WHY CREATE A FIVE-YEAR PLAN?
Life keeps us busy. Unless you are really aware of what you want in life, it is easy to get bogged down with the day to day routine, and the bigger things just get tackled as they come up (if they come up at all) and you forget about your goals. You just end up somewhere, whether you wanted to be there or not…
Without plans, we tend to live our lives in a REACTIVE way. By creating a plan, we can change our mindset and routine to become PROACTIVE, regain control, and take back our lives!
Here are a couple of questions to chew on to reflect on what I mean when it comes to your life:
- When you look back to 5 years ago – where did you think you’d be right now?
- Are you where you wanted to be now from 5 years ago?
- Do you even know where you wanted to be 5 years ago?
THE BENEFITS OF A FIVE-YEAR PLAN
- It creates focus on what your priorities are
- It helps you say no to things that won’t help you reach your goals, eliminating obstacles
- It shows you where you need to change things, so you don’t end up overwhelmed and unable to achieve your goals
- It gives you motivation to get where you want to go.
- It helps you track each year: whether you are on track, need to change tracks or adjust the track to reaching your goals if the current one is not working
- Allows you to do some forward planning so that even when life situations unexpectedly arise that put a hitch in your plans, you are able to keep calm, adjust and continue down the right track
- You’re more likely to achieve what you want if you are planning to get there
HOW TO CREATE A 5 YEAR PLAN
Five years is a good amount of time to realistically envision ad set achievable goals. It’s not too far in the distance, but still far enough to accomplish big things!
Start by backward planning. This is a technique that I have learned from years of teaching. It’s a technique that works. You can use it in all aspects of life—curriculum planning, goal setting, business planning etc. (We will go into greater depth on this in our Hustle Like a Boss section), but essentially, backwards planning means looking at the big picture first to envision what your overarching ultimate goal is and then working backwards to set smaller targets and measurable goals that need to be achieved along the way that will lead up to accomplishing the ultimate goal in realistic and manageable steps.
So, onto the steps…
STEP ONE – VISUALIZE YOUR GOALS
Be as detailed as you possibly can. Be realistic with your goals, but also, dream a little–you would be surprised about how much you can truly accomplish in a five-year span if you take the time to invest in a plan and stick with it!
- Make a list. You can use my Backward Planning Your Way to Your Dream Life worksheet to get you started.
- Create a visual. You can create a virtual board using Pinterest to pin images that inspire you and reflect your goals and PowerPoint to create a picture grid or collage. You can also create a physical vision board using magazines cutouts, catalogue images and photos.
VISION BOARD TIPS:
- Creating a physical picture helps you identify what’s really important to you.
- Creating vision boards can help you plan for all types of projects and goals. You can create one large board, or multiple specific boards. Boards can be created for anything from fitness motivation, to wedding plans to redecorating a house.
- Visualizing the end result you are aiming for can help you begin to take the steps required to get there.
- Putting your vision board somewhere you can see EVERYDAY will remind you of what you are working toward and what you need to do to get there.
STEP TWO – SET SMALLER MANAGEABLE GOALS ALONG THE WAY
Now that you have set your overarching goals, you need to break them down into the smaller, more manageable steps that you need to achieve first in order to reach
- Use my Year by Year Plan Sheet to get you started.
- As you work, look at the Backward Planning Your Way to Your Dream Life sheet that you created first to work out the steps you need to take and when you need to accomplish them by to get to where you want to be. Some goals may have specific timelines or be dependent on others, so plan accordingly.
- Be as specific as possible, and break your goals into the smallest tasks possible (Smaller tasks are easier to accomplish and can more easily fit into your schedule. Planning large tasks can become so overwhelming that it’s easy to give up and so time consuming and unmanageable that they will almost always be pushed aside once day to day life takes over).
- Lastly – add in a timeline for each task so that you get things done within those 5 years – and then ADD THESE DATES TO YOUR PLANNER (See some of our favorite planners here). Only scheduled things get done in life – NEVER leave to a TO DO list undone!
You can go even further and set monthly, weekly, and daily tasks. This will show you what is realistically possible with you schedule and identify where there may be issues.
STEP Three-RECOGNIZE THAT THINGS CAN CHANGE…
NOTHING IS SET IN STONE.
What you think you want in 5 years now may completely change by this time next year. Things may come up that mean you have to adjust your course. Life happens.
BUT DON’T GIVE UP! Adjust the course, make new goals, and, if needed, adapt your long-term goals to fit your life.
Your 5-year plan is not the end-all-be-all, there is wiggle room. You may have to put some plans on hold only for a few years, or shift your expectations, but keeping track of your 5-year plan will help you keep your focus on what’s important.
STEP FOUR-SYNC YOUR PLANS WITH YOUR PARTNER’S
You can’t plan for your life without considering those you share it with.
If you have a life partner, spouse, significant other, (even a best friend who can serve as your accountability partner and keep you on track) etc.; share your plans and goals with them. If you and your partner are not on the same page you won’t both be able to accomplish what you want, which will make one person’s accomplishments less enjoyable and may even cause resentment. Planning for your future should be exciting, but planning TOGETHER is even more exciting and can bring you closer together. By planning together, you are there to support, encourage, and help each other to accomplish the goals on each other’s lists AND create a stronger, joint life plan.
STEP FIVE-ENJOY THE JOURNEY!
The most important parts of your 5-year plan are the experiences you gain along the way and your own personal growth. Revisit your goals often, make sure you are staying on track and celebrate your successes as they come!