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Having large, long-term goals is great! Breaking them down into smaller, short-term goals is even better. Set yourself up for success with these 100 short-term goal ideas for all areas of life.
Whether we’re explicit with stating them or not, we all have goals of some sort. All of us have things we’d like to achieve and progress we’d like to make in our lives.
When we think forward to the life we want for ourselves, it’s oftentimes easier to picture the end result. The big, long-term goals.
What seems to be a bit more difficult is breaking those down into smaller, short-term goals. These short-term goals are the actionable steps to carry us to our big dreams.
Having big goals is great! But, as you may know by now, only focusing on large goals can be a bit defeating and, quite honestly, unproductive.
Real change happens when we get specific about the short-term steps to achieve our big life goals.
Smaller, everyday habits and goals get us there.
One day, one step, one goal at a time.
Here we are spelling out some short-term goal examples for all different areas of life. This can help inspire you in your own goal-setting journey.
Let’s dive into it!
What Are Short-Term Goals?
In the most obvious terms, a short-term goal is something you want to achieve soon.
Whether this is within the week, month, or year, a short-term goal is something you can actively work on NOW and see the benefits of rather quickly.
Oftentimes, short-term goals are stepping stones on your way to a long-term goal.
For example, say a long-term goal is to buy your own home. A short-term goal for that may be to get a new job, expand your education, or cut down on your spending habits.
See how they tie together, but the short-term goal is more in your immediate control?
When determining if something is a long or short-term goal, check the time frame of it. If it is set to be accomplished or completed within the next year, it’s most likely an example of a short-term goal.
100 Realistic Short-Term Goals to Improve Your Life
Short-term goals are valuable in nearly every area of your life. Whether you’re looking to level up in your career, relationships, health, etc., setting some really solid short-term goals will help guide you on that path to self-improvement.
To make these short-term goal ideas easier to navigate, I’ve divided them up into the 7 different areas of life: career, finance, relationship, lifestyle, mental health, physical health, and personal growth.
No matter what area of life you’re looking to improve, here are 100 short-term goal examples to inspire you.
Short-Term Career Goals
Want to improve your job performance? Find a new job? Get a raise or promotion? Short-term career goals can help you take steps towards all of these!
- Improve one soft skill. Soft skills are incredibly important to employers and can make you a better employee and coworker. Some of the most important soft skills include communication, time management, leadership, teamwork, and a positive attitude.
- Improve one hard skill. Needless to say, hard skills are also important in your career. Hard skills are the actual technical skills that make you qualified and effective at your job. These are more job-specific. Choose one hard skill for your specific career and work to improve it.
- Get a raise. This is a goal that can easily be accomplished within the next year. Work hard to earn that extra money!
- Connect with others in your field. Networking is a HUGE part of career success. Putting yourself out there to form connections can be an actionable, short-term goal that really helps propel you forward in your career.
- Apply for a job. Maybe you don’t have a career at the moment (or you’re working a job you don’t enjoy!). A great short-term goal is to simply start applying for new jobs. It’s simple, actionable, quick, and can be life-changing for your career!
- Arrive early to work every day. Arriving even just 5-10 minutes early can prove to your boss that you are responsible, reliable, and care about your work. (This may even help lead to a promotion or raise!)
- Get a promotion. Want to get promoted to a supervisor? Looking for new duties, more responsibilities, and better pay? Making getting a promotion a short-term goal is a major step in advancing your career.
- Get a new certification. Can your work performance be improved by more training or a certification course? Go do it!
- Be more efficient. Being more efficient with your time at work makes you more productive AND allows you more free time. Getting more done in less time is always a perk.
- Organize your workspace. An organized space is a productive space. Organize your desk or workspace area for optimal productivity.
Short-Term Finance Goals
Financial goals… we all have them! Here are some short-term goals for your finances that will help keep you on track.
- Put ‘X’ amount of each paycheck in savings. This is going to be dependent on your own individual financial situation. No matter what the amount is, consistently adding to your savings is a great short-term finance goal.
- Cut one monthly expense. Paying for a subscription service you don’t use? Cancel it! A quick way to save some extra cash every month.
- Limit dining out. Going out to eat or picking up takeout is fun… but adds up quickly! Make the short-term goal to limit the amount you eat out and save that money instead.
- Have ‘X’ amount in savings. Again, the exact number will be individual to you, but having a short-term savings goal is always a good move!
- Make a budget plan. Keeping track of your expenses and income can help you better manage your money. Keeping a budget tracker/planner is a great short-term goal for becoming more financially responsible.
- Pay down debt. Paying down student loans, credit card debt, etc. always feels good. Find an amount that is doable for a short-term goal and work to accomplish it!
- Start a side-hustle. Whether it be learning how to start a money-making blog, selling old clothes on Poshmark, or trying out another side-hustle idea that appeals to you, making some extra cash is an amazing short-term finance goal.
- Invest. Whatever this may look like for you, investing in financial assets is a great short-term goal to improve your financial status.
- Shop discount stores and/or coupons. You can save a substantial amount of money by shopping at discount stores and coupons. Shopping stores like TJMaxx and paying attention to Target Circle deals and coupons can pay off big time!
- Do more free activities. Is your go-to activity of choice costing you money? There are so many fun FREE things to do when you are bored that you can swap in place of these.
Short-Term Relationship Goals
Whether it be with family, friends, a significant other, or yourself, these short-term goals are all about the relationships in your life!
- Go on a date. If you are single and looking to put yourself out there, setting the short-term goal of going on one or two dates is a great start!
- Make a new friend. Making friends as an adult can be hard, but putting yourself out there to meet new people is a great way to improve your social life.
- Call/visit a grandparent once a week. So many of us are guilty of getting busy and forgetting to check in on those we love. Setting a simple short-term goal of calling a grandparent weekly is a great reminder.
- Reconnect with an old friend. Something about an old, long-time friend that is so fulfilling. Reach out to someone you love and haven’t seen in a while. Set up a time to reconnect.
- Make one person smile every day. We could all use more positivity. This short-term goal is a great way to spread happiness and improve both your life and the lives of others.
- Develop better communication skills. Communication skills will serve you in nearly every area of life. Becoming a good communicator takes work and practice. Try reading a book on communication to better your skills.
- Say ‘yes’ to more social outings. If you tend to be an introvert like me, it can be easy to fall into the habit of making excuses to get out of plans. This is okay if that’s what you really want, but if you’re looking to improve relationships, setting the short-term goal of saying “yes” is going to help!
- Set necessary boundaries with loved ones. If you have people-pleasing tendencies, setting boundaries may be the perfect short-term goal for your relationships. It seems hard at first, I know. But your relationships will benefit from some respectful boundaries.
- Plan a weekly date night with your partner. Weekly date nights are a great way to keep the excitement and love alive!
- Learn your love language. I believe that everyone should know their love language. It helps you know yourself better and improves all your relationships – including the one with yourself. Take the love language test here.
- Learn your partner’s love language. Learning your partner’s love language can help you understand how they best receive love. This is a relationship game-changer.
- Pick up a new hobby with your partner/friend. Sharing something you love with the people you love… doesn’t get much better than that.
- Save up for/take a vacation with a loved one. A vacation with a loved one (friend, family member, spouse, partner, etc.) is a great way to grow your relationship, make memories, and enjoy time together.
- Spend less time on social media and more time in person. I believe that too much social media can actually HINDER your social life… Setting some short-term goals for more in-person connections can help.
- Join a class, group, or community event to meet people. Meeting new people in adulthood is hard… try to push yourself to join social events if you’re on the hunt for some new pals!
Short-Term Lifestyle Goals
Your lifestyle/environment goals are all related to your surroundings and the day-to-day life you live.
- Start a savings fund for a house. Have a big goal of buying your own home? Start a savings fund today as a short-term goal on the way to your dream!
- Begin apartment/house-hunting. A new living situation can be just around the corner. Set a goal to get serious about searching for the perfect place.
- Go back to school. It’s never too late to expand your education! If you have career or lifestyle goals that require more schooling, go for it!
- Travel to a new place. Traveling is such an eye-opening experience. Setting some short-term travel goals can help you expand your horizons, explore new places, and meet new people.
- Take a road trip. Roadtrips are a great short-term goal because they can be achieved in just a weekend! Start saving and planning if you have the goal to hit the road!
- Tackle a household project. One step at a time, start tackling the long to-do list of household projects. It’ll feel good to cross things off!
- Save up for a new car. Want some new wheels? Start saving! Make it happen.
- Get a pet. Pets are a great way to add happiness to your life. If you’re ready for the responsibility, setting a short-term goal of getting a pet can really add joy to your life.
- Set a cleaning schedule for household chores. If you struggle to stay up on cleaning and house chores (me too!), start with the smaller goal of making a schedule for yourself. Take it from there.
- Clean out your car monthly. Your car is a part of your daily environment. No one wants a messy space. Clean it out (at least) monthly!
- Do a closet clean-out. Get rid of all clothes that don’t make you feel fabulous! You deserve better than that!
- Decorate your house for the holiday/season. This is a simple and fun way to add some new joy into your home environment!
- Do a kitchen refresh. Check dates, organize, clean, etc. If you really want to beautify your kitchen, get some kitchen storage containers and have a blast!
- Start a garden. If you have a yard or outdoor space, adding some flowers and plants is a great way to make it even more enjoyable!
- Create a relaxation station in your house. Self-care is a must. Create a self-care kit and a special place in your home for cozy relaxation.
Short-Term Mental Health Goals
Caring for your mental health is one of (if not the #1) the most important things you can do. Here are some short-term goals that can help!
- Learn your self-love language. Much like in relationships, in order to feel loved, we must understand how we receive love.
- Get familiar with the types of self-care. Knowing the 6 major types of self-care can help you pinpoint exactly what you need at a given moment.
- Try meditation. Meditation has so many benefits – largely related to physical and mental health. Try a meditation app, YouTube video, or subscription to get started.
- Get outside for at least 15 minutes/day. Fresh air does wonders for the mind. This goal is simple and totally doable – and can make a huge difference.
- Detox your social media feed. Check-in on the media you are consuming. How does it make you feel? Unfollow anyone that doesn’t make you feel good.
- Surround yourself with uplifting people. Like on social media, the people you see in real life also impact your mental health. Surround yourself with those that make you feel better, not worse.
- Check your screen time. Too much screen time has been linked to declining mental health. Set limits and boundaries. Protect your peace.
- Go to therapy. I swear by therapy. It’s changed my life. TalkSpace is the therapy I use. It’s affordable and practical, with 24/7 text, audio, or video message communication with your therapist! Use my link with the code APPLY65 for $65 off your first month!
- Journal more. Journaling is a great mental health tool to calm your mind and get introspective. Check out my many posts of journaling prompts to get started.
- Allow yourself more time to rest. Rest is essential. Allow yourself downtime. No one is meant to be productive 24/7.
- Practice daily self-care. Check out this list of 5-minute self-care activities that you can incorporate into your life every single day.
- Have a weekly self-care day/night. Whatever it may be, set aside time every week, especially for self-care. I personally love a good self-care Sunday.
- Build a self-care kit. Having a self-care kit handy is perfect for those times when you feel rushed or uninspired for self-care. A self-care kit has everything you need right in one convenient place.
- Read more books. Reading is a great form of self-care. Personal development, educational, or just-for-fun, it doesn’t matter!
- Learn grounding techniques. Grounding techniques are proven ways to calm your mind and help overcome distressing emotions.
- Take yourself on dates. Self-love and self-discovery, baby!
- Allow yourself to feel and express emotions. You have to feel the feelings in order to let them pass. Give yourself permission to feel (and yes, that means you can cry!).
- Start a new comfort TV show. Nothing like a cozy night binge-watching your favorite series! Self-care.
- Build a list of self-care activities for stressful moments. Having a list of self-care activities you enjoy is helpful when you are struggling with mental health and need a quick pick-me-up.
- Learn to identify your emotions. Get familiar with the feelings wheel. It’s a really helpful tool in identifying and exploring emotions.
Short-Term Physical Health Goals
These short-term goals are behaviors and habits you can adopt right now to help improve your physical health and well-being.
- Drink more water. Drinking enough water is so important for your health, energy, and overall wellness!
- Move daily. Whether it’s simple stretches or a high-intensity workout, try to move your body daily in a way that feels good!
- Make peace with food. This means ditching dieting and labeling foods as “good” or “bad”. The act of dieting and the stress it causes is SO harmful to your health.
- Learn to intuitively eat. Going on with the goal above, try learning the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating. It will change your relationship with food and exercise (for the better!).
- Eat fresh seasonal produce. Eating in-season produce is nutritious, delicious, and flavorful! Yum!
- Eat enough food. We live in a society that promotes harmful restrictive diets. As an anti-diet ED recovery coach, I am a HUGE advocate for making sure you’re eating ENOUGH. It’s so important.
- Get enough rest. This is both physical and mental rest. Get enough sleep and get enough relaxation/downtime. Both are important for your health.
- Stay up-to-date on health-related appointments. Dentist, doctor, etc… Don’t push off those check-ups!
- Reduce stress. High cortisol (stress) levels take a major toll on your health. Try to limit stress in your life and cope with any stress in healthy ways.
- Limit alcohol. Too much alcohol isn’t good for your physical health… we know this!
- Limit caffeine. Same with caffeine! Moderation is key!
- Take daily vitamins. I make it part of my Sunday reset routine to fill up my vitamin container for the week. This makes it super easy to stay on top of m supplements.
- Eat more vegetables. Veggies are good for you – there’s no explanation needed! Incorporate delicious veggies into your daily diet!
- Ditch the diets. Dieting is actually incredibly harmful for your health. Yo-yoing and weight cycling can be really hard on your body. Learn to fuel yourself and accept your body’s natural set point instead.
- Try new forms of movement. New forms of movement can be really fun and exciting! Try out a new sport, a new workout class, a new hike, or a new active activity with a friend. There are so many fun ways to MOVE!
Short-Term Personal Growth Goals
These short-term goals are all about self-improvement, personal growth, and becoming your best self!
- Wake up earlier. If you’re someone that often sleeps well into the morning, push yourself to start your day a bit earlier and jumpstart productivity!
- Build a morning routine. A good morning routine is a MUST for starting your day on the right foot.
- Build a nighttime routine. A routine to wind down from the day and get ready for bed is super beneficial for your mindset and your sleep health.
- Read a personal development book. There are tons of amazing personal growth books to choose from! Select one and start reading!
- Develop more good daily habits. Our habits are what determine our life. Check out this huge list of good daily habits for good habit inspiration.
- Start a planner to stay organized. Planners are an incredible tool to stay on top of your responsibilities, stay organized, and remain productive.
- Use daily positive affirmations. Positive affirmations may feel silly at first, but they literally help retrain your mind and thought patterns. Super powerful.
- Set fresh weekly and monthly goals. New goals are a great way to stay motivated. Setting short-term goals (maybe some from this list!) at the start of a new week/month is a great motivator.
- Make a bucket list. Whether it be a seasonal bucket list or a bucket list for this phase of life, creating a list of things you want to do/see/accomplish is a great way to push yourself to actually do them!
- Push yourself out of your comfort zone at least once/week. You grow when you’re outside of your comfort zone. Push yourself!
- Take time to reflect daily. My favorite way to reflect is through some quick nighttime journal prompts. It’s great to unwind and reflect before bed.
- Ask yourself deep self-discovery questions. Check out this list of 100 self-discovery questions to get started.
- Take up a new hobby. Starting a new hobby is a great way to fill your time! Here are 100 unique hobby ideas to inspire you!
- Increase productivity. Why not be able to do more with our time! Work on optimizing your productivity through things like task-stacking, organizing, and time management.
- Practice self-love. Of course, the most important of all… love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you’d treat someone you love.
There you have 100 short-term goals.
These goals really cover all areas of life. If you’re looking to improve yourself or your lifestyle, start with a few of these short-term goal ideas and you will start to see your life shift.
Remember, one step at a time.
You totally got this! Let me know in the comments what short-term goals you are tackling first!