Last Updated on April 22, 2018 by Dave Farquhar
When I was in high school, the counselors brought in a life coach once or twice a year to talk with students in various settings. Sometimes it was an assembly, and sometimes it was a smaller setting. One of those smaller settings, she spent some time talking about goals, and that always had an effect on me. So let’s talk about some good short term goals.
This isn’t meant to be an all-inclusive list. My goal is to give you a few examples that you can adopt and adapt to meet your own needs and abilities. For some people, some of these goals are no harder than falling out of bed. For others, the same goal might be a lifetime achievement. As one of my best friends is fond of saying, it’s not ego if you can back it up. Backing up your ego starts with a regular discipline of making and keeping goals.
What good short term goals look like
Good short term goals are achievable, but give yourself adequate credit while stretching you. The goals should help you better yourself while building confidence to build toward bigger and better things.
In that session where the life coach talked to us about goals, the first thing she had us write down was “graduate high school.”
She rightly pointed out that’s an achievement. Not everyone graduates high school. Now, at that moment, everyone in that room expected not only to graduate from high school but probably to graduate from college as well.
At any rate, finishing your current level of education is always a good item to put on the list, wherever it happens to be.
Was this a short-term goal? It’s borderline. It was two years off at the time. But part of the exercise, I think, was giving ourselves enough credit.
Another good example of a good short term goal is at least one self-care goal. Most of us don’t get enough physical activity, myself included. A goal like walking a mile a day is good for your heart, your mind, and your body.
For some people, this is like falling out of bed, so you can scale this up to meet your abilities.
Learning a new skill is a good short-term goal. Try learning a new piece of computer software, or how to change a light fixture.
Talking to your boss at work about these kinds of things is a good idea. Your boss may have some ideas for skills you can learn that will help your team. This can help you amplify the value of your achievement.
Pay off a debt
Paying off a debt is a good short-term goal. Depending on the amount, some debts might extend into longer-term goals. But paying off a credit card balance, a car loan, or some other debt is an achievement that can help you build toward other goals.
Read some books
Reading books is a good short-term goal as it increases your knowledge and your self-discipline. Increasing your knowledge and learning how to apply it to everyday situations is a valuable skill. Finding time to do this can be difficult, but one way is to read books instead of watching TV. It’s a more active mental exercise and you’re likely to learn and retain more.
Listen to podcasts
One really good short term goal is to spend your commute listening to podcasts that increase your knowledge instead of listening to music. There’s nothing wrong with music, but knowledge helps you achieve other goals.
Save a certain amount of money
Make a goal to set aside a certain amount of money. This could be with a larger goal in mind, such as buying something, or just to prove you can do it. Americans don’t save enough money, so gaining the discipline to save is a worthwhile goal.
Good short-term goals, in conclusion
These are seven examples. It’s likely you can take some of them as-is and make them your own, but I hope you’ll expand on them. Short term goals are more effective when you follow them up with something that builds on them.
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.