Difference Between Short Term and Long Term Goals (With Table)

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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 the goals that have a timeline of 5 to 10 years.

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

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.

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 then you will get demotivated to complete your other goals also.


Comparison Table Between Short Term and Long Term Goals (in Tabular Form)

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 a limited number of 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 usually categorized under long term goals.
PatienceLesser patience levels are required in case of short-term goals because of the satisfaction you get on completing a goal.There is no immediate satisfaction from long term goals and that is why a lot of patience is required.
FailureThere are fewer chances of failure with short term goals because they require fewer efforts.There are more chances of failure in 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 usually health-related relationships related.

The financial, savings, loans, and investment-related goals are usually 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 you are creating goals for yourself, you should pay special attention to short term goals because when you complete short term goals, they finally help you to complete your long-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 also can be long term goals as you may want to maintain a healthy lifestyle in your life.

Since long term goals require patience and efforts to complete them, 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 for 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.

Main Differences Between Short Term and Long Term Goals

  1. Short term goals usually 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 usually short term goes whereas luxury and finance-related goals and long term goals
  4. Short term goals required less patience than long term goals
  5. Short term goals give the confidence of completion 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.



Every individual should have a mix of short term as well as long term goals. Long term goals required patience and regular efforts for completion from the individual.

Even big companies and businesses also have short-term and long-term goes which they have to complete to stay in the market.

For a person living in the street, the short term goal would be to complete his requirement for food every day. His long-term goal would be to own a home where he can stay comfortably.

To organize your goals, you can maintain a separate diary for short term as well as long term goals. That way you can quickly take a glance at your goals separately.

That is all we have to cover in this article. Now go ahead and create short term and long term goals for yourself and keep them organized. The more effort you put into completing the short-term goals, the less effort will be required to complete your long term goals.



  1. https://careerwise.minnstate.edu/mymncareers/english-learner/long-term-goal.html
  2. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2000-07799-008
  3. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11269-012-0051-z