Everyone should have long-term goals, but long-term goals are actually accomplished using short-term steps. I find that I am much more likely to accomplish my goals when I turn my long-term goals into short-term goals.
(If you haven’t already, start by setting long-term goals.)
I am a firm believer that short-term goals can drastically change your life. All long-term goals are accomplished one day/week/month at a time. That’s where short-term goals come in and why they’re so important.
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I consider short-term goals to be goals that take less than 3 months to accomplish and they can either be a goal in and of themselves or they can be a smaller piece of a long-term goal.
In this post, I’ll share with you the steps that I use to create short-term goals by breaking down long-term goals.
Step 1: Start With Your Long-Term Goals
When setting short-term goals, start by looking at your long-term goals.
If you haven’t set long-term goals already, I’ve written out a guide to setting long-term goals here. Go there and set your long-term goals before continuing. (Don’t worry, we’ll wait.)
Some of your short-term goals will be directly related to your long-term goals. In fact, most of them should be. If you think of a short-term goal that isn’t on your long-term goal list, you may want to go back and include it on your long-term goal list as a goal to be accomplished in 1 year.
I would encourage you to pick 3 of your long-term goals that you want to focus on first and then turn those long-term goals into short-term goals.
These might be the 3 goals that you can accomplish the fastest. Choosing the quickest goals to accomplish may be a good starting point because completing them will enable you to put 3 new goals on your list and you’ll feel empowered by the quick wins. Just be careful to not only focus on the goals you can achieve quickly. Many good things take time.
On the other hand, you may want to pick the 3 goals that are the most important to you or that you think will add the most value to your life when accomplished.
Take a few minutes to determine which 3 goals you’d like to focus on and then read on.
(Once you’ve focused on 3 goals for a few months, you may want to add in a few more goals, but it’s important to start small.)
Step 2: Look at the Goals That You Plan to Accomplish Within 1 Year
Long-term goals that you’d like to accomplish in less than a year are a little different from other goals, because they generally translate very easily into short-term goals.
In my experience, most goals that can be accomplished within 1 year can be accomplished within 3 months.
Year-long goals that can actually be accomplished in a shorter timeframe are procrastination enablers. The actionable steps needed to accomplish them are so small and spread out that they seem insignificant and leave you feeling like you have all the time in the world to accomplish them.
Ask yourself this question about one of your long-term goals: Would it be possible, however difficult, to accomplish this goal in 3 months? If so, this is your first short-term goal.
If not, what portion of this goal could you accomplish in 3 months? How about 1 month?
One of my blog goals is to have 500 people on my email list by December 31st. As a brand new blogger, this isn’t something I can accomplish in 1 or even 3 months. But I can accomplish it in 5 months, so, dividing 500 by 5, I’ve determined that I need to gain about 100 subscribers each month. That is a manageable short-term goal: 100 new subscribers this month.
If you can break down your year-long goal into something that can be accomplished in 1 to 3 months, that is your new short-term goal.
Once you have your short-term goal set, break it down further into actionable steps. What steps do you need to take to get from where you are now to where you want to be?
Break down the steps until you get to the very first step. It should be something that you can do within the next 24 hours. Knowing what step you can take within the next 24 hours is what will actually enable to you accomplish your goals.
Step 3: Look at the Goals That Will Take Longer Than a Year to Accomplish
Similarly to what you did for the goals you plan to accomplish in less than a year, you’ll want to think about the goals you plan to accomplish within the next 3, 5, or 10 years and determine what portion of those goals you can accomplish in 1 to 3 months.
Ask yourself: How much of this can I accomplish in 3 months? 1 month? Now set that as your goal.
It’s helpful to divide numerated goals by the number of months you think you’ll need to accomplish them to determine how many whatever you’ll need to gain/lose/accomplish/etc. in order to meet your goal.
For example, if you had a goal to read 100 books over the next 5 years, you would divide 100 books by the 60 months you would take to read them, meaning you would need to read a little over 1 and a half books each month to reach your goal. Reading 1 and a half books seems a lot more manageable than reading 100.
Now use the process you used with your 1 year goals to break your new short-term goals into small, actionable steps.
What can you do each week? Each day? Now determine what you plan to do within the next 24 hours to get you closer to each goal.
You now have short-term goals. Congratulations!
One Last Note
Turning your long-term goals into short-term goals will put you well on your way to accomplishing those big long-term goals!
Remember that (however cheesy it sounds) you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, and, now that you’ve taken time for setting short-term goals, you’re one step closer than you were before.
I’d love to hear how you’ve turned one of your long-term goals into short-term goals. Send me an email and share your new short-term goals.
Each month, I post my own personal short-term goals. If you are interested in reading them, you can find them here.