27 Short-Term Goals Examples to Help You Succeed Today

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Are short-term goals really necessary?

If goals are our vision of an ideal future, shouldn’t we just focus our attention on achieving our long-term goals?

However, short-term goals are just as important as long-term ones. In fact, without the former, there is a higher chance of failure to achieve our long-term goals.

In this article, we will give 27 short-term goals examples to inspire you to reach the success you envision for your own life.

What Are Short-Term Goals?

A short-term goal is an outcome you want to achieve in 12 months or less. A short-term goal is easier to accomplish than a long-term goal because it focuses on the immediate future. A short-term goal can be accomplished with simple milestones, broken down into daily goals and weekly goals.

For example, a great short-term goal would look like: “I will increase my salary by 10% in the next six months.”

Short-term goals allow you:

  • focus on doing the necessary things to achieve something
  • see where you’re headed and what you need to do to achieve something
  • identify the next steps you have to take
  • check on your progress to see if you’re still on track
  • overcome your tendency to procrastinate

Let’s use the analogy of driving at night to an unfamiliar destination. The map to the place is the long-term goal. The car’s headlamps that allow us to see through the dark and to drive safely are the short-term goals.

RELATED: 21 Examples of SMART Goals

Want to set goals you can actually achieve? Then watch this video that provides a quick overview of SMART goals with 21 examples.

Short-Term Financial Goals

1. Set up a savings account this month

A savings account is a one of the more secure ways to keep your money safe. Moreover, the capital earns interest over time, especially if you open a high-interest account.

The money you have in the bank can be used for future projects, unforeseen expenses, or for funding your retirement cruise.

2. Reduce or eliminate your credit card debt this year

Paying off credit card debts can eat up a large chunk of your monthly income. Also, outstanding debts can negatively impact your credit score. More importantly, credit card debt has been linked to some health disorders.

By reducing or fully paying your debt, you’ll be less stressed, you will be able to spend your money on things you really enjoy, and you can improve your credit score. Eliminating your credit card debt this year can be your ticket to long-term financial security.

3. Start tracking your budget

We’re still talking about financial security in the near future. When you track how you spend your money, you become aware of your spending habits and stop spending unnecessarily.

One way to track your budget is to write down your daily expenditures (down to the last penny) in a small notebook. Another way is to use a money-saving app designed for this purpose. Head over to this post to check out our review of the best money-saving apps this year.

4. Set aside some money for a “rainy-day fund”

Apart from the savings account you’ve opened recently, setting up a rainy-day fund is also a practical short-term goal. This money, whether stored in your house inside a jar or deposited in the bank in another account, is what you’ll dip into when you need to pay for some minor emergency expenses.

The rainy-day fund had been used by others for home repairs, tire replacements, and buying the groceries in the event of a job loss.

5. Learn about stocks and investments

Even if you don’t invest in stocks this year, learning all you can about it can help you make sounder financial decisions in the future. Learning about it now gives you the knowledge about the stock market and how to maximize your investments.

Investing in stocks is considered one of the long-term ways to achieve financial security.

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Learn about stocks and investments, this can help you achieve financial security.

Short-Term Goals for Your Career

6. Be early by 15 minutes for work or for an event

Getting to work earlier than most people gives you a certain edge when it comes to performance and productivity. The quieter work environment allows you to relax before the start of the daily grind. You are more receptive to ideas and are able to focus better.

Being early for work-related events also gives you the chance to spend extra time with the presenter or trainer. You might gain some insight that won’t be discussed during the event.

People appreciate it if you arrive early. It means you care enough to hear what’s going to be said. And leaders usually notice the early birds. Being early can positively impact your career.

7. Keep your workstation organized and free from clutter

When your workstation is organized, you’ll increase your productivity. Furthermore, having an organized area for working boosts your morale. You will be more inspired to work.

The tidy office also denotes professionalism. It shows your boss, clients, and colleagues that you are dedicated to your job and capable of taking care of details.

8. Earn a professional certificate

Employers usually hire or promote individuals working for them based on their skills and knowledge. Furthermore, they like to see employees who continue to improve their competence.

It shows that one has ambition and is willing to work harder than most to achieve results. Even if you were motivated for purely personal reasons to obtain a professional certificate, eventually your efforts will be noticed. Many employers use professional development, especially if self-motivated, as the basis for promotions and pay raise.

9. Strengthen your communication skills

Having good communication skills in the workplace is advantageous in many ways. Foremost, it helps to resolve conflicts whenever they arise.

In addition, being a good communicator is a big plus when it comes to establishing client relationships, engaging in customer service, ensuring the unity of a team, and provides a room for others to express themselves and share their ideas for the good of the company or the work you do.

Feeling shy to reach out to others? Here are some suggestions on how to overcome shyness.

Have trouble communicating your strengths to potential clients? Read our tips and examples on professional goal statements.

10. Improve your networking opportunities

Many career experts say that networking leads to success. It contributes a large part to the development of your career. When you meet with people within your company, in the industry where you work, or even in areas outside of your usual interest and expertise, you give yourself the opportunity to improve professionally.

Through networking, you can meet new advisors and mentors. Supervisors will take notice of you. It also gives you the chance to work on your soft skills.

Interested to know more about soft skills? This post gives over a hundred examples of soft skills you can develop for the workplace.

You can also check out this post to learn how to create SMART networking goals to help you stay focused.

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Networking can help you improve professionally. It can also help you meet new advisors and mentors

Short-Term Study Goals

11. Improve your overall academic performance

Doing well academically has several positive benefits. It can help you qualify for scholarships. You may not have to worry about money for college.

With good grades, you are usually more confident and more opportunities open up for you when it comes to social life and future career prospects.

12. Spend more time in the library this term

One surefire way to develop the mind is through reading. It helps you grasp the basic requirements in order to function in society.

Moreover, reading is a vital skill when you start looking for a well-paying job. In addition, it helps you discover interesting things about our world and develops your imagination. Reading also sharpens your creativity. Lastly, reading is essential in developing a healthy self-image.

13. Submit all your class requirements (research paper, projects, etc.) a week before their deadlines

Submitting your term paper, book report, projects ahead of time has certain advantages. It frees you from the stress of cramming to meet the deadline.

Finishing class requirements ahead of time is a reflection of your ability to manage your time wisely. Furthermore, once you’ve handed in your assignment, you’ll have peace of mind and you can spend your free time having fun.

14. Enhance your note-taking abilities

Taking notes in class has several benefits beyond the obvious recording of what transpired during a lecture. It actually heightens your alertness and helps you stay awake in class.

Effective note taking engages your brain and helps you organize the information you’re receiving. You are able to highlight the important parts of a lesson. Reviewing for an exam is easier with notes you’ve taken during class.

You can choose to write your notes by hand or use a note-taking app. Check out our review of the most effective note-taking apps currently available.

15. Get to know your professors

For a student whose long-term goal includes doing well in school, getting to know your lecture professors is one of the best short-term goals to help you achieve this. Keeping in contact with your professors can be an opportunity for getting higher grades because you are in the position to ask them further information about class materials.

Professors can be a source of inspiration that will be able to point you in the direction of the right career path. Moreover, they can inform you of available internships or career opportunities, considering that college professors are usually involved in various fields of research.

16. Spend less time on the TV

2016 Nielsen report revealed that American adults are glued to the TV screen on an average of 5 hours per day. This time could be used for studying or expanding your social circle.

When you watch less TV, you will increase your productivity, establish and strengthen meaningful relationships, and have sharper focus. Check out this post for the other positive benefits of lessening or stopping your TV habit.

Short-Term Health and Fitness Goals

17. Enroll in a fitness program at the gym

Exercise benefits you in so many ways. It keeps your endorphins up, thus improving your mood.

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Enrolling in a fitness program can make you healthy and help you live longer.

A regular fitness regimen can also help keep your weight down, and strengthens your muscles and improves your bone density. When done right, it can help you live longer. Now, isn’t that the long-term goal for most of us?

Need more workout inspiration? You might also want to check out our posts about fat-burning workouts and staying lean.

18. Buy new pair of running shoes

Keeping your motivation high when it comes to exercising can sometimes become a challenge. When you feel your commitment to exercise flagging, you might want to get yourself a new pair of running shoes or other exercise gear.

19. Get up between 5:30 and 6:00 am

Waking up earlier can help jump start success in other areas of your life. When you get up earlier than most people, you have the chance for “me” time.

Take this time to do some self-care before being swept away with the busy-ness of the day.

20. Cut back on eating out at restaurants and fast food joints

Unhealthy eating habits usually involve eating too much fast food. When you avoid dining out and prepare home-cooked meals as much as possible, you will see an improvement in your health, as well as in your pocket book.

Check out our suggestions on healthy slow-cooker meals you can try this week.

21. Weigh closer to your ideal weight

The closer your numbers are to your ideal weight, the happier you will be. It also means that you have a lower risk of developing health problems.

For more examples, check out our post on short term fitness goals you can focus on next.

Short-Term Personal Goals

22. Write 2 pages in your journal every morning

Enrich your personal life and unleash your creativity with this new habit. Journaling allows you to be more present in your daily life.

The act of writing down your thoughts is a form of meditation that keeps you rooted to the present. If you’re a writer, this habit can help improve your craft immensely. For the non-writers, keeping a journal helps you develop self-awareness.

23. Establish a morning routine

Getting up early, your daily journal writing, and a fitness regimen the moment you wake up can all be part of a morning routine. A set morning routine teaches you discipline in how you go about your day.

The positive benefits of this short-term personal goal can spill over to other areas of your life, giving it a sense of order and harmony.

24. Create daily family rituals

Daily rituals give members of the family, especially the younger ones, a sense of belonging. These activities help bring the members closer to each other.

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Create daily family rituals, it gives members of the family a sense of belonging.

If you are a parent, the rituals can be the springboard for teaching family values such as responsibility, compassion, and kindness.

25. Develop one positive habit this month

You may never realize it but habits dictate our lives. Almost half of your actions during the day are not done by conscious choice but by force of habit.

Habits are such a powerful force that you must learn to develop positive ones. Head over to our post that lists over 200 good daily habits that you can apply in your own life.

26. Try something new every day

Embrace the unknown. Learn a new skill today. When you do, you are actually helping your brain become better at absorbing new information.

When you try something new each day, you will be a more interesting person. You’ll find that it’s easier to relate to others. There will never be a boring day if you have something new to look forward to each time.

27. Attend at least two local personal-development seminars this year

Personal development is not only limited to the workplace. We never really stop learning.

Attending personal-development workshops is a great way of improving yourself. It is also an opportunity to expand your network.


Well, that’s it. Short-term goals are just as important as long-term ones.

As a reminder, your full commitment is necessary to achieve the goals you set for yourself, whether they are for intermediate or short or long term. (To help you plan better, you can use one of these monthly goals templates.)

Rewarding yourself when you’ve accomplished a goal is a way to stay motivated. Check out our article on how to reward yourself after accomplishing a task or goal for ideas to try.

Which specific short-term goals examples resonate with you? We’d love to hear about your own experience of having goals that changed your life. Feel free to share it in the comments section below.

Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.

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27 Short-Term Goals Examples to Help You Succeed Today