What is a short-term goal – detailed guide with examples

We will learn about short-term goals and how with little constant effort they drive to great results in a blink of an eye. You will see a lot of every day short-term goals examples as well as ambitious goals.

We will understand why they`re of utter importance and how they can change your life through increasing productivity and perseverance.  

Short-term goals definition, structure and examples from most common aspects of life will be covered, as well as those with higher difficulty that correspond to a higher reward.

What is a short-term goal?

Short-term goal is a desired outcome for the foreseeable future that requires you to give something in return for achieving it. “Short” is connected to the time-frame that ranges between hours, days and months. A very powerful short-term goal example is writing down, at night, your desired goals for tomorrow. Furthermore contemplating on them for a while is crucial, so that you can wire your brain to them for the next day that is the short-term goal meaning.

If you`re wondering what is a long-term goal chech it out here, where I go over a unique technique. There is a detailed post for goal-setting as well which I recommend.

“Don`t start the day until you have it finished (on paper).”

At first I didn`t understand this quote by Jim Rohn. He suggests one of the crucial factors of everyday life, that is very much connected to short-term goals. Consequently I listened to his speech where he talks about it and opened my eyes to the greatness of the meaning behind the words. The speech: 

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Start with a daily plan

He is actually talking about making a plan for the new day. In other words he is saying make short-term goals on a daily basis, write them down and have them finished by end of day. ABOVE ALL set goals that are within your capacity, so that you can finish them and feel rewarded for completion.

This is immensely important because you feel gratified and rewarded when you accomplish a goal. This infuses you with courage; desire to set more goals and increases your will power. As a result you create a powerful productive cycle that builds up.


Do you know those cycles that can spiral you down to the very bottom that happen so fast and seem effortless? Similar to that but reverted, you build a cycle of achieving that makes long-term goals look simple.  Ultimately if you want a thrilling life of success you must never start a day before you have it finished.

Jim Rohn in his speech goes on to say “Don`t start the month until you have it finished” then adds years instead of months. Well this is some high level of organization and planning to have the whole year on paper, but you can do it once you have the foundations- small steps. When you manage to make detailed plans on an yearly basis it is game-changing

Examples of short-term goals for students

I will start off with some examples of students as I had my graduation recently that is perfect for the question what is a short-term goal. Arnold Schwarzenegger says in a popular motivation speech: “Imagine you read one hour a day about history, how much would you learn in 365 hours?”

I think college is the perfect time for building and developing habits that you will use frequently in life. Some short-term goals examples for students include:

  • Achieve a grade level that will allow you to go on a study abroad program
  • Go to a university club three times a week
  • Read one book from the library every two weeks
  • Visit the library for 1 hour every day
  • Get a spot in one of the university`s sports teams
  • Practice a sport for 2 hours every day
  • Practice speaking in public every time you get a chance, there is no safer spot to do it than university
  • Achieve an overall grade level until the end of the semester
  • Visit every class from a subject
  • Become a member of the students council in the next 3 months
  • Become a member of a fraternity in the next 3 months
  • Make friends with one teacher this semester (this one can help you in extraordinary ways)

The list goes on and on. Try and write down some goals for yourself, universities and cultures differ so you should tailor it to your particular conditions. When you set a goal make a clear plan for achieving it. Many times you won`t know what to do, but start with one thing, it`ll get you moving and ideas will start to shape soon enough. 

Why is it important to make exact and measurable short term goals?

Most of us have a time when we set a short-term goal but didn`t really put a deadline to it or another measure. We made an abstract decision and we didn`t visualize when it will be finished. So when we felt it was time to go and do it, we decided that it can be postponed a bit because there was no exact time-frame.

This is not a firm decision, it`s indecisive, with no planned finish date. And most of these can and will be left in time until we forget about them! The brain is good at working for its own pleasure. Meaning it will deprioritize a task you have time and time again and it will give reasons that will sound continuously better in your mind.

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You intended to make your girlfriend a present because you felt good one day. But you snoozed it for a while because it is not bind to a deadline and it feels like you`ll be together forever. Guess what you won`t. So you put it off until her birthday comes and you have to do it either way. How do you know it`s her birthday? Because you wrote it down. That day comes and you just have to do it, because it is an unwritten law and you`re liable to make it. That birthday has a deadline and you can`t put it off for next year!


What is a short-term goal? Short-term goals examples on daily basis

There are thousands of examples depending on your area of education and profession. Goals must be measurable so we need to be precise!

Life goals examples

  • Read one book every month
  • Study for one hour every day a subject that interests you
  • Meet one new girl/boy every month
  • Develop one positive trait every 3 months
  • Do some activity 4 times a week


Art, creative and music industry

  • learning the musical notes of 1 work of art a day
  • performing one song on the guitar for an hour a day until you master it
  • 30 minutes of technical exercises on the piano a day
  • Learning the text of one new song every day
  • XXXX amount of words written every day (for example the event “The National Novel Writing Month” a common practice in November when people from beginners to professionals world-wide write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. The key to accomplishment is achieving the daily word count DEAD OR ALIVE, approximately 1,666 words per day)

Economics and financial

  • Reading 6 new articles that concern global economics daily
  • Learning one new economic measure instrument daily
  • Playing with practice trade account for an hour a day or up to an amount a day
  • Reading one yearly economic report of one country every day

Family (can be used for cooking as well)

  • Practice putting a diaper on a doll once a day
  • Practice dressing up a doll once a day
  • Practice playing with dolls for 30 minutes a day
  • Memorize one recipe to your liking a day
  • Practice cooking one meal a day

As I said you need to be precise when writing down your goals and understanding What is a short-term goal. The best solution is to incorporate exact numbers in your writings and live up to them! Numbers are a major moving force for humanity, most of the technology we use is based in part on equations and numbers. The coffee machine, the car, cosmetics you use, smartphones, computers, everything works for you because of numbers and equations.

So use them especially for adding time to your activities, have your day planned hourly. One hour for this, two hours for that, make realistic calculations and don`t stop until you have them finished. One song today, four workouts this week, 8 pounds this month- write down exactly how much.

Short-term goals and grit

Grit is one of those qualities that can open the doors to success pretty much solo. For example I have never been particularly talented at something; I lack dozens of qualities that are more or less required in order to achieve goals in life. It looked like a life destined to be unsatisfying according to my expectations.

What are my short term goals

However one thing that stands out from all personality traits that I possess is grit.  It`s sort of slowly carrying me and all my lagging character traits out of the mundane life that I dislike. Like that over-powered hero in a game that carries the whole bad team on its shoulders on the way to winning the game.


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Not all of us are gifted with great memory or some strong cognitive possibilities. We will often have to put in more work than others to accomplish the same outcome. In contrast some people are very well disciplined, focus well, learn fast and memorize easily they`re big ballers and they have always amazed me.

Nevertheless you can silently keep pushing from the back positions. Imagine you`re sitting at the back of a bus, the good spots are at the front and you need to go through the others before you get there. So you start making moves, you take the seat of the person infront of you. But that must not satisfy you, because you can easily drop back and it`s quicker than moving forward.

You need grit to stick to your doings and not run when you face challenges. You need to keep pushing forward even when the odds are not in your favor. Don’t be dismayed by those with higher IQ or that seems to get everything with ease, that is not a secure ticket to success.


The following video is about perseverance, grit and how they give you a great competitive edge starting from children.

BUT GRIT IS. The one attribute that can push your academic achievements, professional endeavors and anything else. Pursue your goals with grit every day and you will surpass others around you, undoubtedly.

Intelligence alone won`t contribute to your success, some personality traits can however. Hard-work will bring about your development like nothing else. When you`re determined to your life`s undertakings the whole picture changes. Step by step you create the building blocks of a success life story; all you need is determination and grit. When you develop such a mindset nothing is impossible and that`s the reason you will become everything you want to.

A social study was made by Angela Duckworth and her team about qualities of people that are the highest predictors of success. “One characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success and it wasn`t social intelligence, good looks, physical health or IQ. It was grit! 

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking to your future, day in, day out not just for the week, not for the month- but for years and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it`s a marathon not a sprint!” 

says Angela in her incredible Ted talk.

In conclusion about short-term goals

Short-term goals are an incredible weapon that will rocket your academic, family and professional life without a doubt. They look like small bites and they`re because they`re the “easy” path to a better quality of life. The best part is they don`t take a lot of time and you won`t even notice when you have done more than you anticipated. In relation to long-term goals they don`t make you scared because they don`t look so far-fetched and they`re the building blocks of your future.

Finally please comment below to tell me how do you feel about this matter? What stage of life are you in? What are your concerns and dreams?

Connect with me on any of the social channels and GO WRITE DOWN A PLAN AND START ACHIEVING MORE.

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