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Short Term Goals - How to Use Them to Achieve Long-Term Goals

How to Set Personal Goals  By: Katie Lister

January 02, 2024

How do you set short term goals? Do you want to get things done effortlessly? Learn how short term goals can help you achieve long term goals in this article. 

Do you admire people who seem to get things done effortlessly? This could be you if you learn how to set shorter goals to achieve long-term goals! It is not as challenging as it sounds, and it has enormous benefits.

Hi, I am Katie Lister, a practicing Registered Nurse and founder of Growth Gals. In this article, I will fill you in on the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of setting goals to achieve over a short time, including why they are important when you want to achieve long term success. 

To become the best version of yourself, you must intentionally set goals and work towards fulfilling them. Most people make the mistake of setting unrealistic goals, which hinder personal growth.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about setting achievable smaller goals to help you achieve specific long-term goals.

Table of Contents

Katie Lister

Katie Lister

Written by Katie Lister, RN, BScN. An experienced Registered Nurse, Group Facilitator, Life Coach, and Community Leader. Read Katie's Full Author Bio

Types of Goals - Long-Term and Short-Term Goals

Long-term goals are those you want to achieve over a long period, usually three to five years or more. These goals could be anything from owning a home or opening a business. These objectives comprise short-term goals that cumulatively lead to accomplishing the longer-term goals.

Setting long-term personal goals gives your life more purpose and gives you direction. Goal setters often make better decisions and have more motivation for success. Long-term plans are often complex and need a lot of patience and persistence as they significantly impact your personal or professional development. 

Short-term goals are objectives you plan to achieve soon, typically within six months to three years. These goals are smaller and more manageable, helping you avoid taking on more than you can handle while also serving as building blocks toward reaching your ultimate goal. 

For instance, if you are an entrepreneur and you want to launch a marketing campaign, you need to start by setting smaller goals, such as researching the market, reviewing your strategy, or building a landing page.

Examples of Long Term Goals

  •                 Venture into a new market 
  •                 Save money for retirement
  •                 Save money for your child’s college education
  •                 Learn a new language

Examples of Goals that are Short-Term 

These goals could be personal, career, or financial goals such as:

  •                 Learning a new skill
  •                 Saving for an Emergency fund
  •                 Keeping a journal
  •                 Saving for a short vacation

How smaller goals Can Help Achieve Long-Term Goals 

A Short-term goal is the stepping stone to long-term goals, and the tasks are broken down for easier management. For long-term objectives to pay off, you must create short-term goals that are easier to achieve. Goal setting works across the board and applies to your professional development and personal development.

Benefits of Smaller Goals

Goals to achieve in the short term are an action plan that offers several advantages in the process of achieving the big goal. 

They Provide Direction and Focus

Goals to achieve in a short-term give you clear direction and focus. You have a clear idea of what you want and the timeframe. This improves your productivity and motivation as you know exactly what you need to do on a day-to-day basis.


Daily and weekly planning allows you to focus on the actionable steps. When you work with smaller goals, you feel less overwhelmed by the workload, and you can easily organize your day, week, and month.

Better Time Management

Smaller goals allow you to focus on the big picture and manage your time better, making you more productive. When you have a smaller workload per day, you quickly make progress on the roadmap toward your larger objectives. With a plan, you can tackle the small goals more effectively.

Boosts Self Confidence  

Goal setting is only effective when you have a measurable goal in mind. This goal must have the power to motivate you emotionally and intellectually. It is often inspiring to know the outcome you are working towards. This encourages you to work harder to achieve your smaller goals, ultimately leading to the final objective. 

Achieving goals can provide a great sense of accomplishment and boost your confidence. It is important to set daily, weekly, and quarterly goals to ensure a continuous stream of wins. Strive to achieve all these goals, significantly boosting your confidence.

How to Set Goals that are Short-Term

Short-term goal setting offers a sense of direction towards fulfilling your more significant purpose. Here is how you can select your short-term goals:

Think of What You Want to Achieve

Your first step is to think of what you want to achieve and set successful short-term goals. For anything to succeed, you must visualize what you want. Long-term goals are a considerable commitment that can easily lead to burnout.

You must ensure that these goals are relevant to your life and values, making it easy to stay committed. For instance, is it relevant in your life if you intend to learn a new language, such as French? Do your personal goals involve relocating to a French-speaking country? 

Do you interact a lot with French-speaking people? Do your career goals involve a promotion to a position that requires you to learn French? All these are questions you must ask yourself before you venture into a French class and decide on your career path.

Ensure Your Goals Are SMART 

You must clearly define your goals and ensure they are SMART goals, an acronym for:

S- Specific– A goal needs to be specific for it to be effective. It should answer questions like the objective, who’s responsible, and what steps you need to take to achieve the goal. For instance, increase the monthly users for your mobile app by creating social media campaigns targeted at specific demographics via platforms like LinkedIn or X (Twitter)

M- Measurable:  Quantify or make your goals’ metrics measurable to ensure you can track the progress and identify when you have achieved the objective.

Attainable: Ensure the goals are attainable and realistic. Only demand what is possible, or it will lead to failure.

R- Relevant: It’s essential to ensure the goals are relevant to your life and align with your values 

T-Time-bound: If you have a specific goal to achieve in the near future, setting clear parameters for when you will begin and end working towards that goal is essential. Without a set amount of time, losing focus and never actually achieving the goal is easy. For example, you may never follow through if your goal is to run a marathon next year but you haven’t set a specific start and end date for your training.

What is The Most Important Step in Prioritizing Goals? Find out here. 


Set Priorities

After setting goals and asking the right goal setting questions appropriate project management is Essential. You need to prioritize these goals in order of importance.

You must attempt to tackle the goals one at a time to succeed. Consider the availability of resources, then write down all your long-term goals, with the most important first noting how long each will take to accomplish, then break them down into smaller goals.

Keep Track of All Progress Made

You can track the progress of your short-term goals in various ways and gauge how effective they are at achieving your long-term goals. Examples may include:

  •         Keeping a journal on what you did per day
  •         Keeping note of all consecutive days you worked on your goal
  •         Using a friend who is mentoring you for accountability

Celebrate Small Wins 

“All goals are important, no matter how big or small they are.” Mike Kappel.

It is essential to take the time to celebrate your victories, even the small ones that you might think are insignificant. Doing so can be a great source of motivation and give you a sense of accomplishment that will help you stay focused and on track toward achieving your goals. So, acknowledge your progress and reward yourself for all the hard work you put in.

Schedule Some Time for Milestones

It’s essential to allocate a specific period to meet your goals. For instance, you can set aside 30 minutes daily for reading or writing, or decide to work on your website for 5 hours per week. Make sure to mark this time on your calendar and commit to it. This way, you can develop a habit of dedicating time to achieving your objectives.

Growth Gals can help you achieve your Short Term Goals!

Are you a woman seeking to improve yourself? Do you want to discover your true self, values, and aspirations? Join Growth Gals, a community of like-minded women who can help you achieve your goals.

Follow @growthgals_ on Instagram to stay updated on our goal-setting journals, coaching, and support groups. Also, remember to check out our newsletter to keep up-to-date with the latest tips and tricks for personal growth. Join us now and start your journey towards self-improvement!!


All of us have aspirations and goals to enhance our lives. Our objectives for the long run may involve having a financially stable retirement, sending our children to college, or saving up for a vacation.

Irrespective of what our financial, personal, or professional goals are, we must have a plan in place to achieve them. To achieve your long-term vision, it’s important to break it down into smaller goals. This makes it easier to navigate and helps you see the bigger picture.

Goals to achieve in the short term offer various benefits including providing clarity and boosting confidence.

You can set short-term goals by visualizing what you want, writing goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART), setting priorities, and tracking your progress. Celebrate your small wins, and within no time, you will accomplish your larger objective! Keep at it, and keep winning!

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