How do you define success in your personal life? Years from now, where do you want to be? Setting personal long-term goals can be a powerful tool for taking your life in the direction you want it to go. A long-term goal is one that can't be achieved right away, but rather one that takes sustained effort over a period of time. These examples will inspire you to create your own personal goals, no matter where you find yourself right now in your life and career.
10 Personal Long-Term Goal Examples to Inspire
Expand Your Worldview
If you want a broader perspective on the world, you could create a personal long-term goal to help with that objective. Start by thinking of some specific things you can do to expand your perspective, such as travel, reading books from other countries, or interacting with other people with different backgrounds. Then, craft your goal using these specific ideas.
In the next five years, I will read 30 books by authors of other nationalities, travel to five foreign countries, and make a conscious effort to talk to people with other perspectives.
Like many people, you may find your mind racing when you're trying to sleep. You may also feel you're missing some of the important moments in life because you aren't mentally present. Practicing mindfulness makes a great long-term goal, but the key is to make sure it's actionable. That way, you can incorporate the practice into your daily life.
Each day, I will meditate for 20 minutes. I will also actively work on being present in social interactions by asking questions and listening to others.
Get Recognized for Your Art
If you are a writer, artist, musician, or photographer, you may have a long-term goal of getting recognized for your art. The key here is to clearly define what you consider to be success. That may include exhibitions, performances, sales, gallery representation, or something else. Know what success looks like for you, and then write your goal with that in mind.
I will work daily to promote my work so I can achieve my goals of having a solo exhibition and gallery representation within five years.
Become More Emotionally Intelligent
Emotional intelligence, or the ability to handle relationships and emotions with skill and empathy, is essential for many aspects of life - from careers to personal relationships. It involves knowing and regulating your own emotional state and showing empathy to others. Improving your emotional intelligence is a great personal goal, but the key is to make it something you can measure. This example shows you how.
In the next year, I plan to improve my emotional intelligence by keeping a daily journal of self-reflection, practicing active listening with one person each day, and using empathy statements daily when I talk to others.
Make a Difference as an Activist
The world's problems can seem big, and even if you're committed to helping, it's hard to see how you can make a difference. The key is defining what "making a difference" means to you and your cause. Then, think about specific ways you can make that happen.
I plan to raise awareness about autism spectrum disorders and bullying by speaking at 30 public schools over the next two years. Also, I will publish weekly blog posts with action items for people who want to help.
Encourage Others as a Mentor
If you're at a point in your life or career where you feel you have wisdom or skills to pass on to others, being a mentor can be a very rewarding experience. Once again, it's essential that your goal is measurable and specific. Which skills will you share? How many people will you mentor?
Over the next 10 years, I will act as a mentor to five newly trained teachers in my school district by providing emotional support, practical advice, and an open channel of communication.
Become Well-Rounded as a Student
Students often hear that colleges and graduate programs want a "well-rounded" applicant, but it can be difficult to make that part of your life without a clear long-term goal. Start by defining what you think it means to be well-rounded. What hobbies and activities will you add to your life to give you an edge in your college application process? Then, set a time limit and a way to measure your success.
In the next year, I will become well-rounded by spending one afternoon a week reading to residents at the nursing home and two evenings per week participating in community theater.
Care Less About Others' Opinions
Everyone cares what other people think, but if you feel you care too much, you may want to create a personal long-term goal to help you regain perspective. Think about what makes you feel confident in your own voice and vision. Then, think about what you can do to incorporate more of that into your life, making sure you choose a way that you can measure.
In the next year, I will become more self-confident and less concerned about the opinions of others by writing daily positive statements in a journal and working with a therapist each week to become more self-assured.
Be a Better Parent (or Spouse)
Your personal life is just as important to your happiness as professional success, so it's smart to create goals to make it better. Focus on what you can change, which is often limited to your own role. Think about how you want to be different to improve things.
Over the next five years, I will become a better parent by spending every Saturday playing with my kids, eating dinner with the family at least four nights per week, and checking in by phone when I travel for business.
Create a Legacy You're Proud Of
At some point in your professional or personal life, it's natural to want to leave a legacy for those who come after you. Whether you're planning to retire in a few years or simply want to be remembered by your family in a certain way, clearly defining that legacy will help you write a goal to achieve it.
In the next 10 years, I plan to write a memoir of my experience growing up during the Civil Rights era, spend one day each week with my grandchildren, and call my daughters on the phone daily.
How to Achieve Long-Term Goals
The most important factor in achieving long-term goals is in how you write them. Practice writing measurable goals and objectives, which help you break down your larger goal into smaller, easy-to-measure chunks. As you achieve each chunk, you get closer to your overall goal and the life you have envisioned for yourself long-term.