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Short, Medium and Long Term Goals

Author: Pencil Case  Date: 20 May 2022

Long Term Goals = Ultimate Objective

It is easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about our long term goals. The truth is, you can't do anything about long term goals. You can only do something about short term and sometimes medium term goals. If I have a long term goal of $10,000 in the bank, I can't just put $10,000 in the bank. I can however, achieve a short term goal of putting $50 in the bank this week. Many short term goals of $50 in the bank add up to my medium term goal of $1,000 in the bank and many medium term goals of $1,000 will add up to my long term goal of $10,000.

Short Medium Long Term Goals

A collection of short term goals join together to achieve a medium term goal. Many medium term goals combine to achieve your ultimate long term goal.

Define short-term goals:

Short term goals are actionable, I can do them now or soon.

Value of short term goals:

The value of a short term goal is that you don't have to wait. You can do it now and take charge of your situation.

Putting your first dollar away to save for a car is an excellent example of a short term goal. Most people could save $1 for a car right now.

Define medium-term goals:

Medium term goals, are goals that are achieved only after a sequence of short term goals have been achieved and which build together to form a long term goal.

Value of medium term goals:

Short term goals can be achieved now, or soon. Long term goals are what we really want but the value of moderate to mid-term goals is that they let us check our progress and evaluate whether we are still heading towards our long term goal and whether our plan or choices need to change.

Saving money is a clear example of a medium term goal. I want to buy a car for $10,000 (long term goal) and I think this will take me 2 years to achieve. My short term goals have been to get a regular job and put $100 a week aside in the bank. I have set an intermediate target on the way to my long term goal of $10,000 of saving $1,200 by the end of the first 3 months. At the end of the first 3 months I check my account and I only have $800 saved. Am I on target? No, but the fact I have failed to achieve my mid-term goal of $1,200 lets me know that things are not working and I need to change my behaviour if I want that sweet ride in two years.

Define long-term goals:

Long term goals, are the final result of all your hard work. It is buying the car or finally paying off the house.

Value of long term goals:

Long term goals are the things that add true meaning to our lives. Getting a dream job, finishing university, paying off a house are all examples of things that fundamentally improve our lives.

Know your long term goals but focus, and act on your short term goals.

Short term goals - A short term goal is one that can be completed quickly. It could be a goal to be achieved in the next 5 minutes, next day or week. Several short term goals add together to achieve a medium term goal. An example of a short term goal is to go for a run today or to read a page of my biology book.

Medium term goals - A medium term goal is one that takes a bit longer. It could be a goal to be achieved in the next 2 weeks, a month or perhaps 6 months. A medium term goal might be to run 10km. The only way to run 10km is to achieve several short term goals of running a shorter distance. A medium term study goal might be, to be able to explain the steps in mitosis.

Long term goals - A long term goal is one that takes quite a bit longer. It could be a goal to be achieved in the next 6 months, a year or perhaps 5, 10 or 20 years. A long term goal might be to run a marathon. The only way to run a marathon is to achieve several medium term goals such as running 10km, 15km, a half marathon, 30km and finally a full marathon. A long term study goal might be to gain TAFE or university entry or to achieve a degree or diploma.

Examples of S.M.A.R.T. Short, Medium and Long Term Goals


Write down a long term goal e.g. gain university entry.

Write down all the medium term goals you need to achieve before you can achieve that long term goal e.g. get 70% for the semester 1 biology exam, get 70% for the semester 2 biology exam, get 70% for the VCE/ATAR etc. biology exam.

For each medium term goal write down all the short term goals you can think of to achieve that medium term goal e.g. Read chapter 7 of my biology book, understand meiosis etc.

Commit to achieving your short term goals in a long term effort towards your long term goals.

Medium Term Goals Examples

General example of a medium term goal:

I will have played Beethoven's fifth symphony from beginning to end on the violin without error by the 10th of September 2021.

How long are medium term goals?

There is no definitive answer to how long is a medium term goal? This is because it depends on the activity you are setting a mid term goal for. A moderate term goal could be as little as 20 minutes up to many years long. When setting intermediate term goals, plan your timeframe or range according to the long term objective you are working on. If your long term goal will take 3 years, then break it down into 5 lots of 6 month medium term or even 10 lots of 3 month mid-term goals.

For example, if you are going for a 5km jog, then your medium-term goal may well be to run the hill in the middle as hard as you can. This may only be 20 minutes in the future. However, if your long term goal is to retire comfortably then paying off a mortgage will be a medium term goal.

In the section below, I have identified a list of medium term goals so that you can understand how long a medium term goal takes to accomplish.

Below are examples of good mid and medium term goals using the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting theory.

Examples of medium term goals for students (Junior School):

When you are younger and perhaps in primary, elementary or lower secondary school, you tend to live more in the short term and college or university isn't high on your agenda. Medium term goals tend to be less than a school term so 5 to 10 weeks away.

I will get a B in my Chemistry midterm exam in week 5.

I will get into the junior swimming squad for butterfly by the end of term 2.

I will save $100 to buy a new pair of black boots from Bob's Shoes by the 31st of May.

I will build a new hutch for my guinea pig by the 10th of November.

Examples of medium term goals for high school students (Upper High):

At this point in life, most people are starting to think about life after secondary school. The length of mid term goals extends a bit and can be from 1 month to 2 years into the future.

I will get a B in Chemistry for the year's grade when results come out in December.

In the senior swimming squad, I will be in the top 3 fastest swimmers for butterfly at the October trials.

I will save $1,500 for a new flute by the 31st of December.

I will be accepted into science at Murdoch University when I receive the first round of offers in January.

Examples of medium term goals for college/university students:

Goals at college or university tend to be bound by semesters. Whereas 6 months is an eternity when in junior school, in college or university 6 months is a mid term goal or building block towards the long term goal of graduating. The length of academic mid term goals extends again and can be from 1 month to 5 years into the future.

I won't score less than a distinction in any unit for semester 1 this year.

I will be able to bench press 120kg, 8 times by the Halloween.

I will save $5,000 to purchase a second hand car by the 1st of January.

I will score an average of 80% in all my units so that I get accepted into honours in 3 years.

Examples of medium-term or mid term financial goals:

As with all goals, in the medium-term, intermediate financial goals or money goals vary based on the long term objective. Middle term financial goals can range from making a deposit on a purchase to paying off a debt over many years.

I will save $6,000 as a deposit on a car by Christmas 2020.

I will have a medium term investment portfolio in the form of 10 different shares by Christmas next 2022.

I will have a reduced my mortgage to $100,000 by May 1st 2025.

My medium term goals for saving money is to have $1,000 in the bank in 3 months.

In the medium term my investments will have doubled in capital value by 1st October 2029.

Medium-term fitness goals examples:

Medium-term fitness goals, like all intermediate aspirations will vary based on the long term objective and the sport. A few years back, I ran a marathon and it was essential to set short, medium and long term goals. My preparation started about 9 months out from the marathon and I saw the marathon as a long term goal (although a fairly short one).

Below are the medium term goals I set for my marathon.

First it was to run 10km in under 50 minutes within 8 weeks.

Next the mid-term running goals went up in 2km increments.

Run 12km, then 14km and Those increments were a week apart.

Run the 15km section of the Perth Marathon on September 15th 2010.

The next jump was to run just shy of 20km.

The improvements were rapid up to 20km but then a medium term goal became to run 2Okm (2 laps of a river near me) once a week for about 4 weeks.

Increments became bigger after that, 24km, 27km finally 32km was the longest run I did in training before the marathon.

These medium term goals worked and I completed the full 42km marathon, my long term goal.

Medium term health goals and medium term nutrition goals examples:

I will have my cholesterol under 5.0 by December 31st 2022.

I will have my body fat percentage below 20% 7 days before the World Junior Bodybuilding Championships.

Examples of medium-term goals for a business:

In business it is harder to develop your mid term strategy. Your meduim term goals could be based on a particular project, the life of the business or some other long term arrangement. A mid term target example could include:

I will replace our computer hardware every 5 years.

The business will be generating an operating profit in 2 years.

We will have a second office open in Sydney by December 2024.

We will open our third store by March 2023.

My beauty salon will have a turn over of $300,000 in 3 years.

Medium term career goals examples:

Medium term career goals vary again, based on a range of factors to do with your own objectives and targets. Medium term goals examples for work or mid term professional goals and aspirations will vary from person to person.

I will have the role of area manager by my 30th birthday.

I will earn $100,000 per year by my 40th birthday.

I will run my own design team in 5 years.

Want a Kiler Party?

Once you have finished studying, holding a murder mystery party could be a great way to blow off steam.

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