How to Use Short Term and Long Term Goals to Achieve More

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Goal setting is one of those things that can be very overwhelming. Should you set a daily goal? Should you set monthly goals? Or goals for the next 5 years? Why does it have to be so hard!

If you’ve read anything I’ve written then you will have noticed that I believe starting with why is the foundation to everything you do. Setting goals is one of those things that you really need to understand why you are doing it to be able to make the most out of it.

No matter whether you are setting short term goals or long term goals, the best method for actually building your goals is the smart method. For a detailed breakdown of the SMART method, you can read the article, but I will do a quick breakdown of it here as well.

  • S-Specific
  • M-Measurable
  • A-Attainable
  • R-Relevant
  • T-Time bound

By breaking down all of your goals into this template you will have a better chance of achieving them than if you just write them down in one big list. Using the SMART method, you actually think about how achievable your goals are, and if you need to adjust them to be more realistic.

Short Term Goals

What is a short term goal? My definition of a short term goal is one that you can achieve readily with the resources that you already have, or with resources that you can get quickly. You should be able to achieve a short term goal in 6 months or less.

Short term goals aren’t always super formal. You may not even write them down at all. Maybe one of your goals is to wake up early and do a morning routine every day this week. Did you write that down? Maybe, maybe not.

Taking care of your short term goals will almost certainly mean that you are going to be on the right track for your happiness and success. If you do the things every day that you know you should be doing, then eventually you will be at a level that you didn’t even know you could get to.

Part of my personal development plan is to decide what I’m going to do every day to progress in my journey with each one of the 6 personal development categories.

I have things that I do daily like stick to my budget, meditate, check in with a couple of friends, and push myself to be better than I was yesterday.

Those are all examples of short term goals that I can achieve. Achieving your goals is one of the best feelings you can have. But you can see that they aren’t all super formal. I mean I would probably check in with a couple friends anyway, even if it wasn’t on my personal development plan, but I keep it there as a reminder for how powerful it can be to do something so simple.

Short term goals are meant to help keep us on track, but they are also great for our morale. Every time you achieve one of your goals, you will have a nice mental win. Short term goals help in our culture of instant gratification. We want it and we want it now!

Who else has a problem with procrastinating?

I know I’m not the only one who waits until the last minute a little too much.

Taking our goals and breaking them down into daily or weekly tasks really helps to overcome procrastination. If you you are going to be doing something every day, then you can’t really wait until the last minute. There is no last minute. It’s a daily thing.

Failure is imminent, and that’s OK!

You aren’t going to achieve your goals every day. You will have some days where you actually don’t achieve any of them. It’s OK to fail sometimes. Failure is one way for us to learn how to get better.

Trying and failing is so much better than doing nothing because you are afraid of failure.

Achieving goals is very gratifying, but I’ve started to see how failure is gratifying as well. It means that I really tried at something, and I just wasn’t good enough at this particular moment in time. I will get better, and I will overcome this failure.

The days that you don’t achieve any of your goals will drive you to blow them out of the water the next day. It will be a continuous push and pull.

Examples of Short Term Goals

I’ll break down these short term goal examples into the 6 different categories that we should all be making daily progress in.

Short term goals examples

You can see that some of these goals are a little abstract, like help others as much as you can, but it’s still something to keep in the front of your mind as you are working.

Some of the goals are more concrete, like meditate every day, you know whether or not you’ve achieved this short term goal because you know if you meditated or not.

Goal setting is not always an exact science. Especially short term goal setting. It really depends on your personality and what your aspirations are.

If we have a short term goal of sticking to our budget, then we can win every day. And maybe that goal is leading us to a long term goal of saving $1,000,000.00.

There are other types of goals than short term goals. Long term goals are also important for you to have because it keeps your eye on the big picture.

Long Term Goals

My definition of long term goals is anything that will take over 6 months to achieve that you need to develop resources for. Some of these can be pretty abstract as well, which we will get into when we talk about examples of long term goals.

Just like short term goals, long term goals aren’t always formal. They can be something like maintaining a weight that is healthy for you for 1 year. It’s not like you won’t gain a few pounds and lose a few pounds as the year goes by, but you will hover around the weight that you are the most comfortable and healthy at.

If you’ve read this far, then I hope you notice that I’m not spewing the same stuff that everyone else is. My point of view is a little different than most of the other “personal development gurus” out there. I am in the middle of all of this stuff, just like you. I’m setting goals. I’m working on my personal development plan. And as I learn more about the best ways to do this, I am sharing them with you.

Long term goals are there to keep your eye on the prize. You can make a goal to save $1,000,000.00 and you can achieve it, but it’s going to take time! That’s why your short term goal is to stick to your budget. You know that if you stick to it, then eventually you will be a millionaire.

Don’t let self doubt stop you

Reminding yourself that you have dreams and aspirations that reach beyond what the average person has is great. Your goals will be bigger than your friends goals. You will have people who say you can’t do it.

That’s where your mindset comes in. The power of positive thinking can help you build confidence in yourself.

You know deep down that you were meant for more. You know that you are going to achieve more than the average person, you’re just looking for the best way to do it.

Well, from experience, I can tell you that setting short term and long term goals and sticking to them, you are going to be ahead of the game 99% of the time.

Your long term goals are meant to push your limits. We talked about why failure is OK in one of the sections above.

If you always set goals that you know you can achieve, you will never really test yourself. You must continuously test your limits and boundaries to be able to achieve what you truly want to achieve.

Examples of Long Term Goals

As we talked about above, my life philosophy includes the 6 pillars to your happiness and success which are family, friends, finances, fun, work, and health. I have long term goals for each of these categories below.

Long term goals examples

All of these goals are achievable but some will push you to your limits. Like saving 25% of your salary. You may have to make some drastic changes in your lifestyle to save that much, but it is possible.

Other goals may take you out of your comfort zone. Like if your goal is to get a raise at work, you may have to initiate the conversation with your boss and explain why you feel like you deserve a raise by showing how valuable you are to the company.

Bringing your goals together

At this point, you know what a short term goal is and what a long term goal is.

There is real power in bringing the two types of goals together to build yourself and your life into exactly what you are looking for.

Use your short term goals to grow towards your long term goals. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish if you just have the right mindset and keep your eye on the prize.

Take advantage of your mindset and set goals that will push you to be your best. Use short term goals and long term goals to get you to that next level of success that you want so badly!

Goals Journal and Daily Planner

Wrapping it up

This article was written to explain the differences between short term goals and long term goals, and to show how they can work together in tandem to get you where you want to go.

Goal Setting Guide

Check out our Ultimate Goal Setting Guide for more information on setting great goals that you can actually achieve!

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