If this blog wasn’t proof enough for you to know, let me be frank. I am a goal oriented individual. I like setting goals, taking action to reach them and marking them off my list. I feel a sense of accomplishment and it keeps me motivated to move forward. Short-term goals achieve this satisfaction for me. I can set a few goals that I will accomplish this week or next (if not today) and it makes me feel good. Unfortunately, this can actually be detrimental to my productivity and can take away from my long-term vision for my life.
Setting goals that can be accomplished just because they are quick and easy does not mean it is a good thing to do. In fact, short-term goals can often hinder us because we don’t set them in alignment with our long-term goals. Have you done this? I have. I had a goal a year ago to run a marathon and I failed to accomplish it. (you can read the story here). Why did I fail? Running a marathon didn’t fit into my long-term goals. My daily activity was misaligned with what I wanted to do for the long haul. Remember to steer clear of goals that move you away from your long-term vision.
In my post to start this series, I defined short-term goals as those that are made and accomplished in under 1 year. What do you want to accomplish this year, before your next birthday or before school starts?
Here are my top tips to accomplish short-term goals.
1. Align your short-term goals with your long-term goals. In my last post, I wrote about setting your values, vision, and long-term goals. Keep these in mind as you think about and plan short-term goals. For example, if your goal is to make a career change to a different industry, your short-term goals should align with that change. So make a short-term goal to connect with people in your target industry and learn the new skills you will need to change.
2. Set and plan your short-term goals. Just because they don’t take long to accomplish doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan your short-term goals. The old adage “failing to plan is planning to fail” rings true with even these goals. It may only take you 2 minutes and a post-it note, but this is a crucial step to achieving your goals.
3. Keep them in the forefront of your mind. Short-term goals can go come and go almost without notice. You will be disappointed if you forget or let them slip. Make sure you remember your short-term goals by writing them down, telling friends and family, and making notes in places you will see them. Your bathroom mirror is a great place for this; use a dry erase marker and you can easily make and change the messages you leave in a place you visit a couple times per day. If you have an iPhone, the Reminders app can be a huge help for this.
Short-term goals shouldn’t be hard or complex but they take a little planning and thought to be truly successful. Put a few minutes into your goals by thinking and planning; you will make huge headway with a little bit of up-front effort.