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Setting Long-Term Goals: 30 Examples

Updated May 3, 2024 . AmFam Team

We all have dreams and goals we want to accomplish. Sometimes these goals take longer to achieve than others, and that’s not a bad thing. Long-term goals can be fulfilling endeavors that may require lots of hard work — but chances are it will be worth it!

Let’s take a look at what long-term goals are, explore several key examples and learn about how you can start achieving them.

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What are long-term goals?

A long-term goal is a goal you want to accomplish in the future. Often, they are objectives tied to succeeding in your professional or personal life. Unlike life goals, long-term goals aren’t life-long endeavors. Completing long-term goals may take several years, but typically you won’t be working on them your entire life.

30 Long-Term Goal Examples

What long-term goals do you want to achieve? To help you brainstorm, we’ve collected 30 long-term goals examples — across three general categories.

a woman leading a meeting

Career Long-Term Goals Examples

Long-term career goals are often tied to succeeding in your professional life or moving up the career ladder. It’s the answer to that classic interview question: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Here are some long-term career goals examples: 

  1. Get promoted to a senior position at work 
  2. Pivot your career into a field you're passionate about 
  3. Develop your own career plan 
  4. Become a thought leader in your industry 
  5. Master a job-specific skill 
  6. Determine your dream job and start working towards it 
  7. Build out your professional network 
  8. Join a professional organization 
  9. Earn a professional certificate 
  10. Publish an article for a professional journal 
a woman and son in graduation robe

Personal Long-Term Goals Examples

These are long-term goals that are personal to you. Often, they involve self-improvement or learning new skills you've always wanted to attain. Here are 10 examples of long-term personal goals:  

  1. Become a better spouse or parent 
  2. Complete your first marathon 
  3. Create and commit to a fitness routine 
  4. Learn a foreign language 
  5. Cut junk food out of your diet 
  6. Start volunteering regularly  
  7. Increase your emotional intelligence 
  8. Earn a college degree 
  9. Live abroad when it’s safe to travel 
  10. Learn how to cook a variety of meals 
a couple signing a document

Financial Long-Term Goals Examples

Long-term monetary goals are usually achieved in five or more years and are all about your long-term fiscal security. They may involve ensuring you have savings for the unexpected, or budgeting so you can spend your hard-earned cash on something you’ve always wanted. Check out these examples: 

  1. Purchase your first home 
  2. Invest in the stock market  
  3. Build your child’s college fund  
  4. Start your own business  
  5. Pay off your car 
  6. Open an emergency fund  
  7. Put more money into your savings account each month 
  8. Map out a detailed retirement plan  
  9. Put money away towards a big vacation 
  10. Save money on bills by building an energy efficient home 
a blank notebook

How to Achieve Your Long-Term Goals

Long-term goals take time to achieve, that’s why it’s crucial to plan them out. Do your best to create a step-by-step process for how you can complete each goal. Chances are there are others who have similar long-term goals, so do research online or ask for help when you can! Here are some tips to keep in mind that can help you on your journey to achieve your long-term goals: 

  1. Focus on one goal at a time. It’s ok to have multiple goals, but focusing on one can help you reach it faster. 
  2. Write down your goals. Documenting them will help remind you and allow you to track your progress.   
  3. Map out milestones. Identifying important benchmarks can help indicate when you’re closer to success.  
  4. Create short-term goals along the way to each milestone. Little successes can encourage you and keep you motivated.  
  5. Have someone help you stay accountable. Remember, help from others can make your goals more viable and achievable.  

Make Sure Your Long-Term Goals Are SMART

Need help achieving your long-term objectives? You may want to consider the SMART goals process. It’s a methodology that can help focus your efforts and make attaining your goals a more actionable process. Set your goals by considering the SMART acronym:  

S – Specific: Clarify your goal and define exactly what you want to achieve — be as specific as possible.  

M – Measurable: Make sure there’s a clear way you can gage your progress as you work on completing your goal.  

A – Achievable: You should be able to realistically achieve your goal — map out whether or not you can actually achieve every aspect of your goal. 

R – Relevant: Ask yourself if it makes sense to work on this goal now. If so, does it line up with other goals you may want to achieve? 

T – Time-Sensitive: Set a deadline and hold yourself accountable for finishing your goal. It may be a few years out — but if you’ve built a realistic plan, you’ll get there. 

Consider writing your SMART goals down and using a worksheet like this (Opens in a new tab) to keep track of your progress. By using the SMART methodology, you'll have a clear path for making those long-term goals a reality one day. Learn more about SMART goal setting and how to stay motivated.

Start Working Toward Your Goals Today

Now that you know more about long-term goals and have some examples, why not make your own? There's no better time than now to apply what you’ve learned and work toward achieving your biggest aspirations.

If you have more dreams you want to make real, consider joining the dream movement today. You’ll find resources and tips to help support and guide you along any dream pursuit.

This article is for informational purposes only and based on information that is widely available. We believe this information is accurate but do not make any guarantees or promise any results based on this information.

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