Short Term Goals: The "Secret Sauce" To Accomplishing Any Goal [FAST]

Short Term Goals

By Brandon Fong | Self-Improvement


Setting long term goals gets a lot of hype.

But believe it or not, short term goals are where the magic actually happens.

In this article, you will:

  • Learn how successful people use a combination of short term AND long term goals to succeed
  • Discover why most advice about short term goals might be hurting you (and what to do instead)
  • Receive 11 suggestions for short term goals that will have a massive impact on your life AND a roadmap on how to actually implement them

If you’re ready to make your biggest goals a reality, read on.


Setting long term goals (12+ months out) is easy.

Anyone can sit down and dream about some incredible things they’d like to accomplish in just a few hours.

Yes, this is incredibly important.

But what most people miss is the fact that to achieve any long term goal, it needs to be broken down into short term goals that are actually manageable.

Consistently completing the short term goals is where the magic happens.

So before you take up any of the 11 suggestions for short term goals that I’ll provide you, you’ll first want to establish some of your long term goals.

I personally recommend the book Vivid Vision by Cameron Herold to help you do this.

You can either read the book, or just get started with this 10 minute talk.

Once you have a long term goal in place, you can begin to reverse engineer your long term goals into short term goals.

But you’ll want to make sure the short term goals you create fulfill certain criteria...


If you’ve ever failed at accomplishing a goal in the past, there can only be two reasons why:

  1. You didn’t have the right plan
  2. You did have the right plan, but you didn’t execute it properly

That’s it.

So if that’s all there is to it, how can you make sure that you:

  • Have the right plan
  • Are set up to execute on it

Well first things first:

For the most part, there’s no way of actually knowing whether or not you have the right plan.

So what can you do?

You execute on your plan consistently over a short time period. If it’s not working, then adjust the plan.

The key words here are short time period.

Since there’s no way of telling whether or not your plan will work, your best strategy will be to make your best guess and then regularly tweak along the way.

So here’s the summary so far:

  1. Take the time to forecast a long term goal for yourself
  2. Reverse engineer those long term goals. What will need to be possible to accomplish the long term goal?
  3. Take the smallest identifiable components, and create short term goals around them
  4. Reverse engineer the short term goals. What will need to be possible to accomplish the short term goal?
  5. Take the items determined from step #4, and map out a plan to execute the key activities over the span of 3 months
  6. Execute on the plan every day
  7. Record your progress
  8. Adjust where necessary

If you follow this process,one of two things will happen:

  1. You’ll accomplish your goals! Hurray!
  2. You don’t accomplish your goal. 🙁

If you don’t accomplish your goal, guess what?

I promise that you either...

  • Had the wrong plan
  • Didn’t actually follow the plan that you set out for yourself

If you didn’t actually execute, then it’s not the plan’s fault. Reflect and ask yourself how you could better improve and make sure that you’re actually executing.

If you did execute on your action items, then you’ll have to turn back and adjust your plan.

It’s as simple as that.

Additional Tips and Resources

I’ve formulated many of the ideas above on my own after listening/reading to HUNDREDS of podcasts and books.

However, the book that contributed the most to the above strategy was the book The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran.

Another good resource on this topic is this YouTube video by Noah Kagan.

Personally, I’ve found this process to be so powerful that I’ve decided to no longer create 1 year goals. Instead, I focus on my 3 year vision and one BIG goal.

Then I reverse engineer those to the smaller short term goals using the process I outlined above.

The key components of any short term goal:

  1. Can be accomplished within 3 months or less
  2. Have specific action items that can be taken every day or at least once a week that will help you make progress towards the goal
  3. Are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Time Bound)


By now, it should be obvious that the most important short term goals are the ones that you reverse engineered from your big picture goals.


There are some universally important short term goals that, when completed, will have a ripple effect on MANY areas of your life.

This is where I think there is a lot of bad advice out there on short term goals.

Other articles just throw a list of 891279458091723407910253 “short term goal examples” that you can use which don’t actually make a long term impact on your life.

This list is different.

These 9 examples I’ve laid out are all designed to be “keystone” short term goals.

In other words:

Complete these, and they will make an exponential impact on many areas of your life.


Here we go:


Be honest:

How often are your thoughts occupied by money?

If you’re like most people, the answer to that is way too often.

So many people sit around and stress about money instead of actually figuring out a plan.

Now here’s the crazy thing:

Most people think that financial planning is rocket science.

It really isn't. It doesn’t have to be hard.

Personally, I highly recommend the book I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi (1,240+ 5 STAR Amazon reviews between the two versions of the book).

Ignore the tacky name. This shit works. Follow Ramit’s plan, and in six weeks your finances can be fully automated.

As the description says, “You'll never miss another payment, save money while you sleep, and get to spend money on the things you love—guilt-free.”

Another classic book on this topic is Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kyosaki. It’s the #1 bestselling personal finance book of all time.

Get your finances together, and you’ll finally be able to breathe and focus on your other, more important goals.


Okay, finances are an obvious problem to solve.

But chances are, you haven’t been thinking about your “environment” a whole lot.

So why is this such an important short term goal?

How do I say this gently...



  • How can you expect to be productive if your environment is distracting?
  • How can you expect to eat healthy if your house is filled with junk food?
  • How can you expect to think positively if your friends are all negative?

The answer is you can’t expect to do any of those things if your environment isn’t helping you.

What most people don’t realize is that learning how to engineer your environment can immediately solve many problems you’ve been struggling with for years.

My bible on this topic is the book Willpower Doesn’t Work by my friend Dr. Benjamin Hardy.

For a very specific action item, I recommend setting a short term goal to first read Ben’s book, then pick ONE environment to optimize over the course of 1-2 weeks.

Choose one environment that would be particularly impactful for you.

For many people, it might actually be the next short term goal example...


One of the biggest wins you can have in a short period of time is to eliminate distraction from your life.

Yes, there are certain distractions you can’t avoid (aka screaming children if you have them)...

... but many distractions can be eliminated if you simply know how.

After reflecting on my life, I found that there were two areas that I found to be the most distracting:

  1. My phone
  2. My computer

If you want to check out my specific action items on how you can eliminate distraction from both of those sources, check out this article.

Besides that, I highly recommend two other resources on this topic:

  1. An online course called Digital Zen by Jonathan Levi and Maya Yizhaki
  2. The book Indistractable by Nir Eyal

How much more do you think you could get done if you simply eliminated distraction?

The answer?

A lot.


I'm incredibly grateful to say that I’ve established a workout routine of going to the gym at least 4x a week.

I’ve found that since I’ve implemented this, I have...

  1. Improved my sleep quality
  2. Started eating healthier food just because my body craves it
  3. Increased energy levels
  4. Improved my physical physique 

... and much more.

Now I’m not saying that you should go right into it and go to the gym 4x a week. The worst thing you can do is to try to change too much at once, become overwhelmed, and quit altogether.

If you’re just starting out, your short term goal could be to just sign up for a gym membership and go twice a week.

In the beginning, make it easy on yourself. Allow yourself some quick wins.

The most important part about this habit is just getting to the gym.

Even if you’re short on time, still try to get in the gym to do at least 5 minutes of something.

It may seem ridiculous to go to the gym to only do 5 minutes of exercise, but the most important thing is that you begin to change your identity to someone who goes to the gym.

Once your identity begins to shift because you’ve focused on making it to the gym at least 2x a week, you can start increasing your frequency.

Before you know it, you’ll have a healthy gym routine!


I was turned onto journaling also by Dr. Benjamin Hardy after taking his journaling course.

Ben states that there are two kinds of journaling:

  1. Historian journaling
  2. Thinking journaling

For historian journaling, the premise is simple:

Record the events of your day.

The idea is that you can’t expect to track your progress if you haven’t recorded it.

How can you learn from your past if you can’t even remember what was for dinner last Tuesday?

By setting a short term goal to begin recording the major events of your day, you can then go back and reflect.

Historian journaling is critical to helping you accomplish ALL of your goals.

Remember, there are only two reasons why you will fail at achieving a goal:

  1. The wrong plan
  2. Improper execution

By journaling every day, you also set yourself up to more effectively learn from your past. If you didn’t succeed, your journal will tell you why.

Thinking journaling should be designed to get your big picture dreams and goals down on paper and to emotionally envision those dreams.

As Ben says, “Doing this first thing every morning is how you trigger yourself into the state of being you plan to become. This is how you live with purpose and intention. This is how you get out of the trap of the past. This is how you consciously design your subconscious, rather than having your subconscious control you.”


As I’ve outlined in my article about how to focus, you can’t expect to be effective throughout your day if you don’t know what the most effective use of your time is.

Set a goal to get into the habit of planning your day before you go to bed.

This simple habit will increase your productivity dramatically.

And the best part?

If you’ve done the homework of establishing your long term goals and breaking down your short term goals, this should only take ~5 minutes.

Before you go to bed, simply review your goals, and write down the specific things that must be accomplished the following day that will get you closer to your goal.


In 2017, I was a broke college student that didn’t know what I was going to do after I graduated.

A little over a year later, I’m so grateful to say that I was able to use the Slipstream Technique to land a dream position working with a very successful online entrepreneur.

By partnering with that entrepreneur, I’ve been able to design my life so that I get to travel the world with my fiancée...

... work with some of the world’s most successful people...

... and make a healthy 6 figure income through digital marketing and entrepreneurship.

How was all of this possible?

I used the Slipstream Technique.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You identify someone successful that you’d like to work with
  2. You focus on building your brand and skill sets to align with that person
  3. You reach out to them and offer massive value for free and show them you’re an A player
  4. You do everything you can to continue learning from that person once you have your “foot in the door” to 10x your career path

Obviously that’s the SUPER simplified version of how to do this — there is much more to it than what I can fit in this article.

But if you want to receive a FREE training that I’ve put together that will help you do exactly what I’ve outlined above, just click here to get started.


If you know how to...

  1. Set big long term goals
  2. Reverse engineer the long term goals into short term goals
  3. Consistently execute on your short term goals, and adjust your plan when necessary

... there is nothing you can’t accomplish.

The process is simple. But it’s not easy.

If you are excited and want to take action, here’s what I recommend as your action items:

  1. Read the book Vivid Vision by Cameron Harold or watch this video
  2. Create a 3 year vivid vision for yourself. You can see mine right here as an example.
  3. Read the book The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran
  4. Use the 12 Week Year Process to reverse engineer your long term goals into manageable short term goals that can be completed within 12 weeks
  5. Pick a minimum 2 of my short term goal suggestions to complete in your first 12 week year (I recommend the Slipstream Technique and Engineering Your Environment For Success)

Once you’ve done that, repeat the process and take on some new short term goals.

Before you know it, you’ll be unstoppable.

And if you want to add even more fuel to the fire, I’d highly recommend signing up to receive my updates. I’ll be sending you more killer content like this every week:

Stay Awesome,

- Brandon