Sometimes we treat the goal-setting process as if the hardest part is sticking with our goals while the easy part is picking them. But the reality is, you probably experience just as much difficulty choosing what to aim for. This is especially difficult when you don’t know what to shoot for because you don’t have any good examples of long-term goals.
You feel like you have to shoot for the right ones, or you’ll be a failure. Or worse, that you’ll succeed only to discover that you’re climbing up a ladder that you don’t want to be on.
And we haven’t even mentioned the hardest part yet: commitment.
When you get into the repeated drudgery of practicing the same things over and over again to achieve your aim, it’s difficult to stick to it.
However, it’s easier to stay committed to your goals when you pick ones that you enjoy. That’s because doing so removes resistance.
You’re not terrible at setting long-term goals. You just need some inspiration to know how to set ones that you enjoy doing.
Here are 12 examples of long-term goals to give you some ideas when deciding what to focus on. Pay attention if certain ones frustrate you, and you’ll know that you shouldn’t choose those for yourself.
On the other hand, and more importantly, double down on which of these light you up inside. Those are where you’re going to be the most productive, happy, and successful.
Examples of Long-Term Relationship Goals
1. End toxic friendships and find healthy ones
This goal is so essential for a happy and healthy life. It’s been a long time since I’ve had friendships that brought me down, but I still remember how awful I felt from trying to fit in with vile people.
I especially remember the contrast when I finally found the group of friends that I felt comfortable being myself around. Not only that, but they lifted me up and made me want to be a better person.
That was the year I turned 17, and it was the happiest year of my life up to that point. Can you imagine what kind of happiness and success await you if you’ll give up your unhealthy friendships in favor of good ones?!
2. Find “the one” and get married
This one is a vital part of a happy life because things are harder without a companion. After meeting my wife, my life has only become better.
It might seem like life with a spouse is harder, but did you ever consider how many of your flaws go unseen because you’ve got nobody to challenge your patience?
Not only that, but in the case of my marriage, I see a lot of qualities in my wife that I want to improve in myself. That makes it easier to become a better person, which is a surefire way to live a happier life.
One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is to become your best self.
If you want to find the person you’d like to be around forever, then you’d better become the kind of person that you like being around.
3. Spend more quality time with your kids
I have this goal right now. It’s powerful because if you want your kids to adopt your knowledge and good habits, then you need to spend a lot of time with them.
After all, as Jim Rohn said,
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
If you are one of the people that your kids spend the most time with, then they will become like you.
This is a nice thought, but what’s vital is that you show them how much you love them. And in the words of Dieter Uchtdorf:
“In family relationships love is really spelled T. I. M. E.”
4. Become best friends with your spouse
If you can make this happen, your marriage will last forever. The number one reason that my wife and I are so close is that we were friends first before we dated.
We loved just talking with each other about our interests and ideas, playing video games, and laughing at funny YouTube videos. We still do all of those things.
If you’re struggling with just the idea of this one, remember this:
Relationships are difficult when you only think about your differences but easy when you focus on what you have in common.
Examples of Long-Term Financial Goals
5. Double your income
I had this goal in 2019, and I’m happy to say that I accomplished it! This is one of my favorites that I’ve ever done because of how it changed me and how I had to change to make it happen.
Most people will sit there in their 9-5 job, making excuses about why they can’t earn more.
“I don’t have enough time,” “my boss sets my income,” “what if I quit and start the company I’ve been dreaming of and the economy crashes?”
I found myself making similar excuses right up until the day I got let go. Suddenly, when I had to make it happen, I did. Get up, get over yourself, and get moving, and you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish.
6. Make $100,000 in six months
The exact number isn’t important on this one; you can make it whatever you’d like. Although I’ll have to admit, this number seems a little lofty to me right now. But whoever says you can’t think big is not the kind of person you should be listening to.
Just think, what if you actually did it?
What would it feel like to have this kind of money?
What would you do with it?
How would your life change?
Can you imagine how proud of yourself you would feel that you accomplished this goal? Let alone all the good you could do for your family and the world with the money!
This goal is possible. I know that’s true because I’ve done it. But it’s way easier when you give up the idea that you have to do it with your job.
7. Go back to school
Back in 2016, I had been in my career for a couple of years when I started to lose the energy I once had for doing my work well and improving at it. I fell into a rut and wasn’t sure how to get out of it.
Then one day, it hit me: I hadn’t been as good at setting long-term goals!
Upon realizing this, I began considering what I might do, and the thought of doing grad school popped into my head.
It seemed crazy at first, and I took my time mulling it over. But once it caught hold, the excitement I’d been missing in my work came back in a big way!
8. Discover your passions and get into your dream job
So the funny thing about going to graduate school is that just before I was almost done with it, I realized that I wasn’t in my dream job. I found out that my earlier feelings about my career went much deeper than any new goal could fix.
I remember the fear and excitement I felt at the same time while looking out my office window just after reading an article that made me realize I’d picked the wrong career.
Fast-forward two years later, and I’ve now found my dream job. I almost created it from scratch, even.
I didn’t even know it existed until I started looking. You need to remember that, too, on your career journey. No matter how miserable your job is now, it can get better. You just need to start looking.
Examples of Long-Term Fitness Goals
9. Run a marathon
This is another goal that I accomplished for the first time back in 2017. It was brutal. It would be easy for me to carry a lot of regrets about how this long-term goal turned out.
But the most important lesson I got from finishing is that I did something hard that I didn’t think I could do.
I think that’s one of the most significant messages in all of these. No matter how well you do, it’s crucial to show yourself just what you’re made of. You really can do anything you put your mind to.
Important note on this goal: DO NOT SET THIS GOAL IF YOU HAVE NEVER RUN BEFORE.
I had to run three half marathons, train for over two years, and I still wasn’t fully ready for it. Start small. Get tiny wins now so you can get massive ones later. Otherwise, you’ll never do anything.
10. Finish an Iron Man
I’m excited about this one because it’s one of my current goals. I’m working towards by setting various other smaller ones. A full Iron Man might be difficult, so I’ll probably start with just a regular Triathalon.
Which brings me to another vital point about this one and the previous: it doesn’t matter how big or small you make it, just do what’s best for you so that you can succeed!
I love setting goals for events rather than just “getting healthy” because it pushes you to accomplish more than you otherwise would. And guess what, by completing the events, you also achieve the other health goals you might set!
11. Get body fat down to 15%
Speaking of good health goals that sporting events can help you reach, losing body fat is a perfect example. But wait, wasn’t I just bashing on these types of goals?
Well, these are important to set because they give us a metric to measure how the bigger goal of running a race, for example, is affecting our health.
Working toward losing body fat is much better than merely trying to lose weight. That’s because even if you’re skinny, you might have a high body fat percentage that is making you unhealthy and at risk for all sorts of diseases.
12. Lose 50 pounds
Wait, didn’t I just say this one wasn’t as good as getting your body fat lower? That might be true, but not everyone has a way of tracking their body fat percentage. I had to buy an expensive Fitbit scale to find mine.
But more than that, you lose weight faster than you lose body fat. And you’ll likely lose both at the same time anyway.
Why should you care, though?
Because weight drops off faster, you’re giving yourself small wins to frequently add fuel to the fire of your desire to accomplish your goal.
Losing body fat is slower, so seeing it creep down a little at a time might be discouraging for you.
Let’s Wrap Up
So there you have it, 12 examples of long-term goals that I hope will spark some ideas in your head when you’re setting your own goals.
You have to do what works for you. If you hate running, don’t set a goal to do a marathon. Seriously, you should be working toward finishing a bike race or maybe a roller derby.
And if you start something and discover that it’s not working for you, it’s okay to give it up and try something else! You’ll get much further with a goal that you’re happier with.
That’s why you need to pay careful attention to the ideas here that light you up inside. Those are the goals with which you’ll be the most productive.
Whatever it is, don’t forget to be yourself! As we talked about in the beginning, if you enjoy it, you’re far more likely to reach your goals.