‘Set daily, monthly, and long term goals and dreams. Don’t ever be afraid to dream too big. Nothing is impossible. If you believe in yourself, you can achieve it.’Nastia Liukin
Do you have any long term goals? Do you have any specific dreams for your professional, financial, or personal life? Do you dream of one day owning a house? Starting a family? Or backpacking around the world? These are examples of long term goals.
Your long term goals say a lot about who you are and what you want to achieve in life. They are a common topic of conversation for a reason. Whether you’re on a date, making new friends, or in a job interview, the topic of life goals is sure to come up.
Long term goals highlight your vision for the future and encourage you to take an honest look at your current lifestyle to see if you’re really working towards getting what you want in life.
Long term goals show you and others what you value most. They reflect your biggest dreams and give you direction and purpose in life.
If you have some personal or professional advancement you’d love to achieve, but you haven’t been working towards them, now is the time to make a change.
What is a Long Term Goal?
A long term goal is something you wish to achieve in the far future.
Unlike short term goals, which may be achieved in a week, month, or even a year, a long term goal is a plan you have for several years ahead for every aspect of life. It can be for your personal life or your professional life.
An example of a short term goal is when you want to take annual family road trips. In that case, you have less than a year to save money, specifically for it, without dipping into other sources such as your emergency fund.
Whereas, if your goal is to buy a house that you can pass on to the coming generations or own land in your dream country, you will need more time, surely more than a year, to achieve these long-term personal goals. Such goals require a real commitment, and daily assessment and planning if you want to eventually achieve them. Long term goals do not happen overnight – they happen in steps or stages.
To effectively achieve a long term goal, you must first achieve smaller, realistic, and relevant goals along the way. These short term goals eventually build up and bring you closer to your destination.
If you have an idea about a long term goal, but you’re not sure how to go about achieving it, this article is for you. Below you will find some common examples of long term goals, and practical tips to help you achieve yours.
If you’re not sure about your long term goals, this article is also for you. Read the examples, tips, and advice we offer to help yourself envision a future worth working towards.
How to Stay Motivated
Long term goals are personal achievements that will take a significant amount of time to reach. They require diligent planning and sustained focus.
Achieving long term goals results in delayed gratification because you have foregone distractions and overcome demotivation to get what you want.
‘The easiest thing is to make sure you feel happy and satisfied in this moment. Setting long term goals is much more effort taking, but at the same time much more fulfilling.’ – Denis Waitley
It’s normal to lose some motivation along the way – you’re only human. What matters most is that you recognize when you’ve lost motivation, and get back on track.
Write down your progress in a daily journal to sustain your focus and encourage you to keep going.
What is an Example of a Long Term Goal?
One example of a long term goal is to become a doctor. Becoming a doctor takes years of work and the hours and effort you put in may be exhausting, but if you’re committed to achieving your goal, your eventual success will be worth it.
If one of your long term personal goals is to become a doctor, you would first need to complete an undergraduate degree, then pass your MCAT test.
Next, you would need to apply to medical school and complete your training. After that, you would need to pass the USMLE, match with a residency, graduate from medical school, and get a state license.
These are just some of the steps it takes to become a doctor, and as you can see, it’s something that takes years to achieve. On average, it takes 10 -14 years to become a fully licensed doctor.
Becoming a doctor is by no means easy, but if you have it in your heart to help people and achieve success in the medical world, you’re more likely to make a commitment and work towards it.
The same applies to any other goal you want to achieve. If you want it enough, you will make the commitment necessary to achieve it.
Types of Long Term Goals
There are many types of long term goals. Becoming a doctor is a type of career goal. Other long term goals may include becoming an attorney, a famous musician, or a professor. Long term career goals typically involve a dream to become an industry leader or start a successful business.
You may also have some long term financial goals. Perhaps you want to pay off your credit card debt, build a college fund, or save enough money for your retirement nest egg, or you want to earn more money to fund your children’s education.
Perhaps you want to learn a new skill or master an instrument. You may want to get started on a healthy diet, take professional family portraits, find a life partner, or restore family relationships. These are examples of personal goals – can be either short-term or long-term, and can be absolutely anything that feels important to you.
There are many types of long term goals in life. Many are ambitious but nonetheless achievable with careful planning and sustained focus.
If you want to achieve a long term goal, no matter what type of goal it is, it will require planning, consistency, and accountability for years.
Other long term goal examples include:
- Getting a university degree
- Becoming a famous actor
- Achieving financial independence
- Achieving financial security for your family
- Opening a restaurant
- Getting your dream job
- Being your own boss
- Building a house
All of the above begin as hopes and dreams, but what brings them is reality is a well-formed plan of action. If you want to achieve your long term goals. You need to successfully complete a relevant chain of short term goals to get you there.
Tips on How to Achieve Your Long Term Goals
The most important step in achieving a long term goal is to set the goal in the first place. While following through with that goal takes a lot of effort and consistency, you’ll never achieve a long term goal if you don’t set it.
Below you will find some tips and techniques to help you develop and set your long term goals.
1. Visualize your future
If you can take a personal retreat to do this activity, the better for you to focus. Your personal goal at this time is to get started on a vision.
Take some time to imbibe a positive mindset, close your eyes, relax, and paint a mental picture of how you would like your life to be at a certain point in the future. It could be next year, five years, or ten years from now.
Imagine what you’re doing, where you are, or even who you’re with. How are you dressed? Are you on your way to a meeting? Or standing on a film set? Or are you flying an airplane?
Next, trace the steps from that time back to the present. This will highlight the steps you need to take and the goal you must achieve to reach that point. For instance, if one of your career goals is to have a leadership position in the company, do you need to take up a public speaking skills training, a leadership course, or business administration units?
If you are honest with yourself about what you want when you paint that picture, you may uncover deeper desires and values of which you were not previously aware.
2. Set SMART goals
Setting long term goals becomes a lot easier when you set a series of shorter goals to help you get there.
Business marketers often use the SMART acronym (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) to boost their campaign success.
SMART is not just for businesses. You can apply it to your own goals – whether they be long term or short term- to improve your chances of success. Set aside some time today to check if your goals are SMART.
The more specific you can be, the more likely you are to achieve your goals.
For example, if you want to learn a foreign language like Spanish, you may begin with a short term goal such as being able to order food in a restaurant speaking Spanish. This aspect of goal setting can be applied to any skill. Set yourself a task to be able to use that skill in the real world, even if you only know the basics.
Be even more specific by outlining simple steps to help you get there. If you want to improve your Spanish and show it off in a restaurant, you can specify the steps you need to take by practicing your Spanish food and formal vocabulary once a day.
Measure your goals to track your progress. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, you could be specific by outlining how much weight you want to lose. Then you can take smaller steps by outlining how much weight you want to lose in a given period of time.
Check in on a scheduled basis, such as once a week or once a fortnight, and see if you’re reaching your ideal weekly progress. If not, you know that you need to make adjustments to your approach.
It works the same with long term financial goals. When you have monetary targets such as saving a million dollars in five years time, you can measure that goal by setting a smaller savings goal to reach each week or each month. If you don’t meet the smaller goal, you need to readjust your strategy.
Make sure your goals are achievable. You can make sure your long term goals are achievable and you can manage stress by breaking them up into smaller goals.
If you set unrealistic goals, you’re unlikely to make much progress, which can have a negative effect on your confidence and self-esteem. Set small goals that you know you can achieve, and that you know will pave the way to help you reach the main goal.
Still, it’s important to challenge yourself, just don’t challenge yourself so much that you become exhausted, lose motivation, or burn out.
Any goal you set should relate to your personal values and beliefs. Mission trips or taking care of extended family are value-driven goals. How will the short term goals you set now promote success in achieving the long term goals you hope to achieve in the future?
Set a realistic end date for each task needed to achieve a goal. Without setting a time limit, you’re more likely to procrastinate and may lose motivation to keep working.
3. Identify Challenges
Setting long term goals is bound to present some challenges.
As early as possible, try to imagine and understand any challenges you’ll likely encounter along the way. If you gain insight into the potential challenges in advance, you can make plans for overcoming them and they won’t become stumbling blocks.
Planning ahead can help you sustain your focus and maintain your progress. Unexpected challenges may easily throw you off track, so expect the unexpected.
4. Gather Support
Other people may be able to help you achieve your short term goals.
Share your goals with people you trust and who you know will be a source of compassionate support, not with anybody in your professional network.
You don’t need to share your goals with everybody, and it is important to understand that not everybody will be as supportive as you would like them to be.
If you do decide to share your goals with others, be mindful of oversharing.
It’s great to share your hopes and dreams, but sometimes when we speak about a project we’re excited about, we get a rush of dopamine – the brain’s reward chemical – just by talking about it and having other people approve. If we do this too much, it can demotivate us to actually achieve the goal.
Still, sharing your plans and goals will help you stay accountable. Others may even help by offering relevant opportunities, giving you advice, or providing you with encouragement.
Examples of Long Term Goals
Below we have outlined several types of goals that may inspire you to take action and achieve some goals for yourself. Whether you’re interested in building your own business, developing new skills, or taking on a course, the following examples should help you determine what’s important to you.
- Get a college education
- Be a business owner
- Buy a house
- Build a house
- Get a promotion
- Save enough money to retire comfortably at 65
- Travel across Europe
- Set up multiple passive income streams
- Write a book
- Lose 20 pounds
- Gain 20 pounds
- Start a family
- Live abroad for a year
- Become fluent in a foreign language
- Improve your public speaking
- Learn to surf
- Learn to drive
The Bottom Line
Goal setting is an effective way to find a sense of meaning and purpose in your life.
When we have something to work towards – something that will make us feel happy and fulfilled – it becomes a lot easier to wake up early, get out of bed, and go about chasing our dreams.
Hopefully, the tips and advice above have inspired you to take action on achieving the goals you would most like to achieve.