How to Set Long-Term Goals (& Actually Reach Them)

how to set long-term goals

I promise this will only hurt a little.

How do see yourself in five years?

Are you happy and healthy? Are you financially stable? Are you living your life the way you want?

Here’s the cold truth. 🧊

Most people never achieve their goals. (According to the University of Scranton, an entire 92% of people who set New Year’s goals never actually achieve them.)

Why doesn’t it happen?

Because most people don’t know how to set long-term goals.

And it’s NOT because you might struggle with building self-worth, aren’t smart, or aren’t willing.

Often, would-be goal crushers are actually so capable that they get stuck painting a pretty picture of an ideal “future” life.

It can be addicting to get caught in a cycle of constantly living in the future and striving for perfectionism before action. All that “thinking” and “planning” about what we want can easily distract us from what we need to do to get it.

Let’s talk about how you can truly conquer your goals this year and live life on your own terms.

how to set long-term goals

What Are Long-Term Goals?

A long-term goal is an accomplishment you wish to reach or complete in the future. They normally require significant planning, effort, and time to meet and/or stick to.

There’s a major difference in the effort needed for short-term goals vs. long-term goals:

  • How long is a long-term goal? Usually takes 12+ months.
  • How long is a short-term goal? Usually takes under 12 months.

goals timeline

So why set goals if they’re so hard? 🤷

Because life is hard, and you get to choose your hard.

YOU get to choose if you’re going to put your energy and effort into living a life you don’t enjoy, seeking instant gratification from low-level activities that steal your time.

Or, you can choose to shift your mindset and focus to productive daily habits that compound into a bigger achievement that you’d like to conquer in your life.

You get to pick.

And making that choice is what separates the leaders from the pack.

So how do you determine your long-term goal? Let’s look at some examples to get you inspired.

If you’re struggling to build a business that really works, drop everything and grab your seat in our two-hour free class. This powerful training will give you the eye-opening methods behind what it really takes to run a digital business.

Long-Term Goals Examples

What is an example of a long-term goal?

You’re likely already aware of the importance of long-term goals in both your business and your personal life. But for many business owners, your brand is your personal life. So, it can be confusing to define the differences. 😕

Here are some long-term goals examples for business:

  1. I’ll hire 3 new members of my team to start delegating more.
  2. I will receive a promotion and a 10% raise within three years.
  3. I’ll get our business listed in the “best of” section of a local magazine.
  4. I’ll learn digital skills and how to master blogging for small business.

And here are long-term goals examples for your personal life:

  1. I’ll improve my communication skills so I can be more open with my loved ones.
  2. I will run a 5k through Disney World.
  3. I’ll have enough money for a down payment on a home within 5 years.

Did you connect with any of the long-term goal examples on this list? Take that with you and let’s now look at tips for how you’re going to set and hit your goals.

serious business owner

7 Tips for How to Set Long-Term Goals

Are you living with the pain of knowing what you want out of life and what you need to do to get it, but lacking the structure and systems to put it all into action?

That’s where goals come in. 🏆

Setting long-term goals for yourself is the key to unleashing your motivation.

But do you know how to set a goal and stick to it?

It’s OK if the answer is no. It doesn’t come naturally to most people, but I have good news:

It’s a skill that can be taught.

Because when it comes to setting goals, there is a process that high achievers stick to. And here’s what it involves:

1. Meditate Daily

Ask yourself, “How can I improve my long-term vision?”

It all starts with adjusting your mindset.

The simplest way to make this happen? Start a daily meditation routine.

Meditation is so effective for honing productivity and focus that 52% of employers now offer mindfulness training.

how to set long-term goals

And because I’m blessed to know many highly successful content marketers, I know that one of the most common keys to our success is prioritizing mindfulness.

Is it easy to commit to this practical tip every day? Nope! But that’s why not everyone does it.

But putting work into practicing mindfulness is worth it. Getting yourself into the proper mindset is beyond powerful – it’s transformational. 🔮

When my coaching clients are learning how to have lasting impact, the very first thing we dig into is what’s going on with their attitude and beliefs. You simply can’t hit long-term goals and serious business growth if your mindset isn’t there.

2. Get Your Goals on Paper

Once you’ve decided that you’re going to adjust your mindset, the next step is to write your goals down.

Make a list of what you want to achieve. Be specific. And make sure to write them down because only 3% of people have goals written down (yet they are 3x as successful as those who don’t).

how to set long-term goals

So, if you haven’t yet, get to work writing down your goals. If you need to, you can use the list of long-term goal examples above for inspiration. 📝

3. Establish Habits

Repeatable habits are key to reaching your long-term goals.

My list of the best content marketing books includes Atomic Habits by James Clear. It offers practical and easy-to-follow advice including the need to create a daily habit that will ultimately lead you to meet your long-term goal. For example, instead of setting a goal to run a marathon, set a goal to create a habit of running every day.

It feels simple, doesn’t it?

Sadly, learning how to prioritize goals doesn’t come naturally for most.

Especially creatives.

Achieving your long-term goals can be hard, so it’s essential to have a process in place. And establishing (and making room to stick to) goal-oriented habits should absolutely be a part of the system you create for yourself.

For a real kick-in-the-pants on what you need to reach your goals and build a sustainable business, get in my free class! 👇

free webinar

4. Pick a Date

The brain loves a good deadline. 🧠 So, it’s helpful to set both long-term and short-term timelines within your goals.

For example, if your goal is to build a successful and sustainable business that frees you from the 9-5 grind, give yourself a 3-5 year timeline.

You’ll also want to give yourself a shorter timeline. For example, I teach budding and struggling entrepreneurs how to plan and set up everything they need in their first 60-90 days.

how to set long-term goals in business timeline

Putting in that hard work up front helps build the necessary skills and practical system that will allow you to free up your time to prioritize your goals.

5. Learn the Skills Your Goal Requires

Sometimes a lack of knowledge is the only thing standing between you and your goal. If you want to learn how to set long-term goals, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and learn new skills.

Before a marathoner learned how to run for hours without stopping, they learned the basics of jogging. And just like an athlete, before a successful website owner learned how to blog for money, they hit the pavement and learned how to create a content marketing strategy.

To achieve a goal, you’ll need to possess the necessary abilities. 💪

Say your goal is to increase overall brand awareness for your business. You’ll need:

  1. Research what skills are needed to increase brand awareness
  2. Teach yourself those skills (or enough of the basics to learn who to delegate to)

Whatever your goal, taking the time to research and learn the needed skills is incredibly important.

6. Create (+Document) a Repeatable System

To prioritize goals, you need a method. So, clear your schedule and plan out exactly how you’re going to meet your long-term goals.

This is often the most overlooked tip for how to set long-term goals, and that’s a crime.

Because on the journey to hitting your goals, everything you’ve learned and are willing to do will be lost if you don’t have a repeatable system in place. That’s key. 🔑

7. Re-evaluate + Refine Consistently

Finally, make reviewing your goals part of your process. Pick a date in your calendar where you’ll revisit your core values and how they relate to your goals for yourself. Then, refine from there.

long-term goal setting - refine phase

During your evaluation, remember to concentrate on what’s impactful and say no to distractions. This is how you’ll drill down what truly matters, and explore new investment and brand opportunities, like writing a book to establish authority.

So, How Do You Achieve Long-Term Success?

Tell me… 🙋 How do YOU go about setting long- AND short-term goals?

Has that been working for you?

Deep down, you’re probably craving long-term impact.

If you’re a creative entrepreneur who’s ready for more out of life, I can be your mentor. Through my live coaching, I’ll show you how to get out of your own way and build a process for your business in 90 days. And then, I’ll teach you how to create and reach your long-term goals with a 5-year plan for REAL impact.

You get access to a proven blueprint for both short-term and long-term success from a creator and coach who has been there, done that. (When I was 19 years old, I went all-in on my goals and business idea and made a 13,000% ROI ten years later. I want the same for you, too! And I know it’s more than possible — we’re in the greatest digital era of our time.)

I know first-hand that if you’re trying to build a business, you need to do more than just set long-term goals.

You need a system in place that includes a sustainable business model. One that doesn’t drain your time and energy. A system that frees you to focus on daily habits that act as building blocks to your most audacious goals.

If you’re there mentally but just not quite sure why you can’t break through to the next level and live the life you’ve been imagining in your mind for years, then you need my coaching program. Apply for a spot in The Content Transformation© System today.

serious business owner

how to set long-term goals

About Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy is an entrepreneur, author, and a leading strategist around creating exceptional content that leads to real growth. At 19 years old, she used her last $75 to build a 7-figure agency, Express Writers. In 2021, she successfully exited her agency. Today, she runs The Content Hacker where she ghostwrites books for industry leaders, and coaches creative entrepreneurs on how to build a self-sustaining business they love in 90 days so they are finally freed up to create lasting legacy and generational impact.

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