Most people have long-term goals. They may be large scale, like setting up a business. They may be small scale, like booking an overseas holiday. The problem with long-term goals, though, is that they are often so far away that it’s hard to know where to start, and the goal’s pay-off seems distant and unreachable. For this reason, they will often remain dreams, with nothing ever coming to fruition.
Short-term goals provide a solution to this problem. When properly formulated, they offer a series of milestones , a step-by-step system that paves a path towards your long-term goal. They give you a clear plan to grasp what may otherwise seem impossible.
In order to set short-term goals, you’ll first need to have a clear and defined long-term goal. Let’s take the above 40kg weight loss as an example.
Firstly, you need to break the long-term goal down into actionable parts. In the case of weight loss, you might focus on diet, fitness and lifestyle. You’ll then break each of these parts down into your short-term goals, keeping in mind the acronym SMART – your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
A ‘SMART’ short-term goal for fitness might be to run 2km in under 15 minutes. A short-term diet goal might be to combine at least four different vegetables into each night’s dinner. The goal-setting should be driven by what you think is personally achievable.
These goals should be written down, and displayed somewhere that can’t be avoided. Any goals that seem unachievable should be changed, although you do want a nice balance between challenging and achievable.