Short term goals are often looked down at. After all, it is the big dreams that we are after. However, as we keep our eyes on a prize, it is important to remember that any BIG success is always a result of many small successes and likewise any big failure is a result of repeated small failures.
It is impossible to change your career, get in shape or learn a new language overnight. Whatever you strive for, the safest, the smartest and the least time-consuming way to achieve it, is by setting clear short term goals.
Benefits Of Setting Short Term Goals
Whether you are trying to excel personally, succeed professionally, prosper financially or grow spiritually, properly set and executed short term goals can help you do that.
Here are just a few benefits that you might want to consider when setting smaller goals:
- They are simple and easy to accomplish
- They do not require long-term commitment
- It is a great way to create momentum
- They allow you to stay on track and keep your motivation high
- They help to boost your self-confidence
- They provide you with instant feedback to measure your performance and progress
- And they guarantee something we all love – quick results!
If you have never set short term goals, I suggest you start today, because it could be the quickest road to a huge, positive life change.
What Are Short Term Goals?
While the name seems pretty self-explanatory, many people still have a lot of questions when it comes to setting and achieving short term goals:
- What is the time frame for the short term goals?
- Are short term goals more important that long term life projects?
- What is the difference between short term goals are New Year’s resolutions?
- How to properly set short term goals?
Let’s start at the beginning and bring some clarity into the whole Goal Setting Concept.
1. Short term goals are associated with specific time frames.
They can range from simple tasks that you can accomplish in just a few minutes to more serious objectives that last up to one year.
2. Usually short term goals serve as stepping stones to a larger, long term dream.
For example, “Triple my income by the end of 2015” is a realistic, but rather overwhelming goal. And that’s where short term planning comes in handy, because any difficult, time-consuming goal can be always broken down into smaller, do-able steps.
If I want to triple my income in three years, there are plenty of things I can do. I can give myself 6 months to find a better, more gratifying job. I can turn one of my hobbies into the source of income (e.g. start my own blog, write a book, or teach someone else how to do something I already enjoy doing). I can take a 3-month course to learn more about finance. I can implement a business idea that I had and see if it will take off.
Some of these goals can be chunked-down into even smaller tasks and objectives that will take only few hours or few days to complete.
3. Short term goals are not the same as New Year’s resolutions.
The resolutions that we set for the upcoming year are usually on-going, like “go to the gym 3 times a week”, “stop smoking”, “giving up diet coke”. Short-term are not. They have a clear deadline and are directed towards specific result – “lose 10 pounds by March 31st”, “read Allan Carr’s book ‘The Easy Way to Stop Smoking’ by the end of the month”, “create a healthy eating plan for the next week”.
If you are new to Goal Setting, it is probably better to start with short term goals rather than on-going resolutions. That way you will not feel like you failed if you skipped just one day of a workout or had a chocolate chip cookie, while being on a diet.
How To Set Short Term Goals?
There are two easy ways of setting any type of goal and double-checking it. One is SMART goal method, another less known is what I call 7 P’s method.
Following 7 P’s System your short term goals should be:
Prioritized: You may have several different goals that you would like to achieve, but ideally you should concentrate only on one goal at a time. Write down everything you would like to achieve by the end of the year. Now look at your list at start with the high-priority, but lower-difficulty goal. Start with that one!
Present: Write your goal as if it is currently true. From psychological standpoint goals that are stated in the present tense create a sense of urgency and motivate us towards their achievement. While goals that begin with ‘I will…” leave a lot of room for procrastination.
Positive: It is always much better to work towards what you want than trying to avoid something that you want to leave behind. Always start your goal with a positive statement, “I am…”, “I have…”, “I feel…” It is a lot more effective and inspirational.
Precise: When setting goals try to be as specific as you can. If the goal is stated in way that is too general or too vague how will you know what steps to take and more importantly when will you know that you have achieved it?
One way to ensure that your short-term objectives are precise is to make them measurable. For example, a statement “I want to earn more money” sounds more like a wishful thinking than an actual goal. “I increase my monthly earnings by $500” is a much better way to phrase your objectives, but even this goal can still be improved. Which leads us to the next point…
Performance-based: Any well-set goal should have a clear and realistic deadline that allows you to measure your progress and your performance. Having a timeline for your short-term goal takes it from the realm of “I will get to it someday” to a commitment that you have promised yourself to keep.
Practical: Is your goals realistic or does it come in conflict with any of your other goals? Is it challenging enough so that you are motivated to work towards it, but reachable so that you can still achieve it? Is it within your control to make things work or do you rely on other people to meet your objectives?
Sometimes just a few small tweaks are necessary to bring your goal in line with reality.
Personal: Whatever goal you will choose for yourself, always make sure that it is something YOU really want, not something that your parents expect of you, something you would like to prove to your friends or something that sounds good. If your goal is not aligned with your inner values, beliefs and heart-felt desires, your subconscious mind will sabotage your conscious efforts, setting you up for a failure. On the other hand, if your goal is something you truly dream of, just re-reading your goal statement will be enough to motivate you into action.
Properly-rewarded: Ok this point is not a part of 7 P’s System, but this does not any less important. Goal Setting should not turn into something you procrastinate against. It should be something that you enjoy doing, something you eagerly work towards almost every day. One way to make the whole goal setting process more fun is by celebrating your smallest accomplishments and rewarding your efforts with little surprises and gifts. It does not necessarily have to be something expensive. There are plenty of ways to celebrate your successes without having to spend a dime!
Your action step:
- Think of something you wanted to achieve for a long time.
- Write your short term goal down, keeping 7 P’s system in mind.
- Now think of the smallest step that you can take to set the whole goal-getting process in motion and do it TODAY!
Set short term goals and you’ll win games. Set long term goals and you’ll win championships!