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Long-Term and Short-Term Goals

Goals that can happen quickly are called short-term goals. Goals that take a long time to achieve are called long-term goals. Find out more about them.

girl planning her future

A short-term goal is something you want to do in the near future. The near future can mean today, this week, this month, or even this year. A short-term goal is something you want to accomplish soon.

A short term goal is a goal you can achieve in 12 months or less. Examples include:

  • Take a class
  • Buy a new television
  • Write my resume

A long-term goal is something you want to do further in the future. Long-term goals require time and planning. They are not something you can do this week or even this year. Long-term goals usually take 12 months or more to achieve.

Here are examples of goals that can take several years to achieve:

  • Graduate from college
  • Save for retirement
  • Have my own business

Tips for Setting Long-Term Goals

  • Work backwards. Think about what you want to achieve then plan steps going back to what you can do right now.
  • Create a picture of where you want to be in life 10 years from now.
  • Think about what you need to do in five years, in one year, and in six months to get to your long-term goal.
  • Write down what you need to do each month to achieve your goals.
  • After each monthly goal is achieved, look at your goals and adjust them as needed.

Prioritizing Your Goals

How do you decide what to do first? How do you adjust your goals? This is called prioritizing.

Prioritizing means that you decide what is most important to you right now. All of your goals are important, but it's impossible to work on all of them at once.

  1. Choose what is most important right now.
  2. Focus mainly on that goal.
  3. Add additional goals as you become comfortable with your efforts.
  4. Being flexible is important. Change your focus on goals as your life changes.

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