You must define what is "making a long distance relationship work." Do you mean it leads to a marriage or is it just a certain amount of time as in a year, two years, or three years...etc?
The vast majority of couples in long distance relationships have no timeline or plan for when they will be together permanently. Long distance relationships were meant to be (temporary).
The goal is to (be with) the person you love.
You can utilize all of the modern technology we have today; phone, text, email, Skype, and plan out visits where you take turns.
However a long distance relationship without “a light at the end of the tunnel” is likely to fail. Someone will throw in the towel at some point.
It’s the counting down the months, weeks, and days until you are finally (done) with the inconvenience of being in a long distance relationship that keeps it strong!
The only reason for being in a long distance relationship is the belief she or he might be “the one”. If you’re just "passing the time" with someone you might as well do that locally. One man's opinion! :)