Setting Long-Term Goals You Can Achieve

Posted on 19 February, 2018 by solineurs in Personal Development

Setting Long-Term Goals You Can Achieve, In the last two posts ( you can revisit them here & here), we redefined our example desires to look like the following:

  1. To fall in love, get married and have children.
  2. To have a career or job that you love doing.
  3. To own your own home.

These are perfectly fine for desires, but unfortunately, some of them are a little too vague to work as goals. So, you need to know the difference between something that you set as a goal and something that is simply a desire that you have.


For something to be a goal, it needs to fit the S.M.A.R.T. acronym.


So, let’s examine the acronym in detail and try to come up with some goals for our example desires. Obviously, your job is to do the same with the list of 3-5 desires that you made. Our first desire is:

  1. To fall in love, get married and have children.

So, right away we see that there is a problem with this goal. Falling in love, getting married and having children all as one goal is far from specific. For one thing, how would you know when you have reached the goal? Is it when you fall in love? Is it when you get married? What about when you have children and how many children before you consider it “reached?”

So, we obviously need to redefine this to fit our acronym. Since you have very little control over whether or not you will fall in love, let’s make it something that you actually do have control over. How about something like this instead?

  1. To be in a financial, emotional and physical condition to be ready to fall in love.

This is obviously better, but it still fails the “Specific” test. So, let’s break it up into three goals.

  • To be financially stable

Better. But now, it fails the “Measurable” test because we have no idea what that means. What is financially stable for me could be something drastically different from what your definition is. So, we need to make it something that we can actually measure. For example:

  • To be making $2500 a month before taxes and have $10,000 in savings.

Much, much better. Now, we have a specific and measurable goal. We’ll know if we have achieved that goal or not. The third part of the acronym is “Achievable.”  So, is an income of $2500 a month before taxes and $10K in savings achievable? That depends upon your own personal situation. If you are collecting disability and do not have the ability to work, that’s going to put a damper on your plan to make $2500 a month, not to mention the amount in savings. But let’s assume for the sake of this example that it is achievable.

The next part of the acronym is “Results-Focused.” This means that you are measuring the end result and not the act of getting there. So, to be making $2500 a month and have $10,000 in savings passes this test. An example of a goal that would fail the “Results-Focused” test is:

  • To be working towards making $2500 a month and $10,000 in savings.

See the difference? Finally, our last marker is “Time-Sensitive.” That means that you put a clock on it. So, let’s say that you change your goal to this:

  • To be making $2500 a month before taxes and have $10,000 in savings by December 31st, about five years from today. (You can choose whatever period you want, as long as you give yourself a reasonable amount of time to get there.)


So, let’s rewrite our list of goals so that they all pass the S.M.A.R.T. Test.

GOALS by December 31st, (Approximately 5 years from today)

  1. To be making $2500 a month before taxes and have $10,000 in savings. (Financially prepared to have a family)
  2. To be willing and able to commit to a long-term relationship. (Emotionally prepared to have a family)
  3. To weigh 180 pounds or less. (Physically prepared to have a family)
  4. To have been working in the desired occupation for 1 year or more (Have a career that you love doing)
  5. To have a credit score of 700 or above and have $10,000 in savings for a down payment on a house. (To own your own home)


So, now you have a list of goals that all pass the S.M.A.R.T. Test and you know what you are working for. Notice that you also have a timeline for these goals – you are working towards achieving all of them by December 31st, 2023. You now have a destination in mind and a time frame to get there. These are your long-term goals. Write them down on a big piece of poster board and tack them up to the wall in your living room or home office, somewhere where you can see them every day.

Check out the series from the beginning

1- How to Clearly Define Your Desires

2- How to Conquer Your Fears & Discover Yourself