In recent years, increased attention has been directed towards the importance of identifying the future goals of people with intellectual disability (ID) and promoting their abilities to design their future. Consistent with these, the first aim of this study is to investigate the future goals of people with ID in terms of content and temporal distance. Moreover, the second aim of this study is to test the predictive role of self-determination on the number of future goals reported by people with ID. In this study, 96 young adults with ID were involved and a mixed method design was chosen. Specifically, qualitative procedures (consensual qualitative analyses) and quantitative procedures (structural equation modelling) were carried out. The results showed that the future goals of people with ID are characterised by different factors related to autonomy, health/well-being, interpersonal relations and personal growth. Moreover, self-determination (assessed with Self-Determination Questionnaire-Version for Adults) predicts a higher number of future goals reported by people with ID. These results suggest the importance of providing adequate support to the development of self-determination. © 2019 MENCAP and International Association of the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.