How to Make a Timeline for Personal Short & Long-Term Goals

by Dee Striker

Be your own cheerleader! Move closer to your dreams by creating a timeline for your short and long-term goals. A timeline with dated tasks makes goals easier to realize. Whether you want to do something relatively simple like organize your closet or if you want to tackle a more complex long-term goal like buying a home, a timeline helps makes your aspirations less intimidating. Use basic office tools to provide yourself with a blueprint for success.

Write down what you envision for yourself in five years. Write down your goals in list form using complete sentences. Use adjectives and be specific. Instead of writing "homeowner," write "I own a comfortable home in a safe suburban neighborhood."

Create tasks for each goal. Assign each task a due date. Consult a calendar to factor in weekends, holidays and other special events that affect your ability to complete a task. Begin each task with an action verb. Instead of writing "budget classes," write "Enroll in a personal finance education class at the community college."

Write down what you envision for yourself in one year. Use your list of five-year goals as a template.

Create tasks for each one-year goal. Use your list of tasks for your five-year goals as a template. Assign each goal at least one task per month.

Place your lists in a visible location. Put your lists on a memo board or refrigerator or somewhere else that you look at daily.

Write your goals and tasks on a calendar. Put the tasks on their corresponding due dates. Write the goals onto estimated date or dates of completion.

Use the lists and calendar as a template for one-month goals, 10-year goals and other time frames.

Items you will need

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Calendar


  • According to, your plans will work best if you review them regularly.
  • Use a computer to print off the lists to make updating goals easier.
  • Create small rewards for yourself for completing tasks and goals.


About the Author

Dee Striker has been writing professionally since 2007. Her work has appeared in "The New York Amsterdam News" and several online publications such as Clutch and Get 'Em Girls. Her portfolio includes articles on real estate, love/relationships and politics. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Master of Arts degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan.