10-year goals are generally considered long-term goals. This means that they should be some of your bigger-picture ambitions for your life.
These goals could represent your hopes and dreams over the next decade for your career, relationships, family, personal ambitions, travel, finances, or anything else you truly desire and are fundamental to your core value set.
Generally, after identifying these 10-year future goals, I recommend creating shorter milestones, like 5-year goals and even short-term goals that align with your 10-year vision and will help give you the motivation to get there.
But for now, let’s think big. Have a browse through the following examples and pick out one or two goals that really resonate with you. Then, scroll to the end of the list to get your SMART Goals Template that will help you to build out your plan to go after your life’s ambitions.
10-Year Goals Examples
1. Leadership Position: Attain a senior executive role, such as C-suite or director-level, in your field within a decade by consistently showing exceptional performance and fostering strong alliances with key personnel (for more, read about leadership goals here).
2. Expertise Recognition: Be recognized as an industry expert, invited as a keynote speaker at major professional events or contributing regular editorials to prominent industry publications, achieved within the 10-year period.
3. Professional Change: Pivot to a different, more fulfilling industry over the decade by undertaking further studies, engaging in related volunteer work, or starting from entry-level roles in the desired field.
4. Business Expansion: If you started a business, aim to expand it internationally or across multiple cities (For example, a locally successful restaurant owner might aspire to franchise his business in different states.)
5. Significant Contribution: Make a substantial contribution to the organization or the industry as a whole through conceptualizing and implementing a game-changing initiative or strategy that alters the status quo by the end of the 10-year period.
6. Skill Mastery: Develop a comprehensive grasp of a highly specialized skill set, such as project management or data analysis, with examples like earning a Six Sigma Black Belt certification or mastering coding languages like Python and R.
7. Influence Decision-Making: Strive to influence major decisions in your organization over a decade. This means having your opinions considered seriously by decision-makers, reflecting the high regard they hold for your expertise and perspective.
8. Equity Stake: Aim for creating an equity stake in the business you work for, subscribing to the startup culture where employees often have shares or options.
9. Entrepreneurship: Embark on an entrepreneurial journey. This could involve leaving your current employment situation and starting your own venture, whether it’s a brick and mortar shop, an e-commerce platform, or a tech startup.
10. Job Satisfaction: Attain work-life balance and job satisfaction within a decade. This could include the ability to work remotely, flexible hours, or achieving a balance between your professional and personal development.
11. Networking: Build an extensive professional network that includes mentors, industry leaders, peers, and younger professionals within a decade.
12. Intellectual Property: Develop a novel piece of technology, a novel process, or a replicable business system that secures a patent within ten years.
13. Social Impact: Create or be a part of substantial social impact projects through your career in a decade. For instance, a software developer might aim to create applications that improve the quality of life for disabled people.
14. Higher Education: Aspire to achieve a higher level of education, such as a master’s degree or a doctorate, that is relevant to your career path within a decade.
15. Financial Stability: Aim for financial stability and set a 10-year target for savings, investments, or even a retirement fund.
See Also: Long-Term Career Goals Examples
16. Cohabitation: Aim to live together for a few years within the decade to understand each other’s routines, habits, and coping mechanisms (For example, learning how each of you deals with household chores or bill payments).
17. Marriage: If you are currently dating or engaged, set a goal to get married and form a legally recognized union within this 10-year period.
18. Building a Family: If you’re in a committed partnership, consider expanding your family by having or adopting kids within a decade, only if it aligns with both partners’ desires.
19. Mutual Respect: Work towards cultivating an environment of mutual respect, where each individual values the other’s perspectives, feelings and choices, throughout the decade.
20. Emotional Understanding: Strive for deep emotional understanding where each partner is adept at identifying the other’s emotional needs and providing comfort or stability as needed.
21. Financial Stability: Pool your resources towards achieving a specific financial goal within a decade. This could be buying a house, making a significant investment, or even starting a business together.
22. Traditions: Create personal traditions that cater to your collective interests, such as annual camping trips or visiting a particular place on each anniversary (For example, visiting the place where the proposal was made every anniversary).
23. Conflict Resolution: Develop efficient methods to resolve disagreements or conflicts that consider each other’s feelings and the goal of finding a positive resolution.
24. Shared Goals: Have a list of shared objectives, such as traveling to a specific number of countries together, completing a marathon, or learning a new language over tie next decade.
25. Decade-long Commitment: Aim to stay committed to each other, consistently making efforts to improve the quality of your relationship throughout the ten-year span.
26. Celebration of Milestones: Celebrate major milestones together such as anniversaries, career accomplishments, or any other significant achievements.
27. Advocate Equality: Define and maintain a partnership where both parties enjoy equal rights and privileges, advocating equality in all decisions, chores, and responsibilities.
28. Clear Communication: Maintain clear communication lines throughout the 10 years, making sure each partner feels heard and understood in every conversation. (See more Communication Goals Examples Here)
29. Personal Growth: Encourage each other’s personal growth, whether it’s learning new skills, pursuing hobbies or advancing in careers.
30. Unwavering Support: Provide unwavering support for each other, irrespective of the situation, pointing out positives, providing constructive criticism, and lifting up whenever needed.
31. Revenue Streams: Diversify your revenue streams over the decade by exploring opportunities such as investment portfolios, real estate, or starting your own side business.
32. Retirement Planning: Invest and save wisely to fortify your retirement fund and aim for a specific amount by the end of the decade.
33. Debt Clearance: Zero out any outstanding debts, including student loans, mortgages, or credit card bills, within the next 10 years.
34. Home Ownership: If you don’t already own, set a goal to purchase your own house within the decade.
35. Savings Account: Build a substantial savings account, buffering for emergencies or unexpected expenses. For example, aim to save a year’s worth of living expenses.
36. Investment Mastery: Master the art of investing, learning the intricacies of stock market, mutual funds, or cryptocurrency within a decade.
37. Child’s Education Fund: If you have kids or plan to, start building a solid education fund for them within the next 10 years.
38. Charitable Contributions: Set a goal to regularly donate a set percentage of your income to causes you care about, growing to a significant amount over a decade.
39. Insurance Coverage: Lock in comprehensive insurance coverage that includes health, life, and possibly disability insurance within this period.
40. Financial Literacy: Educate yourself in financial literacy, mastering budgeting, investing, reading financial documents, and understanding tax laws.
41. Passive Income: Develop passive income sources that generate a certain amount each year, like rental income from a second property or profits from a low-involvement business.
42. Estate Planning: Plan your estate within this period, including making a will and arranging for assets distribution.
43. College Fund: If it’s applicable, set a goal to fully fund your children’s college fees within this period.
44. Financial Independence: Reach a state where your investments, savings, and passive income can cover your living expenses, making you financially independent.
45. Business Ownership: If you have entrepreneurial aspirations, aim to own a profitable, self-sustaining business within the next 10 years.
46. Global Travel: Aim to visit every continent or a certain number of countries within the next decade (For instance, consider visiting all the countries in Europe).
47. Skill Acquisition: Learn a new skill that you’ve always found interesting, such as playing a musical instrument, coding, painting or scuba diving, by the end of the decade.
48. Fluency in a Foreign Language: Choose a foreign language and attain fluency in it by studying intensively for the next 10 years.
49. Home Ownership: Achieve the dream of owning your own home, defined by your own terms. It doesn’t have to be a mansion; it could be a cozy cabin in the woods or a small city apartment.
50. Book Authorship: Fulfill your dream of writing and publishing a book, whether it’s your life story, a novel, or a non-fiction piece.
51. Physical Fitness: Work towards a specific fitness goal, like running a marathon, achieving a certain body weight, or mastering a tough yoga pose in this 10-year span.
52. Culinary Skills: Become a pro at making your favorite cuisine. Set a goal to learn and perfect 100 recipes within the decade.
53. Learn Survival Skills: Spend the next 10 years learning and practicing survival skills such as building a fire, identifying edible plants, basic medical care, and so forth.
54. Master a Game: Be it chess, poker, or the latest video game, make a personal goal to achieve mastery level over the next decade.
55. High-altitude Trek: Add completing a high-altitude, long-distance trek, like Machu Picchu or Kilimanjaro, to your 10-year vision.
56. Animal Rescue: If you’re an animal lover, aim to organize or participate in rescue missions for abandoned or injured animals.
57. Sustainable Living: Commit to a goal of sustainable living, reducing your carbon footprint by using renewable resources, going vegan or minimizing use of plastics.
58. Tradition Initiation: Begin your own tradition or event, like an annual neighborhood block party or a family gathering on a specific day each year.
59. Docuseries Completion: Choose a genre you love and commit to watch all the classics or critically acclaimed films/series in that genre in a decade.
60. Mindful Living: Incorporate mindfulness into your lifestyle. Commit to meditating daily or practicing mindful exercises to reduce stress and enjoy a mindful life over the next decade.
See Also: Long-Term Personal Goals Examples
61. Undergraduate Degree: If you have not yet achieved this milestone, set a goal to earn your bachelor’s degree within the next 10 years.
62. Master’s Degree: Consider pursuing a master’s degree that aligns with your career path or personal interest within the next decade.
63. Doctorate Degree: If you aspire to a high level of expertise in a specific field, set a goal to complete a PhD within this 10-year span.
64. Certification Courses: Aim to complete certification courses relevant to your profession or interest. For example, Project Management Professional (PMP) certification for project managers or CompTIA Security+ for IT professionals.
65. Foreign Language Proficiency: Target achieving proficiency in a foreign language through formal education or language immersion programs over the next 10 years.
66. Thought Leadership: Strive to publish research papers or articles in prestigious journals or magazines, contributing new ideas or insights to your field of study.
67. Vocational Training: If academically-focused education isn’t for you, aim to complete vocational or trade school training. This could be anything from HVAC repair to culinary arts.
68. Professional Networking: Utilize educational settings to build a robust network of professionals in your field.
69. Teaching: If you are passionate about your field, consider making an impact by teaching or becoming a guest lecturer at an institution within a decade. (For more, see: goals for teachers).
70. Continuing Education: Engage in lifelong learning by committing to taking at least one continuing education course every year for the next 10 years. This can range from advanced courses in your field to expanding your repertoire with varied subjects of interest.
71. Study Abroad: Plan for a study abroad program to diversify your educational experience and gain exposure to different cultures, teaching styles, and points of view.
72. Internship or Co-op: Especially for current students or young professionals, aim to secure internships or co-op positions in companies that align with career goals. These ‘real-world’ experiences can be invaluable educational tools (see also: a list of internship goals).
73. Scholarships or Grants: Strive to earn scholarships or grants, either to ease the financial burden of your education or as recognition of your skill, talents, or academic prowess.
74. Library Exceptionalism: Make regular use of libraries over the next 10 years and try to read a specific number of important books, journals, or papers related to your field.
75. Leadership in School Activities: If you are in a school or college, aim to lead an extracurricular activity or a club in the next decade.
See Also: Long-Term Goals for Students
76. Business Expansion: Grow your business to serve a broader geographic region, such as expanding nationally or internationally within the next decade.
77. Market Domination: Aspire to dominate the market in your industry sector by becoming the top-selling, most recommended, or otherwise highest-rated entity.
78. Unique Offering: Develop or patent a unique product, service or process that sets your business apart from the competition and increases its value proposition.
79. Revenue Increase: Aim to increase your company’s revenue by a specific percentage or amount by the end of the decade.
80. New Venture: If you have an entrepreneurial mind, consider starting a new business aligned with evolving market trends and demands.
81. Customer Service Excellence: Undertake initiatives to improve your business’s customer service, aiming for recognition for excellent customer service in your industry in the next 10 years.
82. Community Involvement: Leverage your business to contribute to your community, like funding local education initiatives or reducing environmental impact.
83. Sustainable Operations: Transform your business to operate sustainably, minimizing its environmental footprint and incorporating green practices into operations.
84. Team Building: Cultivate a talented and committed team that supports your business’s vision and contributes significantly to its growth.
85. Automation of Processes: Implement automation of manual processes using technological advancements, improving productivity and reducing operational costs.
86. Workplace Culture: Create a positive and empowering workplace culture that promotes creativity, inclusivity, and employee satisfaction.
87. Net Worth: Aim to grow your company’s net worth to a specific valuation within a decade.
88. Strategic Partnerships: Build strategic partnerships or alliances with other businesses that can leverage mutual growth and market reach.
89. Industry Authority: Strive to become an authoritative figure in your industry, invited as a speaker for industry events, or contributing to industry trends and regulations.
90. Public Listing: If you own a private company, set the goal of preparing your business for an initial public offering (IPO) on the stock exchange within a decade.
91. Weight Management: Aim to reach and maintain your ideal weight within a decade, focusing on a healthy lifestyle rather than short-term diets.
92. Marathon: Train to participate in, and successfully complete, a marathon within the next 10 years.
93. Strength Training: Develop a consistent strength training routine with a goal to be able to lift a specific amount of weight by the end of the decade.
94. Flexibility: Increase your flexibility by incorporating regular yoga or Pilates practice into your fitness routine, with a target to achieve challenging poses in 10 years.
95. Mental Well-being: Integrate mind-body workouts like yoga, tai chi, or mindful walking into your routine for improved mental health.
96. Triathlon: Train to complete a triathlon. This challenging goal requires training in swimming, cycling, and long-distance running.
97. Routine Exercise: Aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day, making physical activity a consistent habit over the next decade.
98. Body Fat Percentage: Set a goal to reduce your body fat percentage to a healthy range and maintain it through balanced diet and regular exercise.
99. Health Indicators: Aim to improve your health indicators – blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar levels, resting heart rate – to optimal levels within a decade.
100. Sports Proficiency: Choose a sport you enjoy, such as tennis or basketball, and aim to perfect your skills and possibly compete in amateur leagues or tournaments within 10 years.
101. Personal Trainer Certification: If you are passionate about fitness, consider becoming a certified personal trainer within the next decade, helping others achieve their fitness goals while meeting your own.
Make them 10-Year SMART Goals!
Once you’ve selected your 10-year vision from the list above, it’s time to flesh it out by turning it into a SMART goal (Doran, 1981).
This is a framework that helps you refine and fully explain your goal, which research finds makes you more likely to stick to the goal you set and achieve success (Milne, Orbell & Sheeran, 2002).
Here’s what the S.M.A.R.T. acronym stands for:
- Specific: Be specific in order to ensure you are very clear about what success looks like.
- Measurable: Ensure that you can measure progress so you know when you’ve obtained success.
- Achievable: Make sure the goal can be achieved – but remember, for longer-term goals, set your sights high. You can achieve more than you think!
- Relevant: Select goals that are relevant to you, your family, your personality, and your overall life goals.
- Time-Based: Obviously, your end-goal will be a decade from now. But do you have milestones along the way – say, every two years, where you can assess your progress?
To help you to create your SMART Goals, I’ve provided this template that you can save, edit, and print:
Davis, W. D., Mero, N., & Goodman, J. M. (2007). The interactive effects of goal orientation and accountability on task performance. Human Performance, 20(1), 1-21. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/08959280709336926
Daw, N. D. (2015). Of goals and habits. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(45), 13749-13750. doi: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1518488112
Doran, G. T. (1981). There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives. Journal of Management Studies, 70-75.
Latham G.P., Locke E.A. (2018) Goal Setting Theory. In The SAGE Encyclopedia of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. London: SAGE.
Milne, S., Orbell, S., and Sheeran, P. (2002). Combining Motivational and Volitional Interventions to Promote Exercise Participation: Protection Motivation Theory and Implementation Intentions, British Journal of Health Psychology, 7(2): 163–184. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1348/135910702169420
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]