How to Develop a Five-Year Plan

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A five-year plan is a roadmap or timeline of your life five years from now. This roadmap can include personal goals, or accomplishments you wish to achieve. By writing these goals down and assigning timeframes to these personal milestones, the chances of you accomplishing them increase significantly. A five year plan gives you the ability to play an active role in designing the type of life you want to be living in the not so distant future! So how do you get started putting one together? 


The best place to start when developing a five year plan is to jot down a list of things that are important to you, in several different categories. Start with the categories of career, relationships, travel, personal development, and overall life. Next, create an end goal in each of these sections and work backwards to figure out what steps you need to take within the five years to achieve your goals in each category. This may be overwhelming at first, but the more you break down larger goals, into small steps, the more you will begin to see how achievable your goals actually are!  Let's take a look at these five categories a little closer.


Career

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While we all want would love to have a dream career, realistically that doesn't always happen. However, there is no reason that you can't begin taking some actions today that can lead you down that path so that in five years, you find yourself in your ideal role. To begin planning the next five years of your career, start by thinking about what you truly enjoy doing and then figure out a way to monetize it. Research the career path of people you aspire to be like, and find out what steps they took to get there. A five-year plan is not only great for helping you stay on track, but will remind you of the steps you need to take to reach your goals. 


Relationships

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Knowing where you want to be relationship wise in five years is important, since relationships are probably one of the most impactful areas or our lives. If you're currently in a serious relationship, sitting down and developing a 5 year plan together is a great way to make sure that you both are on the same page about what you want out of the future. To see how your goals align, you and your partner can sit down and make separate five year plan's, and then compare each other's results to create a collaborative one. 


Travel

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Start by making a list of places you’ve always wanted to visit. Now it's time to figure out how to get there. If you have 10 places on your list, then in order to achieve that goal, you'll need to visit 2 places per year. You can then figure how long you can spend in each location based on how much time and money you can afford to spend. Take a look at your time off policy, and finances, then break down the total cost of each trip. By transferring a fixed monthly amount into a savings account dedicated towards traveling, you'll have exactly enough money as you need by the time the trip comes around. If you're limited by time or finances, begin thinking of some ways that you can either earn more money, or create more free time. 


Personal Development

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What do you wish you could improve about yourself? Do you know what your strengths and weaknesses are? What skills would be useful to you in the future? What hobbies would you like to develop? When you pause to ask yourself these questions, be sure that you reflect on yourself as a person and be honest. 


Life

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When you look at the current life you've built from all it's angles, are you happy with the results? In some areas, you may be very happy, and in other areas, you may feel the need to improve. Think about your life holistically from a standpoint of each of the categories above and base the developments you need to prioritize over the next five years off of that. What does your ideal self look like? It's a question that many people spend their entire lives trying to answer. If you find yourself needing some assistance with answering that question, working with a talk therapist is an effective way to help figure it out! 


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