5 Advantages of Setting Short-Term Goals for Achievement


Setting a goal is simple, but setting a goal without a plan is a wish. Many people set goals because they want to make a change, but unfortunately many don’t achieve their goals and end up staying exactly where they are. The roadmap to achieve a goal can be straightforward if you take the time to plan short-term goals along the way.

Short-term goals are the stepping stones to your long-term goals, they help boost your confidence and motivation, keep you focused, and ensure that you are on the right path working on the right things to get the results you want.

Short-term goals are the stepping stones

By the end of this article, you will understand the importance of short-term goals and how they work in unison to reach the long-term goals.

Difference between Short-term and Long-Term Goals

Difference between short-term goal and long-term goal

Short-term goals and long-term goals are both the same in that they are an objective you want to attain to change or improve your situation. However, it’s the length of time set to complete the goal that differentiates them.

There is no set rule for how long a short-term goal or long-term goal is, but typically, short-term goals are any goal set to achieve in less than a year. Long-term goals are typically any goal set to achieve in one year or more.

Long-term goals are generally more of a vision or a guide. They give you direction and a big picture of what you want based on your values and beliefs.

The downside to long-term goals is that it is very far into the future so they can feel out-of-reach and unattainable. It can also be overwhelming because the time frame is so long, and we never know what will happen next year or two years, so planning something can feel unrealistic because unexpected life events can get in the way.

Have you ever been asked, “Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?” Do you have an exact answer with specific details or do you have a general and vague idea of what you want?

Read here about what are unrealistic goals.

Why Short-Term Goals are important

Check out this 3 minute video about why short-term goals are crucial to success

If long-term goals are the vision, then short-term goals are the action steps to make it a reality. It is imperative that long-term goals and short-term goals are always planned together. The answer to achieving your long-term goal is short-term goals.

Short-term goals reduce the overwhelm and make your goals more attainable. They are the action steps that you plan out. They are your monthly, weekly, or daily tasks that you focus on to make your long-term goals happen.

For example, if your goal is to run a 5K next year, you need to break it down into smaller short-term goals to prepare. Let’s say your daily goal is to run Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so your weekly goal is 3 times a week, and your monthly goal will be 15 times a month. Up the ante every month or week depending on how you feel and keep it up until the big race day!

Saving money is another great example, let’s say you have a goal to save $10,000 by next year. Well, 10,000 divided by 365 is about $28 a day. Your daily goal is $28, your weekly goal is $196, and your monthly goal is $840. However you want to calculate it, you get the gist.

Imagine your goal is to read a very long and boring book. Your long-term goal is finishing the book within one year, so your short-term goal is reading a few pages a day. If you didn’t properly plan how many pages to read daily or weekly, you would either procrastinate or you would try to read as much as you can every day.

Procrastination leads to failing to finish the book by the deadline or stressing yourself out when there are only a few weeks left. If you read as much as you can every day, you won’t have time to enjoy anything else and end up with burnout.

Read here common obstacles in achieving goals and how to overcome.

5 Benefits of Short-Term Goals

Benefits of Short-term Goals

Not only do short-term goals assist to achieve the long-term goals, there are many benefits along the way that accomplishing short-term goals can reveal.

1. Reduce Overwhelm

The number one benefit of short-term goals is that they reduce your overwhelm in completing the big goal. It breaks it down into manageable goals and reduces your stress and worries about being able to reach your goal in the first place. It helps close the barrier that your dream was unrealistic and instead bridges the path.

How to take care of yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

2. Boosts Confidence and Motivation

Putting in the work week by week, month by month, and reaching milestone after milestone, you won’t feel anything else but confident and motivated. Especially knowing you are working towards something important and meaningful to you.

People often mistake confidence and motivation by thinking you need to have those to be successful to start the journey, but the truth is that those things come only after you start working on the goal and seeing progress.

3. Action-Oriented

Short-term goals make it easier to be action-oriented because it breaks it down to one task at a time. You’re more likely to take action now that you’re taking it step by step and achieving those quick wins which can help you build long-term success.

Taking action also makes certain that you are actively pursuing your goal. Your long-term goals are not just a vision or dream, but you are on your way to making it a reality. You can stay on task and stay focused because you have a plan. Your short-term goals are carving you a path to the finish line.

4. Good Time Management

Good time management allows us to have a healthy balance in our lives. We want to focus our energy on what’s important to us but also have time to do leisurely things that we enjoy.

If you don’t efficiently break up your goals into a manageable schedule, you will either not achieve your goal or stress yourself out and be disappointed when the deadline approaches.

The purpose of goal-setting is to improve or change our situation, so if you don’t plan accordingly, you’re wasting time and you’ll still be in the exact situation you are in.

Read here about signs of poor time management and major reasons we struggle.

5. Measurable Milestones

When you set short-term goals and track your progress, you’ll be able to see all the hard work you have put in. Most times success does not have instant gratification because results can take a long time to show up, and this can be very discouraging. However, being able to see that you have hit every daily, weekly, and monthly goal you set will keep your motivation going.

A great advantage to these short-term milestones is that you can track your progress and reflect on the way. You can decide while you’re pursuing the big goal if the hard work is fulfilling or satisfying. Then you can easily change your goals if you decide it’s not the right path for you.

Read next: What does it mean to achieve a goal?

Hong Singer

I'm the creator of Ambition Forward. I keep things simple by focusing on the goal and being consistent in my actions to get the results I want, and I'm here to help you do the same. I encourage you to look for the things that bring you joy and go for it!

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