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A lot of people talk about their long term goals—or at least post on social media about them. Whether those goals are of the personal or professional variety, talking about them doesn’t exactly do the trick. The thing about goals is that it’s not enough to simply put them out there. You have to put in the work to make them happen! 

In order to see your goals realized, it might be helpful to learn more about the logistics of setting a goal, definitions of different kinds of goals, and some goal setting examples. Let’s get started!

What Is the Definition of a Goal?

OK, you might be rolling your eyes at this question, but it never hurts to get back to basics when considering big subjects, like long-term career goals or long-term financial goals. Those topics can feel unwieldy—which is why many people hesitate to pursue big goals to begin with! So let’s dig into the details. What is a goal, anyway? 

According to the pros at Merriam-Webster, the goal definition is “the end toward which effort is directed.” The operative word there? Effort. A goal is more than just a dream—it’s a concrete end that you invest tangible effort into. 

You can break this down even further into different types of goals. 

What is a Long-Term Goal?

What are long-term goals? Pretty much exactly what they sound like! A long-term goal is a goal you set with a longer timeline in mind, rather than one you can accomplish in a few hours or days. They usually require you to adopt habits and actions that you’ll take on a regular basis in service of that goal.

Long-term goals are often synonymous with the big “life goals” that you envision for yourself years down the road. How do you want your life to look in five, 10, or 20 years? The list of goals you compile with this kind of reflection can help you get where you want to go.

6 Examples of Long-Term Goals

1. Commit to a Regular Fitness Routine 

Since we’re talking about long-term goals, the focus here is on moving your body in a way that makes you feel good and that you can maintain indefinitely. No easy fixes, no short-term workout fads! 

2. Regularly Invest

Which is the best way to achieve long-term financial goals? There are many routes to financial freedom, but investing is a popular one. It’s also a long-term goal because it typically only works when you commit to it year after year. 

3. Give Back 

Sharing your time and resources with your community is always worthwhile. If you’re looking for examples of long-term goals that can actually make you a better person, consistently giving back is a good one. 

4. Achieve a Promotion 

On the list of long-term career goals, landing a promotion or leadership role (and the paycheck that comes with it!) is probably near the top for most people. 

5. Start a Business

Entrepreneurship has the potential to improve your financial situation, to do good for others, and to help you feel more fulfilled. It can take a while to get a business off the ground, so start planning now and see your vision come to life in the long run. 

6. Learn Something New 

Want to learn to play an instrument? Master oil painting? Making the time to become an expert (or even a novice!) at something new can mean a real commitment over a series of months or years. 

Set Creative Goals

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What’s a SMART Goal? 

Want to get even more specific with your goal-setting? Try SMART goals! SMART goal-setting is a technique often used in workplaces to set goals that are:

Specific

Measurable 

Achievable 

Realistic

Timely 

As you can probably tell, SMART goals have been known to be a bit easier to tackle, since they’re designed with success in mind. You should be able to track your progress with a SMART goal, and it should have a deadline to go with it.

Here are a few goal-setting examples for SMART goals. 

6 Examples of SMART Goals

  1. “I want to put $1,000 in savings by the end of the year.”
  2. “I want our family to go on 30-minute walks outside three times per week until the end of the summer.” 
  3. “I want to improve my credit score by 100 points within one year.” 
  4. “I want to exceed my quarterly sales goal at work by 20% at least two quarters this year.” 
  5. “I want to save enough money to go on a seven-day trip to Hawaii next winter.” 
  6. “I want to go back to school for a master’s in creative writing by fall of 2023.”

How to Achieve Your Long-Term Goals 

Now that you’ve considered some long-term goals examples, here are a few tips to help you make them a reality. 

  1. Share your goals with an accountability partner, and check in on a regular basis to share your progress. 
  2. Keep reminders of your goals in places where you’ll see them regularly, like on the refrigerator or next to the bathroom mirror. 
  3. Track your progress by writing down the small victories you’re achieving on the way to your long-term goal. 
  4. Consider the daily habits you can integrate into your life to help you make your goals a reality. Then, be consistent with those habits!
  5. Don’t be afraid to tweak your long-term goals, especially the deadlines you’ve assigned to them! Remember: you’re in it for the long haul. 

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