The Importance of Short-Term Goals

You’ve probably seen them before – 30 days of clean eating, 30 days of journaling, 30 days of crunches or jumping jacks. It may not sound like a lot, but 30 days is actually a great length of time to commit to a new goal or habit. It may not be enough for a habit to be formed completely (scientists are still unsure), but a month is long enough to feel like the goal will change something in your life, while still being short enough to be manageable.

 

After all, setting a goal to do something every single day for a whole year is a lot. That’s why so many people struggle with their New Year’s resolutions. But 30 days? That doesn’t seem nearly as daunting, but it can still lead to long-term change if your goal is successful and you decide to continue.

 

Think of it this way: if you commit to something – say, waking up earlier each morning – for thirty days, you’ve given yourself an end goal. It’ll be hard, of course. Those first few mornings, when you want nothing more than to roll over and go back to sleep, certainly won’t be easy. But by setting a specific number of days, you’re giving yourself an out. You can tell yourself, “If I can just make it through thirty days, I can stop.” And that’s okay! If you try something for thirty days and don’t want to continue, that’s completely fine! But maybe you do want to keep trying. Maybe, as hard as it was, you actually like having those extra minutes in the morning. Now, setting yourself a long-term goal isn’t as scary, because you already know you can do it.

 

You can also use those 30 days to give up something, or to remove a negative habit from your life. Whether it’s giving up coffee or avoiding social media, a month is a great length of time to try this out. Again, you’ve given yourself an end point – on those days when you just don’t know how you’re going to function without your morning coffee, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel!

 

Setting a goal for 30 days (or a similar length of time) is a great way to increase your motivation to complete it. When it gets hard, or on those days when you feel like giving up and not finishing, you can remind yourself that the end is in sight! Unlike setting a goal for a full year, or even for six months, a month-long commitment is both short and long. It’s long enough to get you past the more difficult parts of starting a habit but short enough that it doesn’t seem overwhelming. So, the next time you want to set a goal or start a new habit, consider making it a 30-day challenge for yourself!

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