Setting goals helps you define specific objectives you want to achieve and sets a time-scale in which to achieve them. You might have personal goals such as losing weight or trying to learn a new skill. In the workplace, goals might be linked to achieving targets or expanding a business. Setting short-term, medium-term and long-term goals assists in planning your route to accomplishing your aims.
Short-term goals are tasks related to specific time frames. They can be things that can be done in just a few minutes but should generally take no longer than 12 months to achieve. Short-term goals can set you on track and boost confidence towards achieving long-term goals, but do not require a huge amount of time commitment. A benefit of short-term goals is that you can achieve results quickly with them.
Short-term goals should be realistic and based around your strengths. They can be linked into a longer-term goal. For example, you might want to double your income over a two- to three-year period, so a short-term goal might be to complete a short course over three months or find a second job.
Medium-term goals take longer to achieve and help to keep your motivation towards a longer-term goal. They can often be extensions of short-term goals. If you've completed an introductory course towards a new career, a medium-term goal might be to complete a degree or earn a professional qualification. According to SmallBusiness.co.uk, the time-scale for medium-term goals is usually between 18 months and three years.
Long-term goals are achieved over a longer period of time and are generally completed over a period of at least five years. They are often based around an individual's aspirations to make big changes to her life, such as making a complete change of career or building up a new business. Long-term goals require a good deal of planning and real commitment. They should be broken down into manageable chunks, which is where short-term and medium-term goals come into play.
Achieving your goals
Write your goals down so that you have something to refer to. Be as precise as possible. Define exactly what your goal is and set a time-scale for achieving it. Make sure any goals are practical given your other commitments, and that different short- or medium-term goals do not conflict with one another. Try and include a system of rewards in your goal planning. After all, if you achieve your goals, you'll deserve a small celebration.