Setting short-term goals is a great way to accomplish a small objective or work toward your larger business goals. But once you’ve set your goals, how do you keep track of progress? Say hello to short-term goals templates.Create your template
Think about the last time you kicked off a project or set out to achieve a lofty goal. How did you feel? Excited? Nervous?
Sometimes, it’s easier to envision the finish line than it is to see the actual road that leads to it. This is especially true when your objectives are large or long-term. But don’t worry—getting to that finish line isn’t impossible. You just need clear, defined directions to get you there.
That’s where short-term goals templates come in. These templates break down your big objectives into manageable, realistic tasks that keep you on track, so you can get to the end of the race.
Short-term goals are any objectives you want to achieve soon, such as within the next few weeks or months. Typically, these goals serve as milestones or benchmarks you can use to track the progress of your larger objectives. But you can also set standalone short-term goals or use them to map out a smaller project.
Long-term goals are big picture objectives you want to achieve over a longer period, such as over several months or years. Typically, these goals serve as your “north star”—they’re what you’re consistently working toward and they help guide your decision-making process.
Check out the difference between these short-term and long-term goals, and how they map to each other:
Long-term goal: Increase your website’s organic traffic by 30% year-over-year.
Develop a keyword strategy by the end of Q1.
Conduct a website audit for re-optimization between January and March.
Publishing 10 keyword-driven articles per month.
If you’ve set short-term goals before, you may have used a goal-setting worksheet: colorful, printable goal sheets with sections like “action plan” and “steps to reaching your goal.” While these printables might be cute, they’re definitely not functional, especially in the context of achieving business goals. Just think—one changed deadline and you’d have to start all over.
As a project manager with constantly changing deadlines and shifting priorities, you need a dynamic tool that keeps up with your pace of work. Luckily, there’s a template for that.
A short-term goals template is a templatized tool you and your team can use to set—and achieve—short-term goals. Using a project management tool, you can create a reusable template that you can duplicate and reuse for goal-setting. While the template’s content will change depending on your goals and objectives, you can duplicate the template structure as often as needed—reducing your upfront work and giving you more time to focus on achieving the goals you’ve set.
Other benefits of using a digital short-term goals template include:
Easily plan, prioritize, and track your short-term goals.
View how your short-term goals connect to your long-term goals at a glance.
Break big goals down into manageable, actionable tasks that provide your team with achievable benchmarks and positive reinforcement.
Build momentum with smaller tasks and ensure you and your team move toward long-term success.
Communicate your goals to the larger team, as well as company stakeholders.
Align team goals with larger company objectives.
A short-term goals template is the perfect starting point for building out the action steps you and your team need to achieve your goals. These templates provide clarity for your team, visually map what needs to be done to keep the goal on track, and organize everything from deadlines to documents in one place. In short, goal setting templates let you spend less time digging up materials and hashing out details and more time actually meeting your goals.
But how do you set up and use one?
Creating a short-term goals template is easy, especially when using project management software. Simply create a new project and set up your template with custom tags, so you can tag your to-dos with different information, such as task status and priority, to keep your goal on track.
Goals. Goals in Asana directly connect to the work you’re doing to hit them, making it easy for team members to see what they’re working towards. More often than not, our goals live separate from the work that goes into achieving them. By connecting your team and company goals to the work that supports them, team members have real-time insight and clarity into how their work directly contributes to your team—and company—success. As a result, team members can make better decisions. If necessary, they can identify the projects that support the company’s strategy and prioritize work that delivers measurable results.
Milestones. Milestones represent important project checkpoints. By setting milestones throughout your project, you can let your team members and project stakeholders know how you’re pacing towards your goal. Use milestones as a chance to celebrate the little wins on the path towards the big project goal.
Dependencies. Mark a task as waiting on another task with task dependencies. Know when your work is blocking someone else’s work, so you can prioritize accordingly. Teams with collaborative workflows can easily see what tasks they’re waiting on from others, and know when to get started on their portion of work. When the first task is completed, the assignee will be notified that they can get started on their dependent task. Or, if the task your work is dependent on is rescheduled, Asana will notify you—letting you know if you need to adjust your dependent due date as well.
Custom fields. Custom fields are the best way to tag, sort, and filter work. Create unique custom fields for any information you need to track—from priority and status to email or phone number. Use custom fields to sort and schedule your to-dos so you know what to work on first. Plus, share custom fields across tasks and projects to ensure consistency across your organization.
Dropbox. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Dropbox file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane.
Google Workplace. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Google Workplace file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane. Easily attach any My Drive file with just a few clicks.
Slack. Turn ideas, work requests, and action items from Slack into trackable tasks and comments in Asana. Go from quick questions and action items to tasks with assignees and due dates. Easily capture work so requests and to-dos don’t get lost in Slack.
Gmail. With the Asana for Gmail integration, you can create Asana tasks directly from your Gmail inbox. Any tasks you create from Gmail will automatically include the context from your email, so you never miss a beat. Need to refer to an Asana task while composing an email? Instead of opening Asana, use the Asana for Gmail add-on to simply search for that task directly from your Gmail inbox.
Once you have your basic template set up, you can duplicate it for a specific goal and add goal-specific information, such as tasks, task owners, and project dependencies. Here’s a quick rundown of how to set up your project once you have a specific goal in mind:
Define your short-term goal, ensuring it follows the SMART goal framework, is challenging but realistic, and aligns with a long-term goal (if applicable).
Build out your template with the actionable steps you and your team need to complete to meet your goal.
Assign each action item an owner and a deadline to ensure the tasks stay on track.
Add a priority to each task, so you can easily see how urgent it is and how it impacts the progress towards your goal.
Use digital management features, like task dependencies, to manage your workflow and keep track of anything blocking your way.
Set project milestones to celebrate small wins and keep track of your progress.
Let’s say your long-term business goal is to launch your product in a new market by the end of the year. That’s your big, lofty goal—your guiding star. But on its own, it’s too big. To make it more actionable (and achievable), let’s break it down into bite-sized goals that you can complete over a shorter period. For example, steps to expanding into a new market might include:
Review your current market, product offering, and target audience to identify expansion opportunities.
Conduct competitor research to determine potential markets to expand into.
Select your target market for expansion.
Determine key messaging for expansion and launch.
Pick your marketing channels for the launch and develop a promotion strategy.
Create a sales and outreach plan.
Set a concrete timeline and determine goals for the launch.
Launch the product in the new market.
Review launch performance.
Turn these steps into short-term goals by assigning each of them a due date. Using your short-term goals template, you can track your progress and map it back to the overall progression of your long-term launch goal.
Often, the first step in the goal-setting process for short-term goals is to start by defining your long-term goal. Once you’ve identified your long-term goal, you can break it down into actionable tasks. For example, if your large objective is to increase your organic traffic YoY, a manageable short-term goal might be to develop a keyword strategy by the end of Q1.
Setting SMART (“specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound”) goals is a common goal-setting technique, as the structure provides clarity around what needs to get done and when.
Aim to accomplish short-term goals within 12 months or less. Break down goals that take longer than a year into smaller, more digestible objectives.
Objective and key results, also known as OKRs, are a goal-setting methodology you can use to set and measure short-term goals. In OKRs, the “objective” is what you want to achieve, and the “key results” are how you measure if you’ve been successful. Check out our resource on how to set OKRs to learn more.
Your short-term goals template will serve as a blueprint for all the short-term goals you want to achieve, so you should include basic information in the template that’s duplicatable across different objectives—such as tasks, due dates, task priority, and task status. Then, when you’re ready to start a new goal, duplicate the template and fill out the pre-created sections with goal-specific information, including adding task dependencies and milestones to track your progress.
Short-term goals templates are useful for tracking any business objective you want to achieve within a year or less, from strategic goals to company planning objectives. You can also use goal-setting templates to track personal goals, such as your professional development goals, life goals, or smaller, weekly goals.
No matter your best intentions, you need more than motivation to knock out your to-dos. An action item template—where you decide the who, what, and when of every task—can help you organize your workflows and get more done.