You need short-term goals in life because they serve as a way of breaking larger goals down. At Habit Stacker we teach people that you need the following four things for long-term success. 

  1. A Life Mission 
  2. Long-Term Goals 
  3. Short-Term Goals
  4. Daily Habits

The mission is the big picture thing that you want to accomplish on your death bed. As you work your way down the chain, things get smaller and smaller all the way to your daily habits. Your short term goals help to break down your long-term goals so they are not so daunting but they also provide purpose for your daily habits. 

You have to believe in the long term plan you have but you need the short term goals to motivate and inspire you. - Roger Federer

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Contents of This Article

What Are Short-Term Goals 

Short term goals provide the stepping stones that let you know that you are on track to reach your long-term goals, which also put you on track for your mission. They also help you make sense of your daily habits. Why wake up at 5 AM Daily or read everyday? What is it building you up to? Your short-term goals should answer that question. 

Usually these goals are outcomes that you would like to achieve in the next three to six months. These goals are easier to focus on when you are not used to having to build your life over the next decade. A great example of a short-term goal is wanting to lose 15 pounds in 6 months. 

An Excellent Short-Term Goal allows: 

  • Know that you are on the right path
  • Recognize if things are not working so you can make a change
  • Keep you focused 
  • Provide motivation for your daily grind 

Why Not Use Long-Term Goals or Habits? 

You may be asking yourself why you can't just use the goals you have set for the next year or decade? Or maybe you already use Habit Stacker to track your habits and you feel like you don't need goals. The truth is that they all fit together to help build the big picture of success. 

Habits are powerful because they forget about the outcome and focus on the process you want. Anyone can set a goal, but the winners are almost always the people that have the winning process day to day.

You need habits but they can get mundane if they are not connected to a bigger picture. If you want to end world poverty as your life mission, then reading books daily will help to give you information to accomplish that. 

The issue with long-term goals is that they are just too far in the future. If you want to make $10 million dollars in the next 10 years. That does not help you to figure out what you're going to do next week or where you need to be in the next month. Goals give you some milestones to hit to keep you on track for this success. 

Short- Term Goals for Your Career  

1. Do More Than You're Paid to Do 

One of the toughest things about the work place is that most people want more money without providing more value. Your workplace will pay you based off of the value that you provide. If you want to get paid more you have to take on more work and show that you are more valuable. Once you prove that you are providing more value at work they have to give you more money. 

The point here is to focus on the process of doing more. Set a short term goal to be able to take on a few more projects or find a way to take something off of your boss's plate. The less your boss has to worry about the more valuable you will be to them. 

Setting a goal in this area can be a game changer for your entire career. It requires a new mindset to do this. You ever notice that people who only do the bare minimum to get by never rise to the top? People who do the bare minimum are the first to get fired when things get tough. 

2. Stay Organized at Work 

How much time do you waste at work everyday looking for stuff. Time that could be spent learning a new skill or working with a mentor is wasted looking for a file or trying to find where you saved that document. 

Set a goal to get organized physically and digitally. Give everything in your work space a home and when you're done using it or working with it, the document should go back to its home. By tackling this issue upfront you will be able to free yourself up to attack some of these other goals. 

3. Achieve and Maintain Inbox 0 

Email weighs you down. Everyday there are just a crap tonne of emails coming into your inbox and you wish that they would stop but you know that this is not stopping anytime soon. You can keep putting your head in the sand or you can set a short term-goal to Achieve inbox 0.

There are tonnes of good articles on how to achieve inbox 0 like this one. The first thing you have to do is change how you think of your inbox. Its not a dumping place for other peoples crap. One of the fastest ways to make progress on this goal is to deal with emails right away when they come in. Organize them so they go to the right place based on their content. You should not be touching the same emails three or four times. 

4. Get Another Degree or Certificate 

We talked earlier about making more money by providing more value. What better way to be able to provide more value then to show you have more education and skills. Again figure out what the company needs and find a way to provide that. 

Maybe your company struggles with project management. You can easily go and take a course or learn how to use project management tools like Asana. The goal here is educating yourself in a way that will help you move your career forward. If its not with the company you're with go learn skills that will get you paid doing what you want to do. 

5. Strengthen How You Communicate 

Communication skills will always be in high demand. Because of tools like Slack and Microsoft teams, being able to communicate clearly during quick written conversations is becoming more and more important in the workplace. In that same breathe, its still valuable to be able to go up to people and have a clear and concise face to face conversation. 

Another big thing to think about is emotional intelligence which includes: 

  • Self-awareness 
  • Self-regulation 
  • Motivation 
  • Empathy
  • Social skills 

People tend to focus on social skills but peoples willingness to communicate with you will strongly depend on your empathy, motivation, self-regulation and self-awareness. Two of these traits come down to being able to recognize yourself and where you are. 

6. Network More 

Networking can be difficult for anyone but its none the less a necessary part of life. If you know that you need to meet more people in your city and deepen you're connections with like minded people then you have to go out and network. Set goals for events you want to attend or the number of people you would like to meet during this time. 

If you want to get specific here, you can set goals for the people you would want to meet in specific areas. You could break it up into friends, new clients, people in your line of work, and potential mentors just as an example. 

7. Spend Time With Mentors and Advisers 

One of the fastest ways to grow is to get a mentor. A mentor is someone who is at least a decade ahead of you in your field. An Adviser is someone who has experience in an area you don't know a lot about. For example if you want to be an actor you may have a popular actor as your mentor, but have a lawyer and accountants as advisers to help you make smart choices. 

You want to spend as much time as you can with and around people who are playing the game of life at a higher level. You become who you hang around so hanging around success is never a bad thing. Setting goals for the amount of time you want to spend with these types of people will be very powerful.

8. Arrive 15 Minutes Early to Everything

If you have issues with being late or forgetting about meetings then you need to set goals to change that. Ultimately this goal and many others will come down to having better habits as well but setting a goal is a great place to start. Its hard to trust and count on people who are always late because it shows a lack of respect for other peoples time. 

Start your day by waking up earlier and getting to work earlier. That puts you in the habit of just being an earlier person in all aspects of your life. You will then look for more ways to build habits that keep you showing up earlier so you can be seen as being reliable. 

Short-Term Goals for Your Health

9. Number of Workouts

If you want to take your health serious, you need to be working out. It does not matter if you plan to workout one more day a week or do two in a day. The point is that there is always room to push yourself in this area no matter if you're a beginner or not. 

Set goals that are realistic to achieve for your lifestyle and motivation and don't forget to start small. these are short-term goals so you don't need to set the world on fire with your first week of working out. 

10. New Workout Clothes 

Nothing will change your mindset on working out like sinking some money into looking like you workout. You don't want to have to deal with the fact that you look like you work out and spent money like you do but you don't. 

So much of adapting to a new lifestyle is feeling like you already are that thing. Its hard to feel like you should be working out if you already have the excuse of not having the shoes or clothes to do it in. Eliminate any excuses to your workout goals before they even arise. 

11. New Wake Up Time 

One of the biggest reasons that people who want to workout don't is because of a lack of time. When you set goals and want to build new habits around them, you have to carve out time for them. The best way to do this is to wake up earlier. 

The great thing about the morning is that your willpower is at the highest that it will ever be throughout the day. That is why people don't make poor drug, sex and eating decisions in the morning as much as people do at night. The day wears down your willpower and your ability to say no. 

12. Less Eating Out 

You probably know that eating out is not great for your belly or your wallet. That does not mean you should never do it but it will never hurt to cut things down a bit to help you reach your fitness goals. 

Simply decide on the number of times you want to eat out each month and then make that number small month to month over the next 6 months and then you will have a short-term goals for eating out. If you gradually eat out less, you will be more likely to stick with it for the 6 months and beyond. 

13. Weight Goals 

One of the more obvious health goals is to weightless. I will say that you should put less emphasis here than on many of the other goals because this goal is a concrete outcome. For example, if you wake up on time, go to the gym and workout, and eat out less the result will be you hitting your weight goals. 

Its important that you set your 6 months goal of where you want to be, but don't even focus on it for the first couple of months. Nothing will happen here and it will make you want to quit. focus on the process and getting everything else into a rhythm and you will hit this goal. 

14. Maintain Your Diet 

Its always a good idea to decide on some rules for your eating. There are too many diets focused on what you can't eat. Choosing and maintaining a diet is more about setting rules and building the self-discipline to follow those rules. 

The worst thing you can do is just keep eating whatever you want if it has not been working for you. Even if you have a diet that has been working, find a way to make a small tweak that can make it even better. Then set goals to make sure you stick with it over the next few months. 

15. Focus On Mental Health 

In all of this focus  on health, we have not even touched on mental health yet. If you have not discovered how you keep yourself mentality fit it may be a good idea to do that. Some people maintain their mental health with workouts, others use things like hot showers, massages, or meditation. 

The point here is you need to set some goals that focus on maintaining your mental health. For example you could want to meditate for a certain amount of time,  or make sure you go to the sauna every seven days. 

Short-Term Goals for Your Finances 

16. Increase Automatic-Savings 

Whenever you get paid you should have an automatic amount that is moved into savings. If you don't have that, today is your lucky day. Set a goal for how much money you want to save based on this automatic saving.

When you begin to do this well, you learn to live off of less money and you don't even think about your savings or how much you're putting away. This is one of the easiest way to become financially fitter. 

17. Kill Your Debt 

As you begin to develop habits around saving to help you reach your goals, you also want to make sure that you are ridding yourself of any debt that you may have. It may be scary to do but add up all your debt and set a goal for how much of it you want to knock out in the short -term. 

You can't achieve financial fitness if you have a tonne of bad debt like credit cards. Moving forward you want to try and buy things with cash and instead of buying that expensive new car that goes down in value, try and buy a used car that comes with no payments. The less payments you have each month, the more money you can add to your savings. 

18. Maintain Your Budget 

The best way to get your finances under control is to follow a budget like your life depends on it. If you don't know where you're spending your money or how much you're spending in different areas, that is a problem. 

By setting a budget, it helps you to restrain spending too much money in some of your problem areas. A budget does not mean that you can splurge in some of these problem areas at all, it just means you are keeping it under control. As you get better at this you can cut more of the wasted money and move more towards debt and saving. 

19. Build Specific Funds 

Another great way to put yourself in an excellent position financially is to build funds for specific things. You may want to renovate your basement, get a new car or go on a vacation. Why not build savings accounts for each one of those things or use apps like Qapital

You don't have to just rely on a savings accounts. You can put smaller chunks of money into a bunch of different accounts automatically so that you are saving and building for all of the things you want to do at the same time. It makes it seem much less overwhelming to spend huge chunks of money. 

20. Learn More About Money and Wealth 

Its amazing how many people want to be wealthy but how few people want to learn anything about money. If you ask a group of high school kids who wants to learn about money, very few would put their hands up. People live with the assumption that once you get money you can pay someone else to manage it but no one cares about your money like you. 

Spend time learning about your money, the economy and what people much smarter than you do with their money. This can come from YouTube videos, mentors, books or classes. It does not matter how you learn but you should set some short-term goals for this. 

21. Net Worth Goals 

Broke people worry about their income but rich people build their net worth. To build your net worth you subtract your assets from your liabilities. The issue is most people just have liabilities. They have cars, student loans, and credit cards and very few things to build the asset side. 

Once you understand how to build net worth you get why its important to own assets like life insurance  policies, businesses, houses, stocks and many other assets that you can own. Set goals for where you want your net worth to be. 

short-term goals for self improvement

Short-Term Goals for Self-Improvement 

22. Habit Tracking Goals 

When you begin to track your habits and get serious about your success its imperative that you set goals for your streaks. You should know what percentages of completion that you want to maintain throughout the year as well. 

If you can maintain these levels you are ensuring that you move in the correct direction. You can never estimate how fast success will come your way but you can be sure that you are getting closer when you show up daily and meet your short term goals. 

23. Family Time Goals 

If you're still reading this its because success is important to you, but you can't allow it to overtake things that matter much more. All the money in the world will not comfort you on your death bed, only family love can do that. 

Make sure that you are setting goals for the time you want to spend with your family and the experiences that you want to have as you spend time together. These goals will be some of the most memorable and important goals you set for your life. 

24. Personal Development 

Anything that you want to do to grow yourself you can throw into here. You can want to learn a new language or improve your skills on an instrument. It does not matter what it is as long as you are having to push yourself to improve then it counts. 

The reason you want a personal development goals is to keep life light and fun. The goal of these goals is to make sure that you're finding ways and reasons to improve that are not centered around money. 

25. Love Life Goals 

When it comes to love life goals you have to remember that you can't make these about other people at all. The worst thing you can do is set a goal or try to build habits around others actions. You have to control you. These goals are meant to do whatever you can do that is under your control to improve this area of your life. 

You can have all the money in the world but if you don't have love you may not be fulfilled as you want to be. These goals can be set for married people or someone who is single and ready to mingle. It does not matter, but you can make steps towards a better love life.

26. Reading Goals

The last thing you ant to do is set some serious reading goals for yourself. I personally set out to read 100 books in one year and accomplishing that goals was one of the best things I have ever done. When you read more books, it makes achieving eall of the goals listed above easier.

When you read a lot, you begin to think different  and live life at a higher level. You have fresh ideas and a new perspective and approach to old problems. Nothing will help you to develop yourself more than powerful reading goals.  

Conclusion of Short-Term Goals for a Lifetime of Success

You don't need to set short-term goals for all of these. Choose the one with  the most impact from each category and start there. When you make some progress on those goals begin adding a few others until you have enough goals to achieve all of the things that you want to. 

Don't just decide on these goals. Don't just write them down either. Commit to reading them when you wake up and before you go to bed on a daily basis. You need your goals to always be top of mind to keep you motivated and moving forward. 

Ian Warner

About the author

I went from a broken leg to a 2012 Olympian. I have spent the last 15 years building positive habits as a track athlete and entrepreneur. I founded Habit Stacker and dedicated my life to helping people to develop winning habits. I have helped over 5,000 people...

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