We’ve all visualized our perfect future selves at some point in our lives. For some, it has to do with reaching their professional goals or creating a more financially stable environment. For others, it means improving relationships and skills, overcoming certain challenges, or ensuring personal growth. In other words, the goals we set for ourselves depend on which aspect of our life we’re looking to improve. While setting goals is a vital first step, many of us don’t really take action to actually make them happen. This is where a five-year plan may come in handy.
Other than being a visual representation of what you’re striving to achieve in the next half a decade, a five-year plan is also a practical tool as it helps break your goals down into actionable steps. If you’re thinking of making a five-year plan, here are four important things to consider in the process.
The first thing you want to do when putting together your five-year plan is brainstorm what you want from life. First, decide whether you’re going to focus on one area of your life or several areas. Think of the things you draw inspiration from, and list as many ideas and goals as possible.
Perhaps you’re looking to start a business and want to help it stand out from the crowd. Maybe you’re looking to buy a house and need to get your finances in order. Or, you might be planning on expanding your family and want to make sure you’re prepared for this big step. Whatever your goals are for the upcoming years, make sure you have a clear picture in your head. Be detailed, let yourself dream a bit, but keep your plan realistic for the most part.
Once you’re clear on what you’re looking to achieve in the next half-decade, let’s focus on how you’ll do it. Depending on the nature of your goal, you want to take enough time to do thorough research on the process.
Let’s say you and your partner are planning on becoming parents and want to ensure your future child’s health. Sometimes, that will involve steps such as choosing a reputable company such as Americord cord blood bank where they can store their little one’s stem cells for potential future medical use. Other times, this will involve consulting with experienced professionals while also gathering information from credible sources. The same goes for reaching goals in other areas of your life, whether they have to do with your personal health and development, relationships, career, or finances.
After gathering as much information as possible during your research, you can now use it to set smaller, manageable goals. Start by breaking down your long-term goals into annual benchmarks.
For example, let’s say you’re looking to move and have a baby in the upcoming years. Your goal may be to prepare your home for sale in the first year, and move out the following year. The third year may be all about budgeting and saving so you can leave work in the fourth year. Year five – you’re on your maternity leave without financial worries, planning to return to work by the end of it. This is just one example of how you can break down your five-year plan into smaller, more manageable chunks. Of course, you can be even more detailed and set goals for each month of each year.
A five-year plan is not something that’s set in stone. Things change, and people do too. What you wanted to achieve five years from now may turn out to be something completely different by the time the second year rolls around. You may achieve certain goals sooner than expected, such as those centered around weight loss or building an emergency fund. Or, you may realize you need more than five years to get where you want to be.
This is why it’s important to remain flexible after making your five-year plan. Revisit it from time to time, making necessary changes and adjustments along the way. Remember, change is the only constant in life. While you should rely on your plan for focus and direction, it should be adjusted to fit your current lifestyle.
When done right, a five-year plan can be a helpful tool for achieving personal and professional goals. Take these things into consideration as you plan for your future self, and you’ll be well on your way to getting where you want to be in life.