31 Short-Term Goals Examples for Work in 2023
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We all have dreams. Some people never meet that dream, while others seem to always have their dreams come true. What is the difference between the two people? The answer is goals. Goals are the plans that are necessary to show you the path to your destination.
There are three types of goals. These are long-term, medium-range, and short-term. Think of it as three distances that allow you to measure your progress toward your ultimate destination. The long-term goals are those that can take ten years to complete. These are the roof of the building.
Medium-term goals are the individual staircases that take you from one floor to another. These goals are normally 1-5 years in the making. Ideally, each one you achieve progresses towards the roof. Then, you have short-term goals.
What Are Short-Term Goals?
Short-term goals are those that normally take less than a year to accomplish. They can be in any of life’s main categories. These are health, career, spirituality, finances, and more. These goals are the little ones that help get you one step closer to realizing your bigger goals.
When you look at short-term goals, think of them along the lines of learning a new skill, getting your mental health in a better place, or eating more nutritious meals to lose weight. These are goals that normally only include one or two steps to accomplish, unlike longer-term goals that can take dozens of steps, if not more.
Why Are Short-Term Goals for Work Important?
If you want to rise to a higher position, there are things you need to do. Climbing the corporate ladder is a long-term goal, but you need to achieve several shorter-term goals in order to get there. It is almost impossible to start at the very top unless you start your own business. Even then, there are many steps you need to go through before you get up and running.
By setting short-term goals, you have the chance to make sure you are on the correct path to your desired destination. The short-term goals keep you motivated and give you benchmarks that measure your progress. Without these shorter-term goals, you can easily become both frustrated and lost as to which direction you need to go next.
How to Make Short-Term Goals for Work
There are many goal-setting systems you can use to help you form a good goal. One of the most popular is to set SMART goals. These goals include five components: They are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relatable, and Time-Bound. There are even apps and worksheets to help you through the goal-setting process.
Whichever method you use, you need to look first at your major long-term goal. Write down every step you must take to reach that goal. These will be your mid-term goals. You may end up working toward 2-3 of these at a time. Finally, break down the mid-length goals into steps that can be completed within a few months, or less than a year. These are your short-term goals.
31 Short Term Goals Examples for Work
1. Take All Breaks
It is important to take the breaks you are given at work. This time allows your mind and eyes a chance to rest. You will be more productive when you are rested.
When possible, add some outdoor exercise, such as a brief walk. Self-care is something many people forget about when trying to succeed, yet a mind that is overtaxed is not a fully functioning one.
2. Get Leadership Training
Taking the time to get official leadership training will help you show your higher-ups that you are serious about wanting to advance in your career. The training is something that will serve you whether you stay in your current place of employment or move onward to greater places. Getting this training is also a great way to boost your self-confidence.
3. Start Investing in the Company 401K Plan
While your finances aren’t directly related to a greater achievement at work, it can help your overall mental health. Knowing that you are making plans for your future will help you get through tougher days and also help relieve stress over what will happen when you eventually retire.
This can also be something that is a step to goals you may have for what you want to do when you retire, such as travel.
4. Improve Communication with Coworkers
Communication is much more than simply talking. It involves being a good listener as well as being able to decipher things like body language. Being able to effectively communicate with your coworkers is essential.
Everyone needs to understand what is expected of them and this can’t be done by simply guessing. Learning to communicate effectively will make you someone who is likely to be listened to in the workplace.
5. Create an Updated Portfolio
You may not stay at your present place of employment for the rest of your career. This is especially true if you are still young and just starting out. Taking the time to develop an outstanding portfolio will give you the opportunity to stand out from the crowd when you seek other positions. If you are in an artistic field, an outstanding portfolio is a must.
6. Create a Better Work-Life Balance
You’ve heard the expression about all work and no play, life needs to include more than working and sleeping. By making it a goal to develop a better work-life balance, you help prevent burnout.
You make it less likely that you will start to resent having to go to work. You will also make it more likely that your family and social life, necessary for good mental health, are not neglected.
7. Improve Time-Management Skills
Poor time-management skills are one of the biggest problems when it comes to being productive. Developing a schedule that works with your daily tasks allows you to make sure that everything is given the attention it needs to be completed.
There are scheduling apps that can help with this important task. Keep in mind that you should include all tasks, even ones that occur outside of work. You will need time for sleep and other tasks.
8. Set Better Boundaries
Boundaries are difficult for some people. You want to give as much as you can. You don’t want to tell people no. But, you need to have boundaries in place. These can be as simple as setting aside certain hours for phone calls or making certain hours off-limits for interruptions.
Other boundaries can include being able to say no when you are already over-taxed. Setting and keeping boundaries will earn you respect in the end, and that includes self-respect.
9. Learn a New Skill
Take a look around you and notice the skills that some of your coworkers have that you do not. Maybe they aren’t skills you will necessarily use, but having them makes you a more valued employee because you can step in and help when needed. Think about the skills you would like to know most or the ones you believe will be most useful and make it a goal to learn that skill.
10. Create/Update a LinkedIn Profile
Having an updated LinkedIn profile is important if you want to be noticed for your skills. This is important if you want to enter a new field or get a position that is greater than the one you have.
Keeping the profile updated with any new skills and regular posts that share your knowledge will get you noticed by people quicker than most other methods out there. Today’s employers often search LinkedIn for people they believe may fit their company. Don’t get overlooked.
11. Expand Professional Network
When it comes to advancing in your career, it really does often come down to whom you know. People are much more confident working with someone that is recommended to them by someone they trust.
You can make it your goal to expand your professional network by attending conferences or even inviting influential people in your profession to lunch. Be willing to talk about your achievements without actually bragging and show you are someone who knows what you are doing.
12. Find a Mentor
One of the best ways to learn about what it takes is to work with someone who has already gone through the process and is successful. Look around you and find someone in a higher position who is willing to take you under their wing and show you how to go about advancing in the best way possible. Be willing to ask for their help and advice and be willing to truly listen to what they have to say.
13. Organize Desk or Office
One of the leading principles of Feng Shui is that a cluttered environment equals a cluttered mind. Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling that you are at a standstill, rearranging things seem to open up the flow of ideas?
Take time to organize your workspace. It will not only clear up your mind but will also make it easier to save time when you need something and make you more productive.
14. Ask More Questions
It can be difficult to admit you don’t understand something. Unfortunately, if you are unwilling to ask questions, you end up either never knowing or assuming things that may make a mess of things.
Be willing to ask questions. This allows others to know you are willing to learn and grow in both your work and as a person.
15. Understand Clients’ Wants/Needs Better
Knowing the mindset of the people you are trying to serve makes it much easier to design your efforts in a way that speaks to them. Empathy is one of the greatest traits you can have when working with others.
Make it your goal to get a real feel for who your clients are and what they need from you. Knowing their expectations will keep them happy and returning.
17. Get a Raise or Promotion
Rather than simply wait for someone to notice your efforts, make it a point to reach out to the person in charge and ask what you need to do in order to be considered for a higher position or increased salary. Take their answers and make it a priority to fulfill those requirements, making each one a short-term goal.
18. Volunteer for Work outside My Comfort Zone
The best way to stay exactly where you are is to keep doing only what you already do. Make a goal to step out of your comfort zone. You may want to volunteer to take on a project that requires you to learn a new skill or puts you in a position unfamiliar to you.
That’s okay because it is the way we learn and grow. You will be showing your boss your willingness to expand your horizons.
19. Earn an Advanced Certificate
While you may qualify for your current position, and maybe even the next higher one, when it comes to advancing your career, the more you know, the higher you can climb on the ladder. There are numerous ways you can go about earning a certificate that takes your qualifications to the next level.
This may be taking an online course or even attending a night course at a local college. You know you have what it takes. Now is the time to show those in charge.
20. Learn a New Language
We live in a global economy and most businesses require you to be able to deal with people from all over the world. Knowing a second, or even third, language will give you an advantage over those who only speak one language.
Decide what languages you are most likely to encounter in your field or area and start learning one of them. There are numerous ways to accomplish this and you should be able to find one that fits into your schedule.
21. Improve Performance Metrics
Performance metrics may include the number of projects you deliver, the number of sales you achieve, and even how satisfied customers are with their interaction with you. Find out what the metrics are in your company and make it a goal to better your scores. You may want to try meeting the goal of the highest number of sales or even simply bettering your own scores in various areas.
22. Stop Multi-tasking and Improve Focus
It has been proven that multitasking doesn’t help your productivity the way people think it does. Your brain has to divide itself among a number of tasks. Learning the art of mindfulness will help you feel less stressed and it will help improve your memory and allow you to give everything you have to the task at hand.
Keeping up-to-date on the changes in your industry will allow you to become more competent. It will also enable you to talk with others in the field in a more meaningful way. Make it a goal to read at least one industry-related book or newsletter each month so you are ready to impress at the next networking event. You never know who will be listening.
24. Become Familiar with New Technology
Technology is changing rapidly. Every day there are new ways of doing things that improve the quality of your work. Make it your mission to learn about what technological advances are out there that can make your workplace more productive.
Learn these technologies and bring that knowledge to those in charge. You’ll soon be looked to as a person who is ready and willing to help the company be the best it can be.
25. Foster Greater Teamwork
Studies have proven that an environment that values teamwork over competition is often more productive. It is also an environment that creates better employee satisfaction. This increases personal investment in the company.
Find a way to help your department, and eventually the company as a whole, develop an attitude of teamwork. This might take the form of proposing or setting up regular meetings to discuss everyone’s projects or having a team-building workshop.
26. Learn From Higher Ups
This goal may make you feel like a spy at first, but what you are doing is actually observing those who have made it to where you want to be. Watch how they work, how they interact with coworkers and the kind of skills and attitude they bring to the workplace.
Try to take at least one major quality from each of those you observe and make it your own. At the end of the day, you will be able to understand exactly what it takes to become an effective leader in your company.
27. Learn About Other Departments
Each department in a company may run independently, but they all rely on the quality of the work being put out by other departments. Knowing exactly how your efforts improve other areas of a company will allow you to stay on track with creating the best product or service you can.
Make it a goal to talk with a different department head over time to learn what that department does. Leaders understand their whole organization.
You turn your work in when it is due, but consider how you would impress those who hold your future in their hands if you gave a little extra. Try to turn projects in early or make it a goal to add one extra bit of helpful information to each project you do.
Don’t settle for doing just what is necessary to get by. Make it your goal to give a little bit more than expected and you will become known as someone who cares about quality.
29. Identify Weaknesses and Strengthen Them
We don’t like to admit it, but we all have weaknesses. Take time to sit down and identify the weaknesses you possess in your job. Maybe it is time management, poor communication, or not being very organized. Maybe it is something like playing well with others or speaking up at meetings.
Once you figure out your weak points, make it a goal to improve them one by one. Each goal improves your chances of advancing.
30. Speak Up More
It can be intimidating to speak up and voice your opinion or make a suggestion when you are among people in higher positions. Unfortunately, by staying quiet, you give the impression of being a follower, not someone who is destined to lead at some point.
When you come up with an idea that you believe is a good one, be willing to share it. When your opinion is asked for, be willing to share, even if the opinion may not be popular. Have self-confidence in your abilities.
31. Learn to Give Better Feedback
Is a coworker doing something in a way that is creating more problems than helping? Be willing to approach them and suggest ways they can improve. It is important to learn to give constructive feedback in a way that a person doesn’t feel attacked but instead knows you are willing to help.
Is there a procedure at work that could use improvement? Be willing to approach those in charge with that fact and suggestions for improvement. In the end, you will earn respect.
Final Thoughts on Short-Term Goals for Work
Taking the time to set short-term goals for work allows you to get a much clearer picture of how you are going to gradually work your way toward your ultimate goals. These goals allow you to keep on track. They also give you many opportunities to renew your energy and enthusiasm.
Short-term goals are the stepping stones to those long-term goals. Once you get used to achieving these goals, you will find yourself doing them for all areas of your life.
Who doesn’t like moments to celebrate their achievements? These will transform you from the individual who watches their dreams move further away into the type of person who eventually makes it to the top.
Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.