Why you should write down short term goals in order to reach your long term goals


Kevin Mangelschots

A lot of times, people set out to accomplish something only to falter somewhere down the road. Reasons for failure can be plenty, including but not being limited to losing focus and clarity about what they set out to accomplish to feeling unmotivated.

A good short term plan in the shape of formulating goals can help prevent this. That’s why you should write down short term goals in order to reach your long term goals.

Why should you write down short-term goals

Image of someone writing in their notebook on their desk.

Writing down both short term and long term goals are important in order to successfully accomplish both.

  • To achieve long-term goals

    Obviously, the main goal of penning down your short term goals on a piece of paper is to achieve your long term goals.

    Accomplishing multiple smaller goals will over time lead to achieving your larger, longer term goals because your small achievements will start to compound into much larger accomplishments.

  • In order to track your progress

    In order to track our progress, it’s essential to clearly formulate what it is exactly that we want to achieve.

    That’s why writing down our short term goals is critical in order to be capable of reaching our end goal(s). Because it sets a simple, measurable standard for what we want and need to attain.

  • To reward yourself for your short term achievements

    Short term and long term written with a black marker by someone's hand on a board.

    It’s hard to reward and congratulate yourself if you don’t even know what you’re aiming to accomplish.

    Short-term achievements make for objective, concrete accomplishments. Once achieved, people can then reward themselves in order to keep motivated to put in the work. Who doesn’t like to get rewarded from time to time?

  • In order to know what you want to achieve in the short and long term

    Successes are rarely accomplished randomly. Even though, luck can play an important part as well.

    People often start off with good intentions and motivations but over time, lose clarity and focus of what they set out to accomplish in the first place, leading them to run in circles, essentially getting nowhere.

    Having penned down short and long term goals can help to prevent one from losing their vision and will aid to keep a clear focus.

  • Preventing or minimizing procrastination

    A young woman holding her head while thinking too much.

    Procrastination basically means the act of delaying or, potentially, putting off things indefinitely.

    Procrastinating frequently leads to negatively thinking and feeling guilty about the things they’ve been delaying because they know they should take action and finish those tasks.

    Delaying tasks is a lot harder when being constantly reminded what one needs to do in order to reach their goals. That’s why writing down your desires makes you less likely to procrastinate.

  • To serve as motivations when times get tough

    Illustration of 9 ways to stay motivated.

    Motivation is needed in order to get going, but a good, purposeful routine is necessary in order to finish a task. Especially when motivation starts to dwindle.

    That’s why most of us can use that little extra bit of motivation from time to time. Particularly when times get tough.

    Having written down goals can help motivate people to get things done and realize how far they’ve come already. We need to learn to appreciate the journey, not just the destination.

  • To put in extra effort

    Written down goals can create an extra sense of concern and thus, urgency. A sense of concern and urgency is necessary in order for people to undertake action.

    When there is no sense of hurry or worry, people often have no incentive to start working on their goals. Because why would you do something hard when feeling like you got all the time in the world?

    Having a written down list of things to do helps to create a sense of urgency, reminding you what you set out to do in the first place, while keeping you honest if you’ve been putting in the required work or not.

  • In order to get a clear picture of the end goal


    Image of the word “goals” written on a small blackboard with chalk.

    Short term goals provide an answer to the question: “What is it exactly that I’m seeking to accomplish?”

    Reaching your end goal in the future is impossible if you don’t know what you want to accomplish. So before starting out on the journey, it’s important to get a clear picture on what exactly we’re setting out to do.

  • In order to formulate a plan

    Short-term goals are essentially the plan we need to follow and succeed at in order to reach our longer term accomplishments.

    Reaching multiple accomplishments in the short-term sets us up for acquiring the necessary skills we need in order to become successful in our future endeavors.

  • In order to make purposeful, helpful changes to our plan

    Making random changes to a plan is a sure way towards failure.

    In order to make purposeful and helpful changes, one must have carefully formulated short-term and long-term goals. When problems then start to arise, we can methodically analyze and change the suboptimal goals and approach in our plan.

  • Building self-confidence

    Picture of a person cutting the letter T of the sentence “I can't do it” with a pair of scissors.

    Self-confidence is a curious thing.

    Self-confidence is basically derived from how capable and aware we are of our ability to successfully perform tasks.

    Having written down our desired goals and tracking the ones we’ve already accomplished can lead to improving our self-confidence due to an improved visibility and awareness of our own abilities.

  • Can build momentum

    Reaching the short term achievements you’ve set out to do will give a boost of motivation, excitement, and confidence for the things yet to come.

    This means that achievements can propel you to further and even larger successes in the future.

  • People who write down short-term goals are more likely to achieve them


    People who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them than people who don’t.

    I guess the most important reasons for this are because written goals are clearly formulated, tangible and always present.

    When not written down, what we seek to accomplish is less clear, less present and more likely to subside in the background. Especially when living busy and/or stressful lives.

  • Peace of mind

    Not having to worry about forgetting what we set out to do or being afraid of losing focus of the big picture can give people a certain peace of mind.

    Even more, it makes it extraordinarily easy to track progress, which can be used as an objective way to measure progress. “Have I accomplished this short-term goal or not?”

Examples of short term goals

Image of the word “example” being written with a blue marker by someone's hand.

  • Short term career goals examples

    A long term career goal can be becoming the manager.

    But in order to do so, short term career goals might include becoming more competent at your job and following additional training courses in order to prepare one from a managerial role down the road.

  • Short term fitness goals

    A long term fitness goal could potentially be being able to run a marathon.

    Some examples of possible short term goals can include losing weight first, being able to run 2 km, then 4 km, then 6 and so on. Both short term fitness goals are potential requirements in order to be able to finish a marathon.

Final note

Writing down short term and long term goals will help you to accomplish both with success.

While seemingly insignificant on its own, the multiple combined advantages that writing down your goals provides will certainly prove to be a much-needed asset in one’s quest towards achievement and success in the long run.

The single most important overarching advantage it provides is allowing you to reach your so desired and hard-earned dreams.