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How to create a 5 year plan

how to create a 5 year planDo you have a 5 year plan?

Are you where you wanted to be now from 5 years ago?

Do you even know where you wanted to be 5 years ago?

Most people will answer no to these questions, as most of us get bogged down with the day to day routine of life, and the bigger things just get tackled as and when they come up.

We may suddenly need to move house – as we have outgrown our current one. Maybe a child has come along which has forced our hand – it wasn’t in the plan to move, we hadn’t though that far ahead, and now its tricky as we may not have enough deposit to get what we need.

We are being reactive rather than proactive.

There is another way though.

Whats are the benefits of a 5 year plan?

Creating a 5 year plan (or 10 year or however long you prefer to look ahead!) – can pay dividends for where you end up after that time.

It can help create focus and direction – and give you motivation to get to where you want to get to.

You will always have things that crop up unexpectedly – but on the whole, the major life changes and the smaller ones too, can be tracked and achieved with some forward planning.

It just makes sense to plan as you then are much more likely to achieve what you want.

How do you create a 5 year plan

5 years is a good amount of time to look at at a high level – as its not too far in the distance, but far enough for larger things to be achieved.

What I suggest is to get a picture in your head of the life you want to be living in 5 years time.

Ask yourself some questions (I always relate back to the 5 areas of life SMILE to ensure balanced plans) such as:-

    • Will I be in a relationship?
    • What will my social life be like?
    • Where will I live?
    • What will the division of housework be?
    • What will I be responsible for?
    • What will the family look like? (children / pets  / extended family etc…)
    • What do I want from my working life? Be my own boss, start a business, work for someone else, stay at home mum etc….
    • Where will the household income come from?
    • What will my free time involve?
    • Do I want to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill?
    • How will I look/feel?
    • Will I be doing things for others? Charity / Volunteering / Caring for others etc….

You get the idea!

I find that making this into a picture in your mind can really help to identify whats important to you – and one way of doing this is to literally create a physical picture!

If you have a pinterest account this is a great way to do it as you can pin any images from around the web that inspire you – and create your own virtual board. For an example heres a link to one of my boards that has my life bucket list on it – I add to it when I think of new things and always take a look when I want to be inspired.

Another way to do it is to simply cut and stick images from magazines and catalogues – use a large piece of card and get creative.

Once you have got your inspiration then you can clearly see where you are heading (NB this also helps with large projects on your TO DO list as it can pinpoint where you want to end up in anything, from redecorating the house to arranging a wedding).

(Why not stick the piece of paper somewhere you can see everyday – that way you will always see what you are working towards, and you will know when you get there as well!)

You now have a long term plan to aim for – and more clarity over whats important to you.

Please also note that this will really identify the priorities in your life as well – as you may think of loads of things you want to have achieved within the next 5 years – but some will clearly stick out as more important to you than others.

For instance – you may be a stay at home mum presently – and your 5 year plan may include going back to work, or even starting up your own business so that you can work from home and around the school run.

Or you may have put on weight over the past few years, and your 5 year goal is to lose a certain amount of weight and get fit again.

Or possibly you may want to have started a family, moved house, moved country, changed your current job etc….

The list really is endless – but your 5 year plan will probably have some big life changes within it.

Know that things change

Theres one last thing to note though – NOTHING IS SET IN STONE.

What you may want in 5 years now may completely change by next year – for instance you may not have wanted a family as yet, you may not even know your future partner – but things happen and you may meet someone and be married by next year – and your plans may now include starting a family sooner than you had previously thought.

Of course your long term plans will have to adapt to fit into your change of life.

What you want though is to have some sense of focus – you may have to put some plans on hold only for a few years, and change your expectations somewhat – but keeping a track of your 5 year plan will keep your focus on whats what.

Are your 5 year plans in sync?

Lastly – remember to share this with your partner if you have one – or anyone who you share your life with – as its important that your goals are complementary (no good you striving for living abroad in 5 years time if your husband is assuming you are going to be in the UK and has a career progression planned that means he can’t move elsewhere – you will never both achieve what you want and could cause resentment).

planning next 5 yearsIn summary…

Creating your 5 year plan (and sharing it with those closest to you) is the first step to achieving what you want from life – whatever it may be – have a go today and see where your imagination takes you – there are no limits and you may just surprise yourself with what you find yourself wanting – how exciting!

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