Learning how to set short-term goals will help you achieve more. Have you ever set short-term goals for yourself? Did you learn about goals in school but never really set any on your own? Have you set goals and wondered why you didn’t achieve them? If any of these sounds like you, read on.
Short-term goals are specific, measurable, and time-specific. They need to be reasonable. They can be challenging to reach at first, yet achievable. They are relatively easy to track. And they are usually set for no longer than a month or two.
They are not vague or big-picture items. Nor are they wishy-washy. They are meant to help you focus on smaller steps, and it’s tough to keep your focus on these detailed goals for longer than 2 months, let alone a year. Learning to reach short-term goals makes long-term goals less overwhelming and increases your success with achieving your long-term goals.
The best way to track your goals is to get a journal or notebook and keep track of what you are doing for each short-term goal you set. When you keep track of your actions, it is not only motivating; it allows you to see your progress and precisely what you need to improve. It will be easy to see if you are having trouble meeting your short-term goal. Then you can adjust. If you miss one day, it’s not critical. But missing several days will tell you to change your goal or method.
Say, for example, your short-term goal is to drink 10 glasses (8 oz.) of water each day for 2 weeks. (This is just an example. The amount of water people need to drink each day varies.)
If you don’t even complete this for one of those days, either change your goal or change your method. Step it down to 8 glasses per day, or fill a jug that holds 80 oz. of water each day and keep it with you. Sometimes all it takes is a minor adjustment to make a goal better or more achievable.
Adjusting goals is not a failure. In fact, it is progress. You are becoming aware of what you are and are not doing. You may find a better way of achieving that goal. Or you may find out that the goal was too lofty.
If you are not used to setting goals, start with one small goal for a one-week period. Mark your progress and add more short-term goals as you practice the art of goal setting.