Short-term goals are crucial for interviews, study and scholarship applications, personal development, and more. Knowing what your short-term goals are, can help you stand out from other candidates. We’re going to break down everything you need to know about short term goals.
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What are short term goals?
You want to achieve a short-term goal in the near future. This could be this month, this quarter, or the next 6 months. Typically, any goal with a span of more than a year is considered a long-term goal.
Examples of short term goals
Example 1: health
“I want to lose 5 pounds in the next 6 weeks”
Example 2: finance
“I want to add $ 500 to my savings account by the end of this quarter.”
Example 3: career
“I want to get a promotion in the next 6 months.”
Example 4: self development
“I want to read one book a week for the rest of the year.”
The similarity? Each goal has a short time frame, and the goal is something that could reasonably be achieved in that time frame.
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How to set short term goals
The key to setting short-term goals that you will actually achieve is using the acronym SMART. SMART goals are:
- Time oriented
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Checklist for setting a short-term goal
Specific: Start with the process that you want to improve first. Decide on a specific action step that you can take.
- ✔ What will you achieve?
- ✔ How does it look? (What do you see in your head as you imagine yourself working towards your goal?)
- ✔ What is the action step?
Measurable: How do you know if you have achieved your goal or not? There are different levels of “healthy” or “financially healthy”. Avoid words that can have vague meanings, such as “learn” or “feel”, as you cannot measure them. Instead, use action verbs such as “execute”, “save” or “write”. Then turn those words into quantifiable benchmarks.
You need to be able to answer the question, “Did I do it? If not, how far do I have to go? “
- ✔ How do you know when it’s ready?
- ✔ Which objective benchmarks can you achieve on your way?
- ✔ Would anyone else be able to tell it was complete?
- ✔ Is it quantifiable?
Reachable: My mentor BJ Fogg talks a lot about little habits – little things that set us on the path to success. The best way to achieve a goal is not to rely on motivation, but to make it ridiculously easy for your future self to do the right thing. Instead of running 5 days a week, start with one day and move up from there.
- ✔ Are there available resources to achieve the goal?
- ✔ Need a gym membership, new bank account, new clothes?
- ✔ Am I prepared to do this, even if I have no “motivation”?
- ✔ Are there any time or financial restrictions that need to be taken into account? Am I Too Ambitious To Start? (Remember, you can always be more aggressive about your target later.)
Relevant: Are you wondering if this is really important to you in the scheme of all the things you want to try? Ramit tells the story of how he went to India for his cousin’s wedding a few years ago, where he saw one of his friends ordering his meal in fluent Hindi. Pretty impressive. When he got back to NYC, he put “Hindi Lessons” on his to-do list, then skipped it for MONTHS. The truth is that he really didn’t care enough about learning Hindi. It wasn’t important enough. When he acknowledged he wouldn’t and would cross it off the list, he had time to focus on the things he really wanted to do. Don’t feel guilty if something is not your top priority. Just confirm it so you can focus on the important things.
- ✔ Why am I doing this?
- ✔ Is that a priority for me?
- ✔ Will it compete with other goals in my life?
Time-oriented: Give yourself time to reconsider your goal. And put it on the calendar! I want to re-evaluate my goals every 3 months to make sure they are still achievable and relevant.
- ✔ Is there a deadline?
- ✔ Have I put it in the calendar?
- ✔ Will I know in 3 months if I am on the right track?
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Implementation of the checklist for short-term goals:
- TERRIBLE GOAL: “I want to get fit.”
- BAD GOAL: “I want to lose 10 pounds.”
- GOOD GOAL: “I want to eat 3 healthy meals a week and go to the gym twice a week for 15 minutes.”
Notice how we focus on the process first, starting conservatively: anyone can only have three healthy meals in a week. And anyone can go to the gym for 15 minutes. Prepare to win.
The next step is to make it simple: set 1 hour on your calendar on Sundays to purchase 3 healthy meals and keep them wrapped and ready to eat in your refrigerator. Also set two 1-hour slots for the gym (time to travel).
Take your goals to the next level
You can see how you can achieve your goals if you are specific, realistic and using systems.
I’ve put together a fee guide on how to achieve a goal you set and I want to share it with you now.
If you are ready to stop making excuses to break out of this fear and transform your life fundamentally, this free guide is for you.