Personal Growth

Short-term Goals Done Right

September 24, 2012

Short-term goals are the key to getting to you to your bigger long-term goals and dreams. They can be the catalyst that gets you off your bum in planning mode and starting to actually do something which brings momentum and inspiration.

The length of the type of short-term goal I’m referring to is 7 to 30 days.

photo by rnair

Benefits of short-term goals:

1. Quick progress

2. Explosive growth

3. Very specific, daily actions

4. Build momentum

Recently, Claudia and I had a 3o day mystery shopping goal where we wanted to make an extra $800. This goal went really well, much better than some other goals we’ve had, and here are 4 keys that led to it turning out well.

4 keys for short-term goals done right:

1. Clearly define what the goal is.

You need to know specifically what you are working towards! Make it clear, precise, and very specific.

2. Set a specific 7 – 30 day time frame. 

This is really important because it needs to be short enough that you’re not going to lose focus or intensity. It can not open-ended. This will only lead to procrastination and excuses. Set it for a specific number of days between 7 and 30.

3. Break your goal down into little, measurable pieces.

If you have a goal of redoing the landscaping and want to plant 30 new shrubs, tally up all the different tasks.

30 plants to buy
30 plants to organize and place
30 plants to plant
30 plants to mulch around
30 plants to water__________
150 total tasks

Count it up this way rather than just saying I have 30 plants to plant, or worse yet, 4 flower beds to redo. Breaking it down this way, you have the fulfillment of marking off more tasks. This helps you see the real progress you’re making.

4. Track your progress visually. 

For our mystery shopping goal, we draw a big thermometer on our idea board to track our progress. Visually, we could see how we were getting closer to our goal which really helped us to stay motivated.

Question: Did you recently have a short-term goal that went well – why was that?


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  • Ann Musico September 24, 2012 at 6:27 am

    You just inspired me to set a short term goal!

    • Michael Good September 24, 2012 at 10:26 am

      Very cool, Ann. Glad to hear it!

  • jodyberkey September 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    My short-term goal for September is to be your #1 commenter.  Your top commenter section has always taunted me.  Most of the time I read your posts on my iPhone and didn’t take the time to peck out a comment.  Since our travel phase of our Epic Adventure ended, I’ve had more opportunity to be at a laptop.  I’ve found myself reading more posts, reading more carefully and thoughtfully, being more introspective of my responses to your questions, and ultimately connecting to more people on your site and others.  It’s interesting to see how setting one goal leads to several others unintentional and positive outcomes.  

    I’m behind in my comments.  I’ll get caught up during Elijah’s nap 🙂 

    • jodyberkey September 24, 2012 at 7:38 pm

      Well, no nap today 🙁  Tomorrow’s #1 priority!

      • Michael Good September 24, 2012 at 9:21 pm

        Oh dear… He’s keeping you flexible. 

        • jodyberkey September 25, 2012 at 5:40 am

          Yep, but it’s all good. He’s pretty awesome 😉 I watched a short video that Ryan Ash linked to yesterday with a dad whose five year old died. It certainly put things in perspective.

          • Michael Good September 25, 2012 at 9:38 am

            Read his post, but didn’t watch the video yet. I’ll have to do that!

    • Michael Good September 24, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      I know what you mean about pecking out a comment on a phone. I’m the same way! 

      How do you find our site to be on mobile? Honestly. I’ve noticed Disqus takes a little long to load on mobile. Have you had that problem.

      I like your goal, by the way! 😉

      • jodyberkey September 25, 2012 at 5:37 am

        I don’t have an issue with the mobile version of Disqus. It loads pretty quickly for me. I think your site looks good on the iPhone as well.

        • Michael Good September 25, 2012 at 9:38 am

          OK, good to know. Thanks

    • Michael Good September 28, 2012 at 11:17 pm

      Jody, looks like you have two tallies in the top monthly commenters. Considering that, you’re blowing everyone out of the water! I love it. 

      Did you sign in differently at some point?

      • jodyberkey September 29, 2012 at 12:15 pm

        Hmmm, that’s weird.  I hadn’t seen that before.  I added an avatar to Disqus yesterday.  I wonder if that did something.  Maybe one is my alter ego 🙂

        • Michael Good September 29, 2012 at 11:14 pm

          Hmm, maybe. I don’t know.

  • Michael Wright September 26, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Absolutely spot on, Michael!  The best progress I ever made with fat loss was when I put up a poster board with a calendar drawn on it and had to check off four items each day that I had to do.  Plus a weekly weight/measurement – did the trick!   

    • Michael Good September 28, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      Awesome, Michael! The visualization is big. Plus, there’s just something satisfying about checking something off.

  • Rob Clinton September 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Right on. And to answer your question it’s because I measure it by the small incremental goals. I love how you explained tallying… That’s perfect, and lays out specific things that need to be accomplished in order to make the big goal come to life. Breaking things down is always the way to go if you want to make things more real and achievable.

    • Michael Good September 28, 2012 at 10:50 pm

      Well done, Rob! It sounds like you must have reached your goal. Congrats! 

  • What’s On Your Idea Board? | Follow the Blank Canvas October 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm

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