Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Small Business Coach

Skip to content
short term goals examples


Bonus Material: Learn Elon Musk’s Top 4 Short-Term Goals Before He Started Tesla.

Today I’m going to show you 1) why short-term goals are more important than you thought, 2) four tips for setting short-term goals, 3) techniques to achieve your short-term goals, 4) how to prioritize your short-term goals, and 5) thirty seven examples of short-term goals.
(Grab my write-up about how Elon Musk used four clear short-term goals to take Tesla from $0 to $30 Billion in just 7 years below.)

Download Elon Musk’s Top 4 Short-Term Goals Before He Started Tesla

Then read on for help on how to set clear and effective short-term goals for your business.

Short term goals form an integral part of success in whatever you do, be it business, career, education, health, etc. They focus on goals that can be achieved within a short amount of time, usually less than a year. They are often the broken-down steps and shorter actionable tasks drawn from long-term goals.

Last week we wrote an article about long term goals. Once you think about the future and create long term goals, you want to move into the near present and create short term goals.

That said, developing and implementing short term goals effectively will bridge the time void created by long-term goals and make their achievement incredibly feasible. In this article, we will explore short term goals, what they are, why you should have them, some tips for setting and prioritizing your short term goals, as well as some short term goals examples.

What are short term goals?

As the name implies, a short term goal has to do with a short time, sooner than long-term goals. A short term goal is a statement of something you want to achieve soon. The near future can be today, this week, month, or even year. Short term goals are goals that you want to achieve soon, and the small timeline of accomplishment is the fundamental characteristic of short term goals. When the timeline of execution becomes longer, like multiple years, it becomes a long-term goal.

Goals of this nature also tend to keep your focus on the present, what you can do right now to meet your ultimate long-term goals. Short term goals help you manage your time well, and even though they might seem like small and minute steps, they steadily set you on the path of success and accomplishment of your life, career, business, etc., goals.

The distance between where you currently are and where you intend to be is bridged by short term goals. They are primarily small, short tasks, to-do’s that need to be accomplished within a short amount of time, usually not more than a year. They are made to be short intentionally, as walking steps that add up to long-term achievement.

Short term goals help to achieve bigger long-term goals. They help you set your focus and pay attention to where you’re heading, recognizing the next course of action to take and assess your progress if you’re headed in the right direction.

Pro-Tip: Grab 30 minutes on my calendar for help setting effective short-term goals for your business. I’ve started every single one of my 12 businesses with a clear set of short-term goals, and everyday I help other business owners set short-term goals and create a plan of action to achieve them, regardless of what stage of growth they’re in.

~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates

Why are short term goals important?

Short term goals have a unique benefit to an individual and businesses.

  1. They help create effective strategies

For example, suppose you want to increase your company revenue by 30% before the end of the year. With this short term goal, there are several strategies you can implement to achieve this goal, like, invest in marketing, make decrements to price unit costs, implement seasonal promotions and discounts, etc.

Short term goals provide the platform on which to create an effective strategy for its realization. Such broken down steps and strategies are essential if you want to achieve your short term goals as it makes the process of achievement much more effortless.

  1. They help to provide quick feedback

Getting feedback is vital towards achieving your objectives, as they serve as motivation to your set short term goals. Whether positive or negative, feedback is essential, and short term goals provide the chance to get it.

By definition, short term goals require a shorter time of achievement than much broader long-term goals, and that means milestones are much easily assessed and tracked. Short term milestones help you to align your other tasks to the bigger picture. By doing so, you’ll be able to have quicker feedback in a relatively short amount of time, and this positively impacts your progress towards your long-term goals.

For example, suppose you have a short term goal to expand your customer base to 10,000 within four months, you’ll develop a viable road plan showing clear actions you’ll take to achieve your goal. Then after, say, a month, you’ll be able to tell if your plan is working or not and if you need to adopt other strategies to make it work.

Short term goals give you clear feedback within a shorter time to adjust and make improvements where necessary to achieve your set goals.

  1. They help mitigate procrastination

When you’re plagued with the evil that is procrastination, one way to beat it is to use short term goals coupled with some determination. Short term goals are, by definition, executable within a short amount of time, accurate, clear, and specific. These characteristics of short term goals significantly reduce the effort needed to achieve them compared to long-term goals. Reduced effort to achieve them lessens the need to procrastinate constantly.

This goes to increase the chances of you procrastinating. When your goals ate big, they will take up more effort to accomplish them, and that means it’ll take more for you to see their accomplishment and be motivated to accomplish them right away. So, don’t make a goal-achieving path vague; it’ll easily overwhelm you. Instead, break down your goals and reduce the chances of procrastination.

  1. They keep you focused

Achieving a long-term goal can sometimes seem unrealistic or impossible. There is also the risk you can lose focus as you work towards achieving it. You can also easily have many detours, distractions, and you may need to backtrack and refocus on the right path again. However, when you have clearly defined short term goals that are measurable, realistic, and specific, you will automatically be more focused on achieving them.

Those you know today who pull in massive income streams to their businesses didn’t achieve such feats by just focusing on the big picture (long-term goals). They pen down a clear and achievable roadmap for reaching their ultimate long-term goals and keep track of these small achievements. Achieving these short term goals will add up to reach their ultimate goal. No matter how great your long-term goals are, if you don’t know where to start and what baby steps you can set to get you there, you’ll quickly get lost in time.

Having a list of short term goals, complete with the small actions you need to take to reach those goals, helps keep you focused on your effort and attention. You’ll also not be wasting time on activities that do not foster the realization of your goals which will be a waste of time and energy. Without short term goals, it is pretty easy to get distracted and waste months of your life marking time on the same spot with little or no progress. But when you have clear goals, your eyes are kept on the prize, and you’re less likely to lose sight of what matters.

Download Elon Musk’s Top 4 Short-Term Goals Before He Started Tesla

Tips for setting short term goals

When it comes to setting short term goals, there are many strategies you can use. Here are some quick tips you can use to help you set short term goals for personal or professional advancement:

Use visualization techniques

By visualization, we mean creating mental images of what you desire to achieve and be like, say in 6 months from now. With the short term goal fully visualized, you can then work backward to determine what daily steps you should take and the goals you should set to get to where you want to be. Creating these visual images will also help you fully internalize what you want and what your desires specifically are regarding the future.

Make Sure Your Goals are SMART

In writing your goals, similar to long term goals, you should ensure they align to the SMART model for better focused and more attainable short term goals:

S – Specific: be specific as you state your goal and define precisely what you want to achieve — be as specific as you possibly can.

M – Measurable: you should ensure you have a straightforward way to measure and keep track of your progress, and you move towards attaining your action items.

A – Achievable: Your goals should be attainable. What you desire should be realistically achievable, and you should carefully assess whether or not you can achieve every aspect of your short term goal.

R – Relevant: Is what you’re shooting for necessary? Is it worth working towards the goal now? How does it align with other goals you may want to achieve?

T – Time-Sensitive: for every short term goal, there should be a deadline for accomplishment, and the key is being achievable within a short amount of time, say five months. This helps you to hold yourself accountable. Whether it be a few weeks or months, if the plan is realistic, you’d surely achieve it.

Consider writing your SMART goals down to keep track of your progress. With the SMART methodology, you’ll have a clear path to realizing those short term goals in the not-so-distant future.

Pro-Tip: Grab 30 minutes on my calendar for help setting effective short-term goals for your business. I’ve started every single one of my 12 businesses with a clear set of short-term goals, and everyday I help other business owners set short-term goals and create a plan of action to achieve them, regardless of what stage of growth they’re in.

~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates

Be specific

Drawing from the SMART methodology, including specific details, can help you define the results you want to achieve, as well as the necessary steps you need to take. Let’s take an example: suppose your short term goal is to expand your business’s customer base to 2000 in 3 weeks. You can add specific details to your near term goal, such as publishing social media ads about your product twice daily. These small actions serve as blocks that add up to birth success in your short term goals.

Make goals measurable

Let us also highlight one aspect of the SMART methodology – measurability. Measurability is the quality of your short term goals that allow you to measure and keep track of your progress. This will also help you define the results you want to achieve. Let us take the example of expanding the customer base for your business to 2000 in 3 weeks. To make this goal measurable, you can schedule a check-in where you assess the number of online customers of your products every day, as well as the number of in-person purchases made. That way, you can determine whether you’re on track with your goal or you’d need to adjust your deadline. You’ll also assess how effective the strategy you’re implementing is and where you need to focus your energies for maximum results.

Make your goals achievable

If you set unrealistic goals that you cannot attain, your lack of progress will negatively affect your confidence and motivation. Your goals must be achievable and feasibly possible, as they’d keep you motivated to work towards attaining them.

But there’s a catch; just because your goals are attainable doesn’t mean they are straightforward. Your short term goals may be challenging, but once they are possible to attain, even after hard work, then you can encourage yourself to push through the pain to develop that new skill or meet that business expectation, etc., and boost your confidence even further.

Identify challenges

There’s no achievement without challenges that come along. As such, you should carefully identify and factor in any challenges you may encounter as you pursue your goals. As you identify and understand these challenges before time, you can begin to draw up plans and strategies to overcome or avoid them. This will help maintain your progress because if these same challenges arose unexpectedly, they could throw you off track and even set in discouragement.

Download Elon Musk’s Top 4 Short-Term Goals Before He Started Tesla

Technique to Achieve Your Short term Goal

Having developed your goals, there is the matter of actually achieving them. Here are some tips you can apply to ensure your goals don’t end up as written-down facts but are attained.

Write down your goals.

It is important to pen down your. Documenting them will serve as a reminder and allow you to track your progress. Many people make the mistake of keeping their goals in their brains, convincing themselves they won’t forget. The reality is, your goals don’t carry as much weight written down as they do in your mind. So, pen it down and have it as a reference to keep you focused on achieving them.

Focus on one short term goal

While it is ok to have multiple goals, you shouldn’t have many goals you focus on at a particular time. It is essential to focus on one short term goal or a group of similar short term goals at a time. After all, by definition, short term goals require a short amount of time to accomplish, so you can progressively move from one goal to another only upon completion or when they are similar and can be carried on concomitantly. By doing so, you’d achieve faster than toggling multiple short term goals at once, which can become distracting, and the result is your failure to achieve any. The solution may be $2,000 bad credit loans with guaranteed approval decisions that allow you to cover financial short-term goals when you have credit issues.

Develop a List of Milestones

You must identify any important milestones and benchmarks that can serve as indicators when you’re closer to success. Your milestones shouldn’t be so many and should take a relatively short amount of time than the short term goals you’ve set. They should, however, still require some effort to achieve.

Let’s take a short term goal example of incorporating and running social media marketing in 2 months. Here’s a sample list of milestones you can have:

Goal: Incorporating and running social media marketing in 2 months

Milestone #1: Setup suitable social media accounts for the business

Milestone #2: Create two ads daily for the business

Milestone #3: Develop a hashtag for your product

Milestone #4: Create conversation threads about your product on social media, etc.

Create Step-Wise Actions

Once you’ve set your milestones, you then need to break them down again into minimal baby steps you can take towards achieving your short term goals. And the good thing here is, it doesn’t need to be overly complex or a giant leap that’ll last hours daily. Your daily steps are more minor actions. These small steps or tasks can be as small as 10 minutes that sum up your short term goals.

Sticking with the example of incorporating and running social media marketing in 2 months, here are some possible small tasks steps to consider:

Milestone: Setup suitable social media accounts for the business

Daily Step #1: Choose the social media platform(s) to use

Daily Step #2: Research the most suitable type of account(s) to create

Daily Step #3: Create social media account(s)

Daily Step #4: Create a catchy backstory of your business for your social media page, etc.

You can also put the daily tasks into your calendar or to-do list to not miss any tasks.

Share your goals with others

One tip to achieving your short term goals is holding yourself accountable to others. You can share your goals with someone else, like a trusted friend, family member, or colleague. This will promote accountability and push you to be focused on achieving those goals, and you’ll have someone to answer to if you don’t.  Depending on your goals, these individuals may even be able to help you achieve them by providing opportunities, advice, encouragement, or support to keep you moving forward.

Pro-Tip: Grab 30 minutes on my calendar for help setting effective short-term goals for your business. I’ve started every single one of my 12 businesses with a clear set of short-term goals, and everyday I help other business owners set short-term goals and create a plan of action to achieve them, regardless of what stage of growth they’re in.

~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates

short term goals examples

How to prioritize goals

Having multiple short term goals is commonplace, and to avoid unproductive multitasking, it is essential to prioritize your goals, choosing which to do first and which to do next.

Here are a few steps you can apply to prioritize your short term goals.

  1. List your goals

The first step is to list out all your short term goals. This will lay it all out for you to quickly choose which short term goals to start up with and identify any dependencies that may exist amongst goals.

  1. Tick the most important goals

Having listed out all your goals, the next step is to tick the goals you consider the most important to you. While the definition of “important” may vary from person to person, you generally want to select the most beneficial goals to your life at this point.

  1. Assess the timelines

Having selected the most important goals for your life at this time, the next step is to determine when you would like to achieve your goals. You may, for example, have a short term goal of learning about marketing trends in two weeks for your business. Determining the timeline to each goal will help you identify the goals you should start working on right away and the ones you can push forward to some later time. And as a pro tip, be sure to set realistic timelines for each short term goal so that you don’t set yourself on an impossible task.

  1. Choose which short term goals to focus on right away

Having selected the short term goals that are important to you and assigned realistic timelines to each, you can now use this information to prioritize your goals. For example, goals with a high degree of importance and short achievable timelines can have a greater priority.  And as a pro tip, try not to start working toward another goal on your list until you have completed the initial goal with the greater priority, except there is a dependency relationship. The completion of an earlier task requires the commencement or completion of a later task.

  1. Make changes as needed

Having prioritized your goals, it is vital to keep in mind that your priorities can change with time. So, don’t get rigid. Be flexible enough to make any necessary changes to your prioritized goals as needed. For example, you may have had a short term priority goal to improve business productivity within two months. But then, after assessing the reviews from customers and you discovered lapses in your customer service, you may then set a new priority towards improving your customer service within a month or so. Improving your business productivity would now matter less as you’d need to focus on your customer service to ensure you don’t lose your existing customers.

Short term Goals Examples

Business Short term Goals Examples

  •         Begin an “Employee of the Month” award program.
  •         Create a profile on a new social media channel.
  •         Create an employee incentive program
  •         Develop a new product
  •         Gain several new customers
  •         Hire three new marketing employees
  •         Host giveaway programs
  •         Implement monthly giveaways for customers on social media.
  •         Improve business productivity
  •         Improve your customer service
  •         Incorporate SMART goals
  •         Incorporate social media marketing
  •         Increase business revenue
  •         Increase product prices by 3%
  •         Increase social media posting to three times a week.
  •         Increase traffic on your company’s blog.
  •         Learn about market trends
  •         Reduce business overheads
  •         Select a charity to begin sponsoring.
  •         Setup television advertisements

Career Short term Goals Examples

  •         Attend networking events
  •         Develop confidence
  •         Focus on the next step
  •         Get a professional certification
  •         Get Early to Work
  •         Get feedback on your work
  •         Improve your communication skills
  •         Organize your workstation
  •         Remove Procrastination

Financial Short term Goals

  •         Create multiple income streams
  •         Eliminate Your Credit Card Debt
  •         Reduce your monthly expenses
  •         Track your monthly budget

Study Short term Goals

  •         Build your ability to take notes in lectures
  •         Know your professor
  •         Spend less time on TV
  •         Spend your free time in the library
  •         Submit your assignments a week before the deadline


So there you have it. Here’s the article on long-term goals.

Do you have any ideas that we overlooked? If so, comment below

Are You Ready To Set Your Short-Term Goals?

Have you lost site of what to do next in your business? Every business owner goes through it. Sometimes it’s helpful to take cues from the world’s best business builders and see that clear, simplified goals in alignment with your strategy and values can be the best place to start.

If you want to see how one of today’s most famous entrepreneurs used short-term goals to build a $30 billion in just seven years, click the button below:

Download Elon Musk’s Top 4 Short-Term Goals Before He Started Tesla

Want Personal Help Setting Short-Term Goals For Your Business?

Every business owner hits a point of burn out or overwhelm where they lose site of how to get where they want to go.

But buckling down and working harder only gets you so far, because there are only 24 hours in a day.

I remember the moment – 8 years into my first business – when I was at my limit and didn’t know where to go next with my business. Then my partner and I discovered the way out – someone who could help us take a step back, analyze our business, and set and prioritize realistic goals.

Finding someone who could help us with goal-setting, planning, overall strategy and regular accountability allowed us to give ourselves raises in under a year.

The right coach can help you set goals, add more profit to your bottom line, free up time on your calendar, and systematize your business so your team performs the right way every time. 


~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates