Achieving Success with Short-Term Goals: A Step-by-Step Guide

CoachHub · 28 March 2023 · 7 min read

A core part of ambition and finding one’s purpose is setting goals. It is practically impossible to get anywhere without having some form of goal or plan to help you move forward. The world we live in is set up without enough variables that may make it discouraging to chase dreams. However, dreams appear achievable when you have goals to guide you and help you maintain or track progress.

There are different kinds of goals, short-term goals and long-term goals. This distinction exists as a guide that helps people make realistic plans based on an existing timeline.

A student may have a long-term goal of becoming a doctor, but what ultimately helps them achieve that goal is the small goals along the way. Goals like passing exams or passing specific milestones in school make it a lot easier to get to the ultimate goal of becoming a doctor. When a person is able to cross minor milestones on their journey, they are able to track their progress and feel a sense of accomplishment when they achieve their short-term goals.

Oftentimes, setting short-term goals can be an effective way of staying grounded amidst the overwhelming intensity of a person’s job or day-to-day life.

Short-term goals give you something to look forward to, a sense of purpose that buoys you on those days when it becomes hard to stay focused on your long-term ambitions.

Truthfully, setting goals can be difficult, especially when you feel like there is too much to do. This is why it is important to have priorities. One of the best ways of setting your priorities and goals is through digital coaching. The personalised nature of the digital coaching experience ensures that you get unbiased advice to help you set clear goals in your career.

short term goals

Understanding Short-Term Goals

Short-term goals are those ambitions that you want to achieve within a short period, not longer than a year. Short-term goals can be things that you want to accomplish irrespective of the turnout of other occurrences. They can be small things like cleaning your home, reading a book, watching a movie, organising your closet or saving money to get groceries.

Short-term goals can also be milestones that you set for yourself in order to accomplish other goals, usually long-term. In the workplace, it is very common to run into people who have short-term goals and careers that will help them as they try to achieve a bigger goal. These types of short-term goals are also vast and diverse.

Benefits of setting short-term goals

Perhaps one of the best benefits of setting short-term goals is that it can help fend off depression, anxiety or panic. This is especially true in situations where you feel stuck or stagnant. Short-term goals keep you moving forward. They ensure that you always have something to look forward to in spite of any delays.

The main cause of depression or anxiety for a lot of people is the feeling of stagnancy in their lives or career. Short-term goals eliminate that feeling to a larger degree, ensuring that you can celebrate minor milestones and experience a sense of progress.

Short-term goals also make larger aspirations appear less daunting. For example, a person pursuing a new career path may get overwhelmed when they think of the process they may need to pass through to get there. Setting short-term goals that can be completed within a short time frame makes it easier to continue to pursue the larger goal or position.

There are many types of short-term goals. They can be applied in different aspects of an individual’s life; school, work, relationships etc. The important thing is to ensure that these goals are realistic and achievable.

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Creating Effective Short-Term Goals

In order to combat the confusion of what counts as an effective short-term goal, you need to follow the SMART goal setting method.

1. Specific

Goals need to be concise for them to be effective. It is a lot more difficult to focus on potential short-term goals if there is no clear or specific statement of the goal. You need to be aware of the scope of the goal so you can be aware and prepare efficiently for the things you need to do along the way. A person on the path to setting effective short-term goals needs to be aware of questions like the who, which, where, what and why of the goal. These are the “W” questions.

2. Measurable

Short-term goals are very effective because they can help individuals in keeping track of their progress through milestones. In the process of setting short-term goals, it is essential that there are systems in place to help you track your progress. This way you can always pull yourself back when you start drifting.

3. Achievable

Goals need to be realistic. They have to be achievable. It is the only way you can make progress, especially when they are a part of your long-term goals. What you need is to set goals that you can achieve within a reasonable limit. Short-term goals are hard to accomplish when you cannot complete them with your skills.

4. Relevant

Your life goals and short-term goals should be related in some way. It is hard to achieve a goal when it has no significance to the progress of your life.

5. Time-bound

Set short-term goals that will not take too much time to achieve. This reduces the pressure and anxiety you may feel.

Breaking down long-term goals into short-term goals

Being aware of the scope of your long-term goals makes it infinitely easier to break them down. Before you get to the ultimate goal, breaking down the steps along the way gives room to evaluate before you get to the finish line. By spending time considering the goal and the resources you require to complete it, you can easily break up the steps and create a system of smaller milestones. Completing these easy goals along the way ensures that you can grow without feeling like your long-term goal is too far away.

Having some sort of measuring system in place to track your progress will make it possible for you to be more appreciative of your journey. This way, you can celebrate milestones and give yourself the needed accolades.

A lot of times, we get so caught up in the stress of our jobs that we begin to downplay our own abilities and successes. Essentially, tracking your progress creates a sense of appreciation and satisfaction in your own self. This makes it possible to remain motivated in-spite of any setbacks. The journey ahead looks less scary when you do this.


Staying Motivated and Focused

It is never easy to maintain focus and motivation while trying to achieve a goal, whether short-term or long-term. The encouraging thing is that it is not impossible.

Overcoming obstacles

Despite the amount of structure that goes into the goal setting process, setbacks may occur along the day that threaten your focus and motivation. The best way to approach these setbacks is to try to prepare solutions ahead of time. This way, you have a backup plan in case of eventualities.

Rewarding oneself

Milestones become more fun when you give yourself rewards along the way. The rewards don’t have to be excessive. It could be something as simple as a day off or your favourite snack. Either way, these things serve as boosts and minor motivations that give you something to look forward to during those times when it’s hard to stay focused.

Celebrating small successes

This is also related to the rewards. Give yourself a pat on the back when you complete a difficult task. Even when the milestone was relatively easy to accomplish, it helps to celebrate the success. Encouraging yourself goes a long way in building motivation for your subconscious mind.

Utilising Digital Coaching for Success

For people who are familiar with digital coaching, the main appeal comes from the fact that the process is made easier through technology. Coaches and clients no longer have to be in the same room to communicate. It is also a personalised experience.

Through digital coaching, clients can get professional guidance on how to outline and set clear goals. Digital coaches offer advice on how to make better decisions that impact the short-term goals.

By talking to someone who isn’t directly involved in the situation, you can get an unbiased opinion on how to move forward and set goals that are achievable. Most human beings require some sort of order to function daily. Goal setting represents that order.



The bottom line is that ambitions become easier to pursue when there are short-term goals to aid the process. It is easy to become overwhelmed when faced with responsibilities but setting short-term goals can alleviate that mental load.

The best way to become good at something is through constant practice and digital coaching offers an opportunity for people to become more adept at setting short-term goals.

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Samuel Olawole
Samuel Olawole is a freelance copywriter and content writer who specializes in creating exciting content across a wide range of topics and industries. When he’s not writing, you can find him traveling or listening to good music.

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