

Pick something small like your workspace or nightstand and experiment with better ways to organize them.

6. Learn a New Skill

Ever want to learn how to play the guitar? Dive right in—and since we’re talking about short-term life goals, focus on learning the basics over the next few weeks.

7. Become a Better Writer

For folks searching for academic goals, examples include writing for a few minutes per day. This exercise can help you get some things off your chest—and identify ways in which you could improve your writing.

8. Get Control of Your Finances

OK, this one is a big personal goal. But start small by committing to short-term financial goals such as setting up a monthly budget.

9. Decrease Your Screen Time

It’s hard to put down your precious smartphone, especially when you know you should. Start by setting a curfew for yourself. Over time, make that time earlier.

10. Schedule a Networking Meeting

Some of the best professional opportunities come from having a network of contacts. Set a professional goal of building that network up in small increments.

11. Research Courses to Accelerate Your Career

Common among short-term career goals is to take online courses in your line of work, but where do you even begin? One of the most popular personal development goals to set is to simply research your options.

12. Complete an Online Course This Month

Speaking of personal development goals, commit to completing one of your favorite online courses by the end of the month. And since we’re talking about a short-term goal, that might even mean completing one session of an online course.

13. Watch a Webinar During Lunch

Want to make more of your downtime? If you’re searching for work goals, see if you can build a habit of watching career-boosting webinars or other talks during your lunch break.

14. Invite Your Boss to Coffee

Sometimes when you’re in the midst of a busy season, it’s hard to get direct feedback from your boss. A great personal business goal is to ask your manager to join you for a coffee—and get into the nitty-gritty of how you’ve been doing.

15. Cook a New Meal Once per Week

Cooking can be annoying, especially when you can just order something delicious from your phone. But it can also be incredibly satisfying. Try mixing it up by cooking something new just once per week.

How to Achieve Your Short Term Goals

Working towards a short-term goal can be inspiring, but it can also be difficult to stay on track. How do you accomplish a short-term goal without getting discouraged?  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Focus on one goal at a time. Multitasking is great, but not when it comes to short-term goals. Wait until you’ve achieved one before you move onto the next.
  2. Find an accountability partner. Having someone to cheer you on is critical when you’re trying to knock out a short-term goal.
  3. Eliminate distractions. Create a quiet and welcoming environment that’s conducive to achieving a short-term goal.
  4. Find your motivation. What are your short and long-term goals? In other words, why are you doing all of this work in the first place? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you stay on track.

Set and Achieve Your Biggest Personal Goals

Design Your Desired Future: Create Long and Short-Term Goals

Written by:

Richard Moy