Two of the principles of my blog are “Creating Ecosystems of Success” and “Long-Term Thinking and Delayed Gratification”. A key to being successful is looking into the future, setting goals and planning the steps towards achieving those goals. The following contributed post is thus entitled; Your Five-Year Plan.
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Do you often find yourself just going through the motions of your life, without any clear goals or targets? Just living life day to day, without purpose or focus? Many of us do. Then, a few years down the line, we look back at what we’ve achieved and find that nothing has changed. We still have debts, we still live in the same place, our relationship hasn’t developed or grown, we’re no closer to getting what we really want from our life, and our career has stalled.
Well, this happens when we don’t have a plan. You’re never going to hit your goals if you don’t have any. You get one life, you should be making the most of it. A five-year master plan can help you to do this. Five years is a great period of time. A lot can change in five years. Think about who you were five years ago, what you enjoyed doing, who your friends were. Now, look at your life today. In five years, we grow, we change, we start to enjoy different things, we meet a lot of people. You might eat differently, look after yourself more or less, and even go to bed at a different time. Five years is long enough to make massive changes and achieve a lot, but not too long that you can’t look ahead with focus and determination. So, here’s a look at how to create a five-year master plan to help you to develop and get what you want from life, as well as some ideas of things that you should include.
The Benefits of a Five-Year Plan
If you are the kind of person that just lives day to day, you might not see the point of a five-year plan. But, it can have some definite benefits. It gives you focus. Instead of a general idea of what you want to do with your life, you’ll have clear and well-defined goals for all areas. Five-years means that you’ve still got time to be spontaneous and do what you want, as long as you get back to your plan and continue working towards your aims. It also helps you to prioritize, to stay on track, to keep motivated and to say no to things that would take you off course.
Merely sitting down and writing goals forces you to think about what you want and reflect on your choices so far. You are also statistically more likely to achieve things if you’ve written them down. Something about writing down a target makes it real and gives you a greater focus to achieve it.
How to Create One
Sit down and think about your life so far. Think about what your dreams were when you were younger, and if you still want the same things now. Then, write yourself a Wishlist. Think of your ultimate goals and dreams, no matter how outlandish they might seem. Write them all down. Even those that might take longer than five years to achieve.
Then, ask yourself why you want these things? Will hitting these goals make you happy or improve your quality of life? Try to picture your life if you reach these targets? Take some time to imagine your ideal life. Now, look at your list again, do you need to add or remove anything?
Now you’ve got the what’s and the why’s. It’s time to think about the how’s. This is potentially the most crucial part of your master plan. Without plans, your goals are vague and unreachable. Ask yourself what you can do to meet your targets, or to get significantly closer to them. Write these down too. Now, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might want to include.
Money is often a big part of our future plans, and your goals might depend heavily on your current financial situation and what you want from your future. If you need to borrow to help you achieve other goals, this is the website to help. If you need to save, or pay off debts, work out how much you need to save each year.
You might have something specific that you’d like to achieve financially, perhaps saving enough to start a business, or to buy a house. Or, you might want to improve your credit score and pay off your debts. Five years is long enough to make massive changes to your financial situation. Think about your goals and take the time to make a household budget to match.
Your relationships will also depend on where you are now and what you want in the future. If you are in a relationship, marriage and children might be in your near future. If not, you might want to think about meeting the right person and starting down the road to settling down.
Wherever you are romantically, there will be other relationships that you need to nurture. Make giving your friendships plenty of love and attention a goal. You might also want to rekindle old relationships, mend family feuds or meet new friends and expand your circle.
Your career is a big one. Getting your career right can improve your financial situation and allow you to take more time for your relationships. Do you have any burning ambitions? Do you want to start your own business, or would you like to dive into a career change? If you are happy where you are now, you might just want to aim for a promotion or try to learn more about your industry to become more confident at work.
Health and Fitness
Our health is something we often neglect when making plans for the future. Especially when we are young and healthy. But, it shouldn’t be. Your health and fitness are essential to a happy and long life. But, your goals don’t need to be huge. They might just be to carry on what you are doing or to make small improvements to your diet. Think about small, realistic changes that you can make that will improve your health and fitness.
Break it Down
Now you’ve got your five-year targets, you should think about breaking them down. A five-year master plan is fantastic, but it can be hard to stay focused when something is so far away. So, break it down and make plans for the year ahead. Thin about what you can do in the next 12 months to help you to reach your goals.