How To Plan The Next Five Years Of Your Life
Most people will spend more time planning a one-off event than they will planning their life or creating a life plan.
This may include a vacation, a wedding, a birthday or anniversary celebration. Occasionally people will set New Year’s resolutions but they are often short-lived.
Rarely do most people plan their life in any significant detail. This suggests that our priorities are mixed up.
While having a plan for our lives may not be necessary, having one compared to not having one, will give us greater clarity and a higher probability that we will achieve what we want, or at least, get closer to where we want to be.
It’s better to have an idea of where we are heading than to just drift along in life, hoping we’ll somehow get to a better destination.
Having a plan for our lives can be our guiding post and help us make the right decisions to move us closer to where we want to be.
While there are different ways to create a five-year life plan, the ideas suggested here will cover most of the important aspects of a personal five-year plan.
1. The Big Picture
A great starting point when creating a five-year plan is to consider this scenario. Imagine you are talking to a close friend in five year’s time.
What would needed to have happened for you to feel great about where you are in life and the progress you have made?
As we plan out the next five years, three aspects we have to take into account are:
- Who do I want to be as a person?
- How do I want to relate to or with others?
- How do I want to grow or improve as a person?
The big picture will give us a clear direction of where we are heading and influence the decisions we make on a day-to-day basis.
2. Other Things to Consider as Part of the Big Picture
The clearer we are on the things important to us, the better we’ll be able to define them and work towards them.
Consider the following as well:
- What legacy do I want to leave behind? How do I want to be remembered?
- What do I believe is true as to why I am here now? What is my purpose or mission in life?
- What would my ideal life look like?
- What are my priorities or what matters most to me?
3. Assess Where You Currently Are in Relation to the Big Picture
This is about being honest with ourselves and evaluating how we’re actually doing right now.
Questions we can ask include:
- What’s currently working well?
- What’s not working well?
- What can I add, improve, enhance or remove?
4. The 12-Month Focus
Now that we have a clearer picture of who we want to be, what we want our life to look like and what we’d like to do, it’s time to zoom in and have a shorter focus.
Five years can seem like a long way out, so it’s beneficial to have a narrower focus.
Things to consider include:
- What goals do I want to set that will get me closer to where I want to be or what I want to achieve?
- What do I need to or want to learn?
- What skills do I want to develop?
- What improvements do I want to make to my mental, emotional and physical well-being?
- What changes or improvement do I want to make to my financial future?
- What are some fun things I want to do or places I want to travel to?
- What would I like to do to support my family or loved ones?
The key here is to start focusing on what we can do in a shorter time frame and set up systems to monitor, track and improve our progress towards our 12-month objectives.
5. Specific Commitments or Next Actions
Now that we know what we want and where we want to be, it’s time to start taking action. While it may be tempting to create a long To-Do list, it’s more valuable however, to take two to three actions daily to make progress.
Things to consider include:
- What action will I take or what commitment will I make to move me closer to my goals?
- Who can I reach out to for support, if I need it?
- How will I hold myself accountable so that I complete my actions and stay on track?
- What can I do if I start slowing down or get distracted by other things?
By taking the time to contemplate these questions, we’ll give ourselves a much better chance of getting to where we want to be in five years’ time. As we write out our answers, we’ll have a clear direction to aim towards, and not just rely on hope or luck to get to our desired destination.
Action Step: If you do not have a plan for the next five years, I encourage you to give yourself some time to reflect and create your five-year plan based on the ideas mentioned here. Feel free to add in anything else that is relevant to you, that wasn’t mentioned.
Question: What value or benefit do you see in creating a five-year plan?
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