The things you want the most in life require success over the long-haul. One of the most significant differences between humans and animals is our ability to delay gratification and focus on things we want in the long run. Animals tend to rely on their instincts at the moment, even if it cost them in the long term. If you're going to live a good life, you will need to set worthy long-term goals.

Long-term goals help to make sure you are on track to accomplish what you want with your life. These goals require extensive thought and planning, but they are worth it. Too many people spend time planning out vacations but not their long-term careers. While others spend too much time planning a wedding but not nearly as much time planning a marriage. Long-term goals make sure that you have a plan for your life.

“Most people spend more time planning a vacation than they do planning a life” ― Chet Holmes

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What Are Long-Term Goals? 

Long-term goals are goals that you set more than a year leading up to your death bed. You want to use long-term goals to help you achieve the end you have in mind, also known as your life mission. You always work backward from your mission down to your habits. 

  1. Mission - What you want to accomplish on your deathbed
  2. Long-term goals - Goals set from 1-50 years out
  3. Short-term goals - Goals set under 1 year 
  4. Habits - Daily actions that help you to achieve goals

You always start with your mission, but it can be so grand that you need to break it down to make sense of it. The goal of breaking all of this down is to achieve big things without losing focus on the journey there. 

If you set a long-term goal that you want to accomplish in 40 years, a lot can happen in life that can throw you off. To make sure you stay on track, you work backward and set smaller and smaller goals to stair-step your way there.

Think of it like going upstairs. Going one stair at a time is easy. But imagine trying to go up to ten stairs, but the middle six stairs are missing. It would be much harder to get to the top, yet people try and do this with their goals. 

  • Goals due anywhere from 1-50 years out
  • Long-term goals help keep you on track for your mission
  • Long- term goals help your short-term goals to make sense

Contents Of This Article 

Why Not Use Short-Term Goals or Habits?

You may be asking why you need long-term goals, overusing short-term goals, or habits. Neither is better than the other. It's more about understanding that they all fit in together and need each other.
Your short-term goals help to bring you closer to your long term goals, and your long term goals get you closer to your mission. If you have short-term goals but no long term goals, you will have a huge gap in planning your life. You will know what you need to do this week, next month and for the following year. If you crush all of those goals, then what?
What will you do in five years and the next 25 years of your life? Long-term goals make sure that you can build on your short-term goals and continue to succeed. But you also need your short-term goals because they provide you with urgency. When you have a goal that you can accomplish in 20 years, it will feel like you have all of the world's time.

Short-term goals keep you on track by providing you with targets that are just around the corner. Your weekly and monthly goals make sure you stay on track for your yearly goals.

  • Short-term goals leave a gap between this year and your mission
  • Breaking down goals helps to make them more attainable 
  • Habits and short-term goals are not great for large visions 

Long-Term Goals for Your Career 

1. Advancing Education 

One of the easiest ways to set long term goals that will benefit your career is to get more education. It's pretty common today to see people who have bachelor's degrees go and get their masters or someone with no degree to go back to school to get their bachelor's. 

It does not matter what you do, but its statistically proven that if you get more education that you will make more money throughout your life. If you want to better your career in one of the lowest risk ways that you can, going to school is a great way to do that. 

2. Earn a High-Level Position

Earning a high-level position is all about getting that dream promotion and aspiring to be one of the highest levels that you can be in a company, whether that is the CEO or some other executive-level position.

Goals here are about aiming to go as high as you possibly can on the career ladder. This is a perfect example because CEO positions are not handed out; you have to work your way there over a long career.

3. Become a Mentor

Many of your short-term goals will focus on finding the best mentors. In the long run, you want to use your career's cumulative knowledge to become a mentor for other people. Instead of focusing on what you can get an learn, the experience will help you to turn that focus on who you can help.

4. Leave Your Job

Another great long-term goal for your career is knowing when you plan to leave for early retirement or start your venture. The point here is that the career is not the end target, and you need your career to provide the means to get you to where you want to go, but there may be something bigger you want to do before you die.

5. Major Impact

Nothing makes us feel more valued than knowing that the work we do positively impacts others. Knowing that we are doing work that will be remembered and needed can positively change us. Have goals for the impact you want to have on the world and how you will know you're making that impact. This may be one of the harder goals to measure, but it will be more than worth it.

For example, I know Christians who track the people that they help to believe in Jesus. That is the ultimate prize to them and knowing they are helping people is above all other things. Another great example is a therapist counting how many people they have help steer away from suicide.

Habit Mastery

Long-Term Goals for Your Health 

6. Compete In New Sport or Competition 

You may be working on the habit of working out daily. One of the best ways to sustain these efforts over the long-run is to focus on a sport or a competition you want to compete in or a number of them that you want to do. You see, people do this with Marathons, where they commit to running a marathon next year.

You can even cross out multiple goals by committing to doing a certain amount of marathons in different countries to get to live and travel. The point here is that when you lock into doing something with your training, it provides a purpose for your habits.

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7. Master a New Diet

One of the best forms of discipline and self-control is to be able to have control over what you eat. It does not matter what diet you decide will be best for you and your family. The key to success is going forward with everything you have and not looking back. Diet hard to change in the long run because a lot of what we eat is connected to our childhood.

You need to define what it means to master a diet. It could be when you maintain it daily and teach it to others and answer difficult questions with ease. Once you define what it means, you can see how easy it is to build short-term goals off of.

8. Maintain Your Ideal Weight 

Maybe you have been working on losing weight or gaining muscle over the years. You eventually want to find the sweet spot. This is the point where you don't feel too heavy but still are packing some muscle. Once you find the ideal weight, you want to do everything you can to maintain it and stay right there.

9. Avoidance of Negative Habits 

A lot of staying healthy means avoiding too much of things that are not good for you. The following are negative habits that can sneak up on you. If you can avoid them, you have won half of the battle to staying healthy with your long-term goals. 

  • Smoking
  • Drinking 
  • Social Media Comparison 
  • Not Going to The Doctor 
  • High Consumption of Junk Food

10. Self-Care Appointments 

Set a long-term goal for how many appointments you want to go that help to take care of you. The same way reading is sharpening the ax for your personal development, self-care is sharpening the ax for your physical and mental health. You want to take time to do the following things:

  • Chiropractic treatment
  • Massage therapy 
  • Sauna
  • See therapist
  • Acupuncture 
  • Meditate 

Long-Term Goals for Your Finances  

11. Net Worth Goal 

You want to have clear goals for your net worth to be as your progress through life. Remember, the middle class focuses on how much they make per year, but the wealthy look at their overall net worth.

12. Debt Free

One of the best ways to build your net worth is to clear out all the bad debt. Debts are always considered to be liabilities because they cost you money every month. In the days where people leave school with more than $100,000 in debt, it safe to say that many of these debts will be hanging around for some time.

13. Diversify Your Portfolio

Many of your short term goals may focus on saving money to invest or buy a house. Now that you're looking into your long term future, you should also want to invest in different things. Land, stocks, bonds, real estate, angel investing, or whatever ever could be a winner for you. You want to set clear goals for what you want to spend in, when, and how much you want to put in.

14. Change Number of Lives Financially 

As you build your wealth and become more financially stable, you will be in positions to help others much more. You need to decide what you want this look like. You can give people money that can change their entire family legacy. How many people do you want to do this and be detailed about what this will look like? 

15. Business Revenue Goals 

Many people who build wealth, do so through entrepreneurship. Having strong long-term goals for how much money you want to be earning will help to make sure that your business on track and that you're also building your net worth.

Long-Term Goals for Self-Improvement 

16. Habit Tracker Perfect Days 

In our Habit Tracker app, if you get all of your habits done in a day, its called a "perfect day." It merely means you got it all done, and the goal is to rack up as many of these days as you can. You want to set a standard for how many of these days you want to that while also making your daily habits harder. 

17. Family Legacy 

You need to have some massive goals for your family legacy. What do you want to leave your family? You can't think about this when you leave it behind, and you need to be working on this years in advance. Setting great long-term goals will help you make sure that you are on track to do this well. 

18. Books Read 

There is no better way to make sure that you are growing and improving than learning and opening yourself up to new perspectives. You want to know how many books you want to read on your death bed and then work backward from that, and you should know how many books you need to read a month to get there.

19. Healthy Relationships 

Long-term relationship goals are some of the hardest to set and define. You want goals to be measurable and specific. The worst thing you can do is set a vague goal. But how do you quantify a relationship? You will have to get creative, but you must do so because these goals impact your happiness and life satisfaction.

20. Be The Plug In Your Community

When you're the plug, it means you're the connector. You are the person who knows everyone and finds ways to connect everyone. You know someone in the community who can get anything done. You know the lawyers, the accountants, the barbers, where to get your car fixed, the used car dealerships to check out, who can fix your computer, and grab a bit to eat. You want to set some intentional networking goals so you can connect the world around you.

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Conclusion of Setting Excellent Long-Term Goals 

You don't need to set long-term goals for all of these. Just focus on the areas that move you take action. It will become apparent where you need more long-term and short-term goals based on areas that you keep coming up short.

Remember that these goals will make it easier to achieve your life mission, but they will also provide inspiration to keep pushing forward on your short-term goals.

Ian Warner

About the author

I went from a broken leg to a 2012 Olympian. I have spent the last 15 years building positive habits as a track athlete and entrepreneur. I founded Habit Stacker and dedicated my life to helping people to develop winning habits. I have helped over 5,000 people...

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