If you have a dream or a set of goals in life, it can be beneficial to develop a five-year plan. Even if you don’t know what your goals are just yet, a five-year plan can keep you focused, motivated, and inspired to better yourself. Below are some tips for creating the ideal five-year plan.
Imagine What You Want
Depending on where you are in life, it’s a good idea to start your plan by literally writing out what you want for yourself in the next five years. To make this process easier, try creating a list of categories:
- Personal development
- Societal contributions
Once you’ve generated your list, imagine yourself in each category five years from now and how you want to feel. For example, where will you be living? How much money do you have? What city or country are you living in? What is your health like? By imagining everything you want in the next five years, you can start the process of making a detailed plan. And don’t be afraid to dream big, either. The sky is the limit!
List the Things That Motivate You
Figuring out what to put into your five-year plan also involves writing out your motivations. Aside from simply wanting a solid career and financial stability, really think about what lights a fire inside. What are you passionate about? What inspires you? Figuring out what motivates you means you can start to build your plan around these interests by identifying any relevant skills and experience you might have.
Identify Your Skills and Experience
Generating a five-year plan also requires you to be realistic. You’ll need to identify what your skills and experience are and how they can move you forward. Write out all the skills that you currently possess and break these into categories, too. This could include career-specific skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills, leadership skills, transferable skills, and so on. The key is to be pragmatic and to figure out what you’ve done and what you still need to do.
For example, if your aim is to build a career in computer technology, you may need additional training, such as an online masters computer engineering degree. By listing out what you’ve done so far and what you need to achieve your goal, it can help you refine your plan.
Learn About Your Goals
Depending on what your goals are, it’s worth getting to know them. Whether it’s a particular organisation, industry, or job role, intimate knowledge of the goal will take you far. For instance, if your goal is a specific role, find out what’s required in terms of education, job experience, etc.
Alternatively, if one of your goals is to be financially stable, research everything you need to do to get there. This includes evaluating your current finances, learning about savings, investments, and how to budget accordingly.
Write Down the Stages
Once you’ve gone through and identified your goals, it’s important to create a roadmap. By this point, you’ll have evaluated what you want, what your skills are, and what you need to fill in the gaps. However, this information can become overwhelming, especially once you’ve broken your goals into categories.
To make your five-year plan achievable and less daunting, start by prioritising. Figure out which things might take longer or are more urgent in the short term. After you’ve created some kind of order, try to create realistic timelines around your actions. For example, if you are returning to school, figure out how you can achieve x, y, and z at the same time. You could even write down the actions you need to take on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. The key is to not over-commit and to make your list attainable.
Set Yourself an Initial One Year Goal
If you’ve got a lot that you want to achieve, another practical step is to create a mini-plan to push you towards your goals. In other words, generate a one-year plan out of your five-year plan. While it’s ok to have a few goals, it’s preferable if you stick to one main goal and work steadily towards it over 12 months. Too many goals can make you feel scattered and less productive. The point of this exercise is to get you into the habit of practically moving forward.
Don’t Give in to Doubt
Last but not least, don’t succumb to doubt. As you write out your aspirations and what you need to achieve them, you may start to doubt yourself. Those thoughts at the back of your mind might question whether your dreams are achievable. However, it’s important to ignore that voice in your head and trust yourself. Anything is possible with the right tools and determination. Don’t limit your dreams or your abilities.