Common goals in life include getting married, finding your passion, getting fit, and achieving financial stability.
Before you set your goals, take note of a few important steps you can take to help you to reach these important life accomplishments:
- Write down your goals – Writing down your goals makes you more likely to achieve them than simply thinking about them.
- Get specific – The best way to do this is to use the SMART Goals framework which ensures you aren’t fluffing around!
- Set milestones – Future goals are often 10 years out or more. To ensure you’re on track, set medium- and even short-term goals that are stepping stones toward meeting your long-term goals.
- Take action – Measure your success by how much action you take, not necessarily how many milestones you hit. Taking action every day will ensure you’re always progressing.
List of the Best Goals for the Future
1. Health and Wellness
- Reach or maintain a healthy weight
- Still fit into my wedding dress at 50
- Walk across the USA
- Hike Mt. Everest
- Run a marathon when I’m 45
- Have a six pack at 50
- Go surfing 3 days a week, forever!
- Always have an active gym membership
- Overcome a chronic condition you have
- Meditate daily
- Only have to work 3 days a week by 40
- Laugh and be happy every day
- Keep a health diary every day for 10 years
2. Personal Goals
- Maintain a close friendship group
- Raise a happy, healthy family
- Get married by 30
- Give a TED Talk
- Give a speech at a Toastmasters event
- Invent something and get a trademark
- Have kids by 35
- Move to my dream town
- Learn a new language and speak it to fluency
- Break a world record
- Build my own house
- Finally discover spirituality or find “God”
- Win a gold medal
3. Career Goals
- Get a job that earns above the average American wage
- Get a job in a fortune 500 company
- Become a partner in my firm
- Become a manager in my business (see also: goals for managers)
- Start my own business as a consultant
- Become a professor and teach the knowledge I gained in my career
- Get a masters degree (see also: long-term goals for students)
- Get into a leadership position in my company
- Become a recognized thought leader in my industry
- Invent something that helps people in my industry
- Become an elected official
- Pay off my debts
- Pay off my mortgage
- Have a 6-month emergency fund
- Save up over $10,000
- Become a millionaire
- Sell my business
- Always tithe 10% of my income to my Church
- Be well-off enough that my partner doesn’t have to work
- Retire by the time I’m 55
- Pay off all my debts
5. Experience-Based Goals
- Travel across Europe
- Take a safari in Africa
- See a black rhino in the wild
- Watch the sunrise once a week
- See the northern lights
- Hike the PCT
- See my favorite band in concert
- Attend a Superbowl
- See all the wonders of the world
- Go skiing in Canada
6. Legacy Goals
- Be able to pay for my children’s college
- Pass on a trust fund for my children
- Leave my town a better place than I found it
- Change someone’s life through my job
- Offset my lifetime’s worth of carbon emissions
- Write an autobiography
- Change a law you disagree with
- Donate all my money to charity
- Be a long-term mentor for 15 people
My Top 6 Examples of Future Goals
1. A Close and Lasting Friendship Group
Many successful, high-earning individuals report feeling lonely and empty even though they’ve achieved great things, just because they don’t have anyone they can share them with.
You don’t have to focus on just finding a romantic partner. Instead, you can look for ways to start or even strengthen existing friendships and family ties.
And what do you know? This can make you feel happier and more satisfied than a huge promotion.
That said, a huge part of having healthy relationships is establishing boundaries with people who don’t help your growth. You have the right to, and should, say no sometimes.
2. Finding Your Passion and Making a Career Out of It
Chasing your passion and monetizing it doesn’t have to be just a dream. You can find ways to make a niche interest a marketable wage earner for yourself, and in the age of the internet, it’s never been easier.
Things like starting a blog or YouTube channel can help you with that.
Just keep in mind that you will have to work hard for it. Just because you like what you do doesn’t mean it’ll necessarily come easy to you or work out as a career choice right away.
You’ll have to put together tools and resources to make your career path for yourself, and that itself will take some trial and error. Be patient and trust the process while also having a plan B, C, and D if you need to!
3. A Healthy and Stress-Free Life
Stress is one of the major markers of today’s ultra-competitive world. You’re always surrounded by stimuli that can send your mind and body into overdrive.
Some of us develop less-than-ideal coping mechanisms to stress, like avoidant behavior and catastrophizing, which make the problem worse.
Stress can also cause some physical illnesses in the long term, which is something you need to avoid at all costs. So keeping a roster of healthy ways to deal with stress is super important.
Healthy coping mechanisms to take the edge off stress include but aren’t limited to:
- Talking your problems out with a friend or a therapist.
- Learning to face your problems without blowing them out of proportion.
- Participating in an activity or picking up a hobby in your free time.
4. Leaving Bad Habits Behind
There are some habits that could hinder your personal growth without you noticing them at first. Things like over or under-eating as well as compulsive shopping (the so-called “retail therapy”), can prevent you from realizing your personal and professional goals.
Aside from taking a considerable amount of your earnings and potentially ruining your health, they can also be crutches you lean on instead of working on your personal development.
Bad habits can stem from unresolved issues you faced as a child that turned into soothing behaviors in adulthood.
Getting to the bottom of this and working on it can save you a lot of trouble in the future and propel you forward on your journey to being a better person.
5. Physical and Mental Health
Just as you’ll kick some bad habits, you can also strive to gain new, sustainable, good habits to boost both your physical and mental well-being.
Starting a 10-minute workout daily, walking instead of getting a ride somewhere, and watching the nutritional value of what you eat can hugely benefit your physical health in the long run. They’re also sustainable goals you can carry on no matter what your financial situation is.
On the mental health front, be open and honest with yourself about any symptoms you might be having. If you have a family history of any particular mental illness, seek professional help that can detect a budding problem when it’s still easy to control.
A thing that works for many people is journaling to track their thoughts and feelings, as well as their progress in any field they choose. This can also help you keep a log of ideas you can implement in the future when the time is right.
6. Financial Stability
Achieving financial stability has to be one of the more important goals on this list. You’re never too young to have a clear path for your career as well as a retirement plan that you can start working on as soon as possible.
Financial stability can also mean eliminating or minimizing debt, investing in becoming a homeowner, and working toward a specific career goal that can support your lifestyle. All of this can be a great motivator to drive your career and personal relationships forward.
The aforementioned goals for your future are capable of providing a roadmap for you to follow and plan out your life to achieve anything you set your mind to.
You don’t have to have every detail worked out for you to have a clear idea of where you want to be 5, 10, or 20 years from now. This should be enough for you to work on your career, personal relationships, as well as your physical and mental well-being.
Just keep in mind that it’s never too late to start planning your career or too early to start planning your retirement.
It’s a shame that not many people will understand the importance of being prepared for the curveballs life will throw. However, living in fear of what might happen is never a good idea.
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.