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Setting long-term goals helps you achieve the life you want. And it makes for a more intentional approach to life. Setting long-term goals is about having a vision for your future. They give greater meeaning and purpose to life. But, how does a person identify their long-term goals? And, first of all, what are long-term goals?

What Is a Long-Term Goal?

A long-term goal is something you want to achieve in the future. Long-term goals are different from life goals. Life goals are goals you’d want to achieve throughout your life. They define your life. A long-term goal is a goal that is tied up in some aspect of your personal or professional life. An example of a life goal could be to achieve financial freedom. But within that life goal could be a goal such as saving for the down payment on a home or investing in the stock market.

Another life goal could be to live a healthy lifestyle. And within that goal could be a long-term goal such as running a marathon.

Examples of Long-Term Goals

Long-term goals can be divided into three categories – professional, personal, and financial goals.

Personal Goals

A personal goal is one you’d like to achieve outside of your work. Examples of long-term personal goals:

  • Run a marathon.
  • Learn a new sport.
  • Travel across Europe for a month.
  • Start a family.
  • Volunteer at the local soup kitchen.
  • Do a TED Talk.
  • Get into an exercise routine.
  • Loose weight – and keep it off.
  • Complete a novel.
  • Go on a ypga retreat.

Professional Goals

Success in your career must start with clear long-term professional goals. Some long-term goals you may want to consider: 

Financial Goals

Achieving financial goals adds to the quality of our lives. Examples of long-term financial goals include:

  • Starting an education fund for your newborn baby.
  • Setting up a retirement plan.
  • Saving for the down payment on a home.
  • Building an emergency fund.
  • Start investing.
  • Paying off your car.
  • Hire a financial advisor.

How To Make Your Own Long-Term Goals

A great way to set long-term goals is by using the SMART technique.

S – Specific: 

Be clear and specific when defining your goal. For example, if you want to save for the down payment on a home, how much exactly will it cost? $50,000 or 100,000? Is your goal to retire comfortably? Exactly how much in retirement income would you need to feel comfortable? $100,000 per year? After tax or before tax?

M – Measurable: 

How will you know if you’ve accomplished your goal? You must be able to measure your goal. If your goal is to get fit, what specifically will you need to accomplish to feel fit? Is it when you can complete a marathon? It’s hard to measure something vague like getting fit, but completing a marathon is measurable. A goal such as saving for retirement is not specific or measurable, but stating that you would like an annual retirement income of $50,000 is both specific and measurable.

A – Achievable: 

When setting goals, they must be realistic and achievable. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure. For example, it may not be very realistic to set a goal to retire within five years if you don’t have any savings and no sources of retirement income.

R – Relevant: 

You are more likely to achieve your goal if it is important to you. Even if your boss tells you you’re overqualified and urges you to move up the corporate ladder, you may be content in your job. In this case, your goal may be to spend more time with the family rather than to get a promotion.

T – Time-Sensitive: 

To quote author of “Think and Grrow Rich” Napoleon Hill, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” You must have a deadline for your goal. Just saying that you want to run a marathon is not enough. You need to know when you’d like to run the marathon. 

Tips for Achieving Your Long Term Goals

  • Focus on one goal at a time.
  • Set a deadline on when you’d like to achieve the goal.
  • Learn from the people who have succeeded in achieving the same goals.
  • How much time or money you are willing to commit to that goal? If you want to run the marathon, how much time you are willing to train each week? If you want to buy your first home, what is it going to cost? How much can you save each month?
  • Have a detailed plan on how you would like to achieve the goal.
  • Create short-term goals within the long-term goals. If your goal is to run a marathon, create a short-term goal such as completing a half-marathon.
  • Decide on benchmarks along the way to mark your progress. If saving $50,000 towards the down payment on a home is your goal, your benchmarks could be each time you save $10,000.
  • Surround yourself with people who are supportive and with whom you can be accountable.

Your goals are important in creating the life you want. Make a list of long-term goals you’d like to achieve and then create a step-by-step plan to achieve at least one of your goals. And believe that you have what it takes to achieve them.

To help you identify and achieve your long term goals, sign up for my 21 Day Challenge.

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