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How to create a 5-year plan

Have you ever been asked what your five-year plan is and just end up standing there with a blank expression on your face? Or a quick, “I don’t know” retort? Do you think you’re too young to be thinking about a five-year plan? Do you realise how fast five years goes by?

It never hurts to have some order in your life and a general idea on what direction you’re headed in. Especially if your memory and self-motivation skills aren’t reliable. Then knowing that your five-year plan’s scattered thoughts are in one physical place that you can refer to whenever you need to, you’ll probably feel a lot calmer about life.

And while one of the main disadvantages of having some sort of life plan is that of disappointment when you don’t reach your goal when you thought you would, you can’t be too hard on yourself if you know you tried and have done everything possible to get to there. Maybe the universe has something else in store for you. And it’s a good thing to go with what the universe says sometimes.

So, with all of that in mind. Let’s begin.

Changes

Take a moment to comprehend where you are in life and what’s currently missing from it. Okay, buy that KitKat and focus. What is missing in your life that will make you happier and more excited about a new day? Besides another chocolate.

What does your life look like five years from now? What will you have to change in order to get there?   

Personal goals

When you have an overall idea of your five-years-older self you can start setting some goals. Starting with personal goals.

Set some physical goals. Give yourself a goal weight, fitness level, event result or having a health and exercise routine. What about relationships? Single cat lady that never leaves the house or a social butterfly doing something different every other weekend and making a point of meeting new people?

Do you have bad habits that you’d like to be rid of in five years time? Like watching too much reality TV or smoking? Do you have new habits and hobbies you’d like to adopt? Drinking more water, learning another language or reading more are a few good ones.

Then you also need some fun, personal achievement goals. Pick a mountain to conquer, an adrenaline-junkie activity to do at least once and a holiday destination to visit. Excite yourself for the future you’re going to be living.

Financial goals

Think about the job you’re in right now. Can you see yourself doing the exact same thing five years down the line? No? Then what are you going to do about it? You need to think about where your career is heading, where you want to be at the end of it and how you want to get there. Consider the financial goals of the future you.

Think about where you want to be living in five years time and the lifestyle you’d like to lead. How much money are you going to need to earn in order to live your ideal life and can your current company provide that for you (one day)? If not, it’s time to start looking elsewhere for growth opportunities.

Family goals

Whether you already have a family of your own or are planning to start one in the next five years or so, it’s time to think about family goals. Do you want to have sufficient savings for your children’s education? Will you be looking into life insurance policies with African Unity Life (http://www.africanunity.co.za/) or medical aid policies that can cover all family members?

Have you thought about the kind of parent you want to be and how you want to raise your children? And how can you start preparing, today, for these family goals?

Put it in a list

Now that you have your goals it’s time to put them into a list of realistic “to-dos”. Form your goal categories and their subcategories – like, really be as specific as possible. Make sure you have due dates that state which year within the five years you’d like to achieve these things and order it out based on priority. You also need to have a “this will get me there” list within your goals categories to clearly define the how and not just the big picture.

It sounds like a lot, but organising it this way will ensure you don’t leave anything out and it’s a great system for ticking things off as you complete them (which makes you feel amazing about yourself, by the way).

Track and update

When you set your due dates, be realistic. If you’re wanting to complete a 110km cycling race but can barely make it through a spinning class, you’re going to need more than a few months to get yourself ready.

But keep track of your goals and, as mentioned earlier, tick off what has been accomplished. But it’s also important to update your plan as the time goes by. Opportunities are popping up all the time and if it changes what you want with your life in the short term – update your goals and rework your plan to achieve whatever it is you want.