How to Make a List of Short-Term Goals


While long-term life, business, or career planning is important, it is impossible to know how to achieve long-term goals without first identifying a few short-term ones. Short-term goals can help bridge the gap between where you are now and the road that will ultimately lead you to where you want to go. To make a list of short-term goals, examine your current situation and resources as well as your hopes and dreams for the future.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Identify your long-term goals, and decide which of these you want to write short-term goals to correspond with. Figure out what some of the major roadblocks are that stand between you and and this goal, then narrow these down to the ones that most immediately affect you at this time. This will help you determine how to draft goals designed to overcome these hurdles.

  • Determine the time frame in which you are working. Decide what you think "short term" means, whether you are looking to base your goals on time or if you plan to base your goals on meeting a certain mark of completed tasks in relation to your long-term goals and determine your time frame based on these goals. If the latter is true, decide what you think a reasonable amount of time will be.

  • Assess your current situation. Look at the current position you are in and figure out some of the things you need to do, and can do, to get from where you are to where you want to be. Look at your assets and obstacles and ask yourself what sorts of first steps will be effective and possible to achieve.

  • Draft your list. Write down any possible goals that spring to mind during this rough draft phase.

  • Take another look at your list later. Revisit the list regularly over the next day or so to see if you can think of anything else you want to add to it.

  • Re-assess your list. Look at the rough draft list you have made and consider each goal. Trim down the list if it seems too large, leaving just the most important goals and the ones that you think will be reasonable to achieve in conjunction with one another.

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  • "The Magic Lamp: Goal Setting for People Who Hate Setting Goals"; Keith Ellis; 1998
  • Photo Credit writing image by Alison Bowden from
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