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There are two types of goals – long-term goals and short-term goals.

Short term goals need to be very specific. They should follow a SMARTER format.

Long-term goals, can be vaguer. Be aware though that the more specific the goal, the easier it will be to meet.

What are Long-Term Goals?

I’m going to be honest with you: I’m terrible at long-term planning. The future? I don’t know. I don’t wanna know. I’ll figure that out later. This doesn’t mean I don’t have long-term goals, though. 

Some areas of long-term goal planning can be loose or vague. However, most parts should be specific. Long-term goals don’t mean you have to set your life in stone. What they mean is that you can make short-term choices that move you in the direction you think you want to go in. If you change your mind, there’s no real harm done.

Health & fitness is one area of your life that shouldn’t be vague. Why not? Because there’s no end to healthy living. You’ll always be involved in your health. There’s no sitting back and coasting on some kind of health passive income (I wish). When you set a long-term health and fitness goal it needs to be specific because “be healthy” is a shit goal.

For example, I’m focused on performing 12 proper reps of each of the 6 functional exercises. I’m a long way off, but I have no idea how long this will take so there’s no date on my long-term goal. It’s vague enough to allow me to do whatever needs to be done, but specific enough to drive forward short-term goals.

Your short-term goals will be highly results-oriented. This means your long-term goals can focus more on developing healthy habits and behaviors.

SMARTER Goal Setting Template

So you’re in, you’re going to start setting SMARTER goals. But, where do you start? Here’s a template you can use to set SMARTER goals. Fill in as much or as little detail as you need in each column and then work it into the sentence.

Want more information? Learn about SMART Goal Setting.

What Kind of Life Goals Can I Set?

You can set life goals for anything. If it’s going to take you longer than a year, it’s a long term goal and you should break it into several short term goals.

Reminder: Short-term goals should always be SMARTER (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely, evaluate, redo/reward).

Adventure Travel Goals

Travel somewhere awe-inspiring for an adventure trip. You can start with small fitness goals to get yourself into great health (and shape) to really enjoy the trip.

Long Term Goal Template: I will _{adventure}_ by travelling to _{where}_ in _date/# years_.

Long-Term Goal Example: I will hike Machu Picchu by travelling to Peru in 3 years.

Short Term SMARTER Goals Example:

The Great Bear Rainforest

British Columbia, Canada

The area that the Great Bear Rainforest covers on a map

The Great Bear Rainforest is an area (about the size of Ireland) of pristine wilderness along Canada’s west coast.

What to do at the Great Bear Rainforest?

  • Kayak part of the 400km of coastline – maybe see some whales.
  • Take guided hikes through the rainforest and see a wide variety of wildlife. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a Kermode bear (locally known as the Spirit Bear).
  • For the very adventurous, heli-hike to the peak of a mountain.

Want to learn more? Check out the BC Government WebsiteOutpost MagazineThe Culture Trip or Lonely Planet for more information about planning a trip to the Great Bear Rainforest.

Les Gorges du Verdon

Alpes de Haute Provence, France

View from the top of the Verdon Gorge.

Often called the most beautiful river in Europe, the Verdon Gorge is a 25 kilometer long river canyon.

What’s there to do?

  • Hike one of the many trails along the rim
  • Kayaking, Whitewater rafting and more on the river
  • Climb one of over 1500 routes up the walls

Want to learn more? Check out Matador NetworkLonely Planet or Provence Web for more information about planning a trip to the Verdon Gorge.

Mount Everest

Nepal or Tibet

The view from Mount Everest

Everest is the worlds tallest mountain.  Over 600 people a year reach the summit.

What’s there to do?

  • Climb it!

Want to learn more? Check out Mount EverestNational GeographicForbes or the NY Timesfor more information about planning a trip to Everest.

Milford Track

Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

A bunch of seals on a rock in Milford Sound, New Zealand

The Milford Track is a 53.5 km (33 mile) walk. It’s known as the finest walk in the world.

What’s there to see?

  • New Zealand’s tallest waterfall
  • Spectacular valleys
  • Breathtaking rivers
  • Glacier-carved fiords

Want to learn more? Check out In a Far Away Land or New Zealand for more information about planning a trip to the Milford Track.

Zambezi River

Africa (Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique)

An elephant bathing in the Zambezi River

The Zambezi River is the 4th longest river in Africa. It flows through 6 countries (Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique).

What’s there to do?

  • See Victoria Falls
  • Water sports (whitewater rafting, kayaking, etc.,)
  • Spot Wildlife

Want to learn more? Check out ViatorVictoria Falls Guide or CNN for more information about planning a trip to the Zambezi River.

Machu Picchu

Cusco, Peru

On the ground at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is the site of an ancient city located high in the Andes mountains.

What’s there to do?

  • Hike & Explore

Want to learn more? Check out Peru HopNational GeographicLonely Planet, or The Only Peru Guide for more information about planning a trip to Machu Picchu.

Life Goal: Try Something New

Not all life goals are huge – goals don’t have to need a lot of planning or money. Your goal could simply be to try something new.

Long Term Goal Template: I will _{do something}_ by _date/# years_.

Long-Term Goal Example: I will learn to cook French cuisine by learning all 100 of Julia Child’s favorite recipes (as determined by Food Republic) in 30 months.

Short Term SMARTER Goals Example:

More Try Something New Goal Ideas

  •  Buy and cook that unknown vegetable.
  • Explore somewhere nearby. Get in your car and drive 30 minutes then just walk around that area for a few hours. Bonus points if instead of driving somewhere you get on a random bus and see where it takes you. Remember to still walk around a new area for a few hours.
  • Try a new sport – this is something you could do every time the seasons change.
  • Take a dance or cooking class
  • Try an extreme sport – bungee jumping, skydiving, etc.,

Challenging Fitness & Health Goals

Some fitness & health goals will take a long time to complete. What one person can do in a few months, might take someone else a year (or better).  Here are some challenging fitness goals that could be short or long term, depending on where you’re starting from.

Long Term Goal Template: I will _{do something}_ by _date/# years_.

Long-Term Goal Example: I will be able to complete 12 reps of each functional movement exercise. I will work steadily towards this, but don’t know how long it will/should take.

Short Term SMARTER Goals Example:

Function Fitness – 12 reps each

A woman at the bottom of a squat.

Functional movements are ones you do regularly as part of life. Exercises that directly help with those movements are referred to as functional exercises. There are 6 different movement patterns we engage in. A goal might be to master 12 reps of an exercise from each movement. Here’s an example of each:

Squatting – Squats

I would almost bet you money that you’ve used the squat movement several times today. Almost, because maybe you’re not out of bed yet, I don’t know you.

Squatting is something we do all the time – fully and partially.

Check out the benefits of squats (and get a 30 day challenge that will make you a squat master).

Lunging – Lunges

Lunges are functional for when we’re out and about and changing directions. Anyone who interacts with kids has definitely done a quick lunge and pivot when chasing one. Even if you don’t have kids (like me) you probably use lunge-movements pretty regularly without realizing.

Check out the benefits of lunges (and why you should be doing different types).

Hinging – Deadlifts

A person setting up to do a deadlift

The hinge movement strengthens the muscles in the back of your body (your posterior chain) which includes the glutes, hamstrings and the large muscles of the back.

Check out the benefits of deadlifts (and how to do them properly).

Pushing – Push Ups

I use a pushing movement all the time. It’s a lot of work pushing people away. Oh wait..

Check out the benefits of pushups.

Pulling – Pull Ups

A woman at the start of a pullup

Pushing and pulling go together like yin and yang.

Learn more about the benefits of pull-ups.

Rotating – Russian Twists

Another motion we do all the time: rotating our bodies. We twist to grab things, to see behind us, and in a variety of other situations.

Check out the ultimate ab workout which includes Russian Twists.

Do an Endurance Event

Marathon, Ironman, Spartan, etc.,

A marathon mile thirteen marker

You can’t just decide today to do your first endurance event tomorrow. They require training, preparation, steps.

Most people start with a 5 (or 10) k run. Then a half marathon. Then a marathon. With plenty of training time in between each. Then they might move on to another endurance event.

To learn more about endurance events, check out these 10 endurance challenges by Livestrongand this interview with Sean Conway by Red Bull.

Do a 30-meter (100-foot) Walking Handstand

A man doing a handstand in the middle of the road

This is one of those goals that you can break up. WOD Prep has a great Handstand Progression – consider each progression to be its own short-term goal.

Develop a Hot Body

Brad Pitt in Fight Club

I’m talking Brad Pitt in Fight Club for the men, or Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider for the women.

Even if you’re not particularly attracted to either of them, you have to admit that they’re rocking some sexy bodies.

Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider

I wish I looked as good as Tomb Raider Angelina Jolie.  And I dream that every man I f!@# in the future will look half as good as Fight Club Brad Pitt.

Fantasies? Only one of them. I could work hard using a series of short-term goals to get myself an Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider body. It would be hard and it wouldn’t happen overnight, but it’s possible.

Do Front and/or Side Splits

I’ll let you in on my secret goal that I never actually work on – I’d love to be able to do front splits. Now I feel like I have to do it. Fack.

A girl doing the splits in the middle of the road holding sunflowers

Front and/or side splits are a solid goal. They’re like the ultimate sign of flexibility. Most people will have a far, far easier time with one than the other. I can get pretty far into a side split (when I’m doing semi-regular yoga, I can do a side split) but I’m nowhere near a front split. Ever. I’m actually laughing at the idea of it.

This post by Antranik is a great progress journey that ends with a bunch of links to various splits routines. Check it out if you’re interested in trying to accomplish the splits.

More Fitness & Health Goal Examples

There are an endless number of health and fitness goals you could set for yourself. Let’s take a look at a couple additional examples of short-term health and fitness goals you could have.

Goal Area: Weight Loss

If you’re looking to lose weight, the Keto diet is a popular choice. The keto diet is all about carbs – you’ll eat very few of them if you choose this diet. Not sure Keto is for you? Check out a comparison of 13 popular diets.

Goal Area: Weight Loss

The Paleo diet is a popular lifestyle choice that’s all about eating as our ancestors did. Most people consider it to be a low-carb diet because you won’t be eating grains. Not sure Paleo is for you? Check out a comparison of 13 popular diets.

Goal Area: Walking

Not all goals are extreme. Maybe you live a very sedentary lifestyle and you need to just walk more. It’s okay to set a walking goal!

Goal Area: Paleo Eating

Paleo is a popular diet and lifestyle. It’s about eating like people did many, many years ago (before the agricultural revolution). Check out this post about the Paleo diet for more information. Not sure if Paleo is for you? Check out a comparison of 13 popular diets.

Call A Friend

What are your life goals? Are you forcing your family to take part? Got a friend to nail it with you? A friend or family member can be helpful because they’ll offer you a support system (and keep you accountable).

Nobody interested in the same goals as you?  Let This Bitch (& the community here) be your support system.

Share your goals & update us with how you’re doing in the comments below! We’d love to hear about it.

Achieve the Life You Want

SMARTER goal examples PIN

Once you get used to having life goals and achieving them, it’s almost addictive. You feel this huge sense of success whenever you accomplish something. People without goals, miss out on that.

Start setting SMARTER goals. Start getting what you really want.

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