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27 Short-Term Goals Examples for Personal and Professional Life

Achieving goals is a lot easier when you have a plan. One of the best ways to accomplish your goals is by breaking them down into smaller pieces and setting achievable short-term objectives that will eventually lead to bigger, long-term results. In this blog post, we’ll discuss 27 different types of short-term goal examples for your personal life and professional life!

We’ve discussed previously a lot about long-term goals, monthly goals, micro goals, and how to make short-term goals work for you. But what are some short-term goal examples? We need to dig into this a little more.

Let’s start with SMART Goals

You’ve heard the acronym before: SMART. These are the elements that every short-term goal needs to have to be effective. It stands for:

  • Specific – a short-term goal should be specific and clear.
  • Measurable – the short term goal needs to have criteria or standards for success.
  • Achievable/Attainable – short-term goals need to be realistic, otherwise you’re setting yourself up for failure! They also need to be attainable, meaning they are within your reach.
  • Relevant – short-term goals should directly address the desired outcome and not have any unnecessary steps that go with it.
  • Time-bound – short-term goals need a deadline or time limit for completion so you can measure progress on the way to achieving them.

Let’s look at some examples more in-depth.

Specific:

Don’t say: I want to train for marathon.

Say: I want to train for a marathon next October and finish with a sub-4 hour time.

Measurable:

Don’t say: I want to walk more.

Say: I want to walk 3 miles per day.

Achievable/Attainable:

Don’t say: I want to run a marathon next week.

Say: I want to run a marathon six months from now.

Relevant

Don’t say: I want to train for a marathon (while 8 months pregnant).

Say: I want to work on rebuilding my core strength so I can start training for a marathon in 6 months.

Time-bound:

Don’t say: I want to read 4 books.

Say: I want to finish 4 books by the end of the month.

Your short-term goals need to be short-term and short enough that you can complete them in a short period of time. For example, don’t set yourself up for failure by saying “I want to lose 20 pounds” if you’re not prepared to start an exercise regimen or change your diet. You need something more attainable like: “I want to walk 30 minutes per day three times per week for the next three months.”‘ Including a  time frame you choose when you set goals is really key!

Goal setting with short-term measurable goals will help you set good goals for yourself and also lead you to accomplishing bigger goals you might have for yourself down the line. Vague goals will just frustrate and deter you, and medium-term goals can feel out of reach if you haven’t built up momentum. That’s why we love short-term goals!

29 Short-Term Goals Examples for Personal and Professional Life

Making SMART goals helps you when it comes to the next steps, and the great thing about them is that they work! So putting that into practice, here is a list of examples of short-term goals.

Improve a soft skill.

Soft skills involve things like time management, organization, communication, etc. They are non-technical skills that you won’t find on a resume but are essential in growing your career.

To set this goal, you could say you want to finish a course on public speaking in one month and then take on two public speaking opportunities in the two months following. Who knows, with your new found public speaking you could become an industry leader who is recognized for their hard work and perseverance.

Get organized for the next day.

Before getting into bed at night, you can be more organized by writing a to-do list for the next morning. This short-term goal will get you in the habit of writing out what needs to be done for tomorrow and you may even find yourself seeing your to-do list as a set of very specific goals for each day. 

Get a new certification.

This short term goal will help you learn how to do something new.

You can start by saying that you want to take a certification course on advanced data analysis and then complete the associated project in one month. New certifications are great for longer-term professional goals or business goals that you want to set.

Improve your health: eating healthier, working out more, etc.

This short term goal is all about bettering your physical health. For example, you might want to say that you’re going on a diet and exercise regimen for one month so that in the next month you can drop two dress sizes. Fitness goals can be challenging, but breaking them down in to manageable short-term goals is a great way to overcome roadblocks.

Start drinking water instead of soda or coffee.

In order to reach this goal, you might say that you’re going to drink four glasses of water per day instead of caffeinated drinks like coffee or soda. This short term goal will help keep your body hydrated and healthy.

Improve your mental health: meditate more often or work through negative emotions with friends.

This short term goal is all about bettering your emotional well-being. For example, you might want to say that you’re going to spend some time each day writing in a journal and then opening up and sharing what’s on your mind with someone close to you.

Improve your physical health: eat healthier, work out more, etc.

This short-term goal is all about bettering your physical well being. For example, you might want to say that you’re going to start working on building muscle and reducing fat by eating an extra meal each day and then doing three workouts per week. Improving your health can feel like a really big goal, but improvement is all about small, consistent steps. Hence, the SMART short-term goals!

Design a morning routine that works for you.

In order to reach this short-term goal, you might say that in your morning routine each day you are going to take a half an hour walk and then again at lunchtime. In addition, on weekends you’ll be walking around your neighborhood or taking a hike.

Design an evening routine that works for you.

In order to reach this short-term goal, you might say that in your evening routine each day you are going to read for half an hour and then spend some time planning out the next day. In addition, on weekends you’ll be reading a good book or watching a movie with your spouse.

Clean your house from top to bottom.

In order to reach this short term goal, you might say that in the next month you’re going to spend an hour each day cleaning your house from top to bottom. This will help keep your home clean and tidy as well as give you some alone time where you can get lost in a project.

Prepare for a 5k.

This short term goal will help you get in shape. For example, let’s say that you’re going to train for a few weeks by doing short runs each day and then join your friends at the local Friday night run.

Find a hobby you love.

This short term goal might say that you’re going to spend an hour each day doing something you love and then look into joining a club or attending your first meetup.

Get prepared for the next holiday season (i.e., buy gifts).

To reach this short-term goal, you could start by saying that in the month of October you’re going to spend an hour each day shopping for presents and then get them wrapped in the month of November.

Take a course on something you want to learn more about.

This short-term goal will help you learn more about something that interests you. For example, let’s say that your short term goal is to take an online course on how to play the guitar in one month so that next year when it comes time for family gatherings with your relatives who play music you’ll be able to sit in and jam with them.

Cut out all unhealthy drinks out of your diet.

In order to reach short-term goal, you might say that in the next month you’re going to cut out all unhealthy drinks like soda and coffee so that by Christmas time your body will be used to not having them.

Clean off your desk at work.

This short term goal is about maintaining a clean workspace. For example, you might say that you’re going to spend 30 minutes every day cleaning off your desk and then another hour at the end of each week sorting through papers. Who knows, you may even inspire your team members and boost productivity!

Design a short-term fitness goal (i.e., run a mile, do an exercise routine).

This short term goal is all about improving your physical health by working out regularly. For example, you might say that for the next month you’re going to run a short mile each day and then at night do some simple exercises.

Practice mindfulness meditation.

In order to reach this short term goal, you could start by saying that in one week’s time you’ll be practicing mindfulness meditation as soon as your alarm goes off in the morning. This is a great way to stay off social media and find more peace in your day-to-day.

Clean out your car.

This short term goal is all about maintaining a clean vehicle so that you can be safe on the road and avoid getting tickets for driving around with junk in your backseat. For example, you might say that each day next week you’ll spend 30 minutes cleaning out your car until it’s sparkling.

Organize your recipes into a notebook.

This short term goal is about organizing all of your favorite family recipes so that you can hand them down to the next generation or even come up with new dishes by combining two different ones together. For example, you might say that for one night each week in the month of October you’ll spend an hour organizing your recipes.

Reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time (i.e., send an email, make a phone call).

To reach this short term goal, you might say that for the next week you’re going to take 30 minutes each day reaching out to different people from your past. There are many different ways to reconnect!

Set a quarterly performance goal.

This short term goal is all about setting a specific, measurable and achievable objective that you’re going to work on for the next three months. For example, your short-term goal might be “reach out to 50 new potential customers each week in the month of October.” Setting short term career goals can offer confidence and clarity if you’re not sure where to go next with your work.

Update your resume and LinkedIn Profile.

This short term goal is all about updating your resume and LinkedIn Profile. For example, you might say that for the next month you’re going to spend an hour every day working on editing both your resume and LinkedIn profile so that by December they are up-to-date.

Build a capsule wardrobe.

This short term goal is all about building a capsule wardrobe so that you can spend less time deciding what to wear in the morning or your outfits are more versatile for different occasions. For example, you might say that in November you’re going to have one week where every day you’ll only wear five items from your existing clothing collection.

Host a party.

This short term goal is all about hosting a party so that you can have an excuse to get your friends together and catch up with them after not seeing one another for a while. For example, you might say that in December when everyone gets back from their holiday travels you’re going to host a big dinner party where everyone brings something instead of a Christmas gift.

Start flossing regularly.

This short term goal is all about maintaining strong and healthy teeth so that you can avoid cavities or even worse health issues later in life like tooth loss or gum disease. This is also an example you can set for family goals, to encourage your whole family in a very small way.

Make a short term plan to save money (i.e., cut back on going out with friends).

This short term goal is all about making a short-term plan so that you’re able to start saving up some extra money to either buy a gift or go on an adventure. For example, you might say that for each month in the next three months you’re going to cut out some of your favorite activities so that by March you’ll have saved up enough money for a short vacation with friends and family. Personal finance and financial goals can take all forms, but the important thing is to set them and accomplish them.

Study a new language (i.e., learn basic phrases and vocabulary words).

This short term goal is all about studying a new language so that you can communicate with your family or friends more easily. For example, you might say that for the next two weeks you’re going to spend 15 minutes each day practicing learning how to introduce yourself in German. Learning a new skill like a language can stimulate your brain in a new and exciting way.

Write down three things you are grateful for every day.

This short term goal is all about making sure you’re able to appreciate the present moment so that you can be more happy and grateful in your life. For example, for each day next week you might spend five minutes writing down three things that made you smile or think “life is good.”

In Summary

I hope these examples of short-term goals inspire you to set good short-term goals for yourself starting today. Whether you want to learn a language, start flossing regularly or host a dinner party these short-term goal examples are sure to help!

Setting and achieving those short-term goals will also help you when you want to set larger, long term goals, because remember, a larger goal is just a bunch of small goals put together. So set your short-term goals, break them down, and rock them!

What are your good short-term goals for the near future? We’d love to know and root you on!

About the Author

Nicole Booz

Nicole Booz is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of GenTwenty, GenThirty, and The Capsule Collab. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is the author of The Kidult Handbook (Simon & Schuster May 2018). She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably hiking, eating brunch, or planning her next great adventure.

Website: genthirty.com


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