Short Term vs Long Term Goals: Difference and Comparison

We all have some goals to achieve in life. These goals have to be time-bound.

Based on time, categorize the goals into short-term and long-term goals.

Short-term goals are the goals that we want to achieve shortly. This can be three days, five days, one week, a month, or a year.

On the other hand, long-term goals are goals that have a timeline of 5 to 10 years.


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Even the timeline given above can change from individual to individual. An individual’s age will also be a deciding factor for his short-term and long-term goals.

Key Takeaways

  1. Short-term goals are achievable within a relatively brief period, such as days or months, while long-term goals require a more extended period, such as years or even decades.
  2. Short-term goals often serve as stepping stones toward accomplishing long-term goals, providing motivation and momentum along the way.
  3. Short- and long-term goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) to increase the likelihood of success.

Short Term vs Long Term Goals

The difference between short-term and long-term goals is that short-term goals are for less than 1 year, and long is for 5 years or more.

Short Term vs Long Term Goals

The best part of having goals is that you can start on a goal at any age in your life. While creating a goal for yourself, you must check that the goal is realistic.

If you create a goal that is difficult for you to complete, you will also get demotivated to complete your other goals.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonShort Term GoalsLong Term Goals
TimelineThe timeline for short-term goals is around 6 months to 1 year maximum.The long-term goals start with 3 years timeline and can run up to 20 years.
Number of GoalsA person is bound to have a lot of short-term goals in multiple categories.There would be limited long-term goals in a person’s life.
Types of GoalsThe type of goals that come under this umbrella are health, social care, and relationship related.Financial goals and family-related goals are categorized under long-term goals.
PatienceLesser patience levels are required in the case of short-term goals because of the satisfaction you get on completing a goal.There is no immediate satisfaction from long-term goals, so a lot of patience is required.
FailureThere are fewer chances of failure with short-term goals because they require less effort.There are more chances of failure in the case of long-term goals because of the distractions and unexpected circumstances in life.


What are Short Term Goals?

Short-term goals have a small timeline to finish them. The type of goals that come under short-term goals is health-related relationships related.

The financial, savings, loans, and investment-related goals are long-term and hence do not come under short-term goals. However, some of the financial goals can be short-term, for example, when you are saving money to buy a book.

Some of the short-term goals can be completed within a few days and these are known as Ultra short-term goals.

When creating goals for yourself, you should pay special attention to short-term goals because when you complete short-term goals, they finally help you complete your long-term goals.

short term goals

What are Long Term Goals?

The long-term goals have a timeline of 5 to 10 years. Even the goals that have a timeline of 3 years + also come under long-term goals.

The type of goals that come under long-term goals are related to finance and savings. Some of the health-related goals can also be long-term goals, as you may want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Since long-term goals require patience and effort to complete, they should be split into short-term goals.

For example, if you have a long-term goal of earning 1 million dollars, then first, you should have a short-term goal of earning $100,000 in one month. Similarly, if you have a long-term goal of owning a company of 100 people, then first you should start the work yourself and then gradually increase the number of people in your team.

long term goals

Main Differences Between Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

  1. Short-term goals have a timeline of up to 1 year, and long-term goals have a timeline of 3 years plus.
  2. For any individual, there would be Multiple short-term goals and fewer long-term goals.
  3. The health-related and relationship-related goals are short-term goes, whereas luxury and finance-related goals and long-term goals.
  4. Short-term goals require less patience than long-term goals
  5. Short-term goals give the confidence to complete faster than long-term goals
  6. An individual is bound to fail in the completion of long-term goals as compared to short-term goals.
Difference Between Short Term and Long Term Goals
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