woman writing in journal

It’s that time of year again: Welcome to the doldrums of goal-setting season.

It’s been a few months since New Year’s resolutions kicked in, and there are a few months left until summer. We may have started the year with a lot of enthusiasm for those big career goals, but it’s hard to keep up that gung-ho attitude.

Setting a big goal can be kind of intimidating sometimes, and hard to stay motivated for. Well here’s a secret: Setting small goals that are easily accomplished in a shorter period of time—some even in just a day—can help you get through those rough patches and stay on track in the long run.

To keep yourself career-focused and goal-oriented right into your summer goal-setting season, here are 15 short-term goals to set for yourself:

1. Communicate Better

We could all use a little boost in the communication department sometimes. Everyone communicates differently, so even if you think you’re being clear, maybe not everyone on your team thinks so. To improve your communication skills at work, try one of these tactics:

  • After a meeting, send an email with action items
  • Talk in person whenever possible
  • Have a plan for conflict resolution

2. Respond in a More Timely Manner

If you’re someone who reads emails as they come in, but then puts them on a to-do list to respond to later, rethink your strategy. Responding to someone as soon as you can shows him or her that he or she is important to you. That’s pretty key for your boss, clients, and team members.

3. Think About Thought Leadership

Kick your career up a notch by making strides to become an expert in your field. Pick your topic and start generating some content. Keep up with industry trends, start a blog, post articles on LinkedIn, attend events and tweet about them. Getting your voice out there will gain you followers and respect in your industry. Before you know it, publications and colleagues will be coming to you for your opinions.

4. Have Lunch With a Colleague You Don’t Know

Branch out from your usual work crew and invite someone to lunch who you don’t know that well. You can pick his brain about his job, the company, or his interests. You could find a new way to work together, or make a new friend.

5. Create a Personal Website

Your resume and cover letter may be up to date, but to show potential employers or industry professionals your full portfolio, consider putting up a personal website. Especially if you’re a media or creative professional, a website can act as more than just a portfolio, giving you a personal brand and an easy draw for recruiters and potential employers.

6. Ask Your Boss for More Responsibility

If you’ve been considering asking for a promotion but aren’t sure how your boss would take it, start small by asking for additional projects. If you find the new responsibilities are an easy incorporation into your day, you know you’ll be able to handle a promotion.

Plus, if your boss sees you handling extra work with ease, he or she will make a point of getting you that promotion.

7. Get More Sleep

To improve your productivity noticeably, not to mention your mood, energy, and memory, just catch a few extra minutes of sleep every night. It’s the simplest way to jumpstart your day.

8. Skip the Cocktails

A glass of wine here and there can be fun, and a way to blow off steam at the end of the day, but remember to take it easy. A drunk driving-related injury occurs every two minutes in the US, so don’t overdo it. Plus, if you have a big meeting the next day, you want to be at your sharpest.

9. Organize Your Desk

Having a cluttered desk and workspace can be deceptively stressful. If you have a few minutes in your day, straighten up some papers, put your files away neatly, and clean up the surface of your desk. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel.

10. Become a Mentor

Mentors are as important in the workplace as they are in education, sports, or art. If there’s a young, entry-level hire on your team or in your department, take him or her under your wing. By showing her the ropes, you’ll give her confidence to take her role to the next level, and it will make you feel pretty good, too.

11. Become a Better Public Speaker

Public speaking is part of most jobs. Even if you’re not up on stage making a presentation or on a panel, chances are you’re making presentations to your team and speaking in meetings. You always want to make a good impression. Check out classes in your area through organizations like Toastmasters, or find other classes in your area through CourseHorse.

12. Reconnect With a Former Colleague

Try meeting up with an old co-worker for lunch or a drink. It’s great to reconnect and reminisce about working together, but it can also be a great opportunity to network. If he or she is still in your industry, you can keep up with what his or her company is doing. If you’re looking for a job, he or she is also a great resource to have.

13. Clean Up Your Files

Your physical desktop may be spotless, but don’t forget about your digital desktop. All those files you download without thinking are probably saved where they’re easily accessible. However, that also means that they’re cluttering up the memory on your computer. Take some time to organize the files you need into folders, and delete the ones you don’t.

14. Learn a New Skill

Add to your resume by learning a new skill you can apply to your position. It’s easy to find online classes for a lot of digital and software skills, and you can always search for in-person classes in your area for things of interest or hobbies.

15. Join a Team

One of the best company bonding experiences can be to join a rec league. Pick a sport like soccer, volleyball, or dodgeball that anyone can participate in and have a good time. You’ll boost team morale, and get to know your colleagues on a whole new level.

If you’re in a slump with your long-term goals, get back in the zone by setting yourself up for some short-term success.

This article was originally published on Career Contessa. It has been republished here with permission.

Updated 6/19/2020