Envision where your life will be in five years. Then dedicate yourself to making that vision come true, and you will stand right in the midst of your dream. But what type of plan will this vision take? How will you get there? Who will travel with you on this journey?
Work through the development of the plan carefully and purposely to see where it takes you. You’ll see that the planning can be almost as much fun as the actual journey.
Here’s how to create a 5 year plan for yourself:
1) Consider the ultimate dream for your life.
Whatever you are planning for the next five years will impact your ability to fulfill your ultimate plan for your life. Will you be progressing toward any OR all of your lifetime goals over the next five years?
2) Create a story of your life five years from now.
When thinking about how to create a 5 year plan for yourself, I encourage those that I work with to create a story line of their life five years from now.
Make the vision as real as possible in your head. Create smells and sounds in the story that make it more realistic. Make sure to include a holistic look at your life. What do you want to accomplish physically, mentally, spiritually, socially, financially and professionally? What do you want your home to look like?
In MY vision, I am sitting on my porch. The pole barn is standing in good repair. My father-in-law is doing some wood carving inside and I just barely see him there. The wind blows across my face as I look at the house that we built for my in-laws to live in (this is not currently in the process of being built but it is in the plan).
It is a cool autumn Saturday morning and I am sitting on our porch swing. My thoughts are reflecting on the year that is coming to a close. I am remembering the 25th anniversary trip to Hawaii that I took with my wife. I am smiling as I remember the expansion of the Gospel Rescue Mission where I work and the impact the new facilities are having on the lives of many.
Over the past several years, I have learned and taught many different Bible studies and am known in my community as a man of prayer. I look down at my cup of coffee and wonder how my youngest is doing during his first semester in college. That day, I talked to his older brother who is working hard and doing well in school. The oldest daughter has been traveling a lot this year, but is expected home for Christmas.
I breathe in the cool morning air and remember the joy I felt from finishing the local ultra marathon just a month prior. Soon, Veteran’s Day will be here. But I have no concerns about fitting into my dress blue uniform this year.
As I sit there, my wife comes and sits by me. We just sit silently, remembering all that we have experienced together over the past 25 years.
The song playing in the background for this scenario is a Mozart Concerto. There is more, but I think that you get the idea. Take your time and walk through that vision often. Vision is the key on how to create a 5 year plan and make it work.
3) Consider who will be with you and their life visions.
I have learned that it is important to share these visions with those that I want to be a part of my life. You see, they have a vote. This is a critical piece if you hope to have support and encouragement.
Often, these people know you best and can redirect you if you are thinking a little over optimistically. They might also be able to offer you input on how you might make those dreams come true. Having many eyes looking around for opportunity is a great help.
My mother, knowing my hopes and dreams for the homeless, often sends me articles and news stories that revolve around poverty issues. This is a great help. It also keeps me motivated.
4) Build road signs from here to there.
Last year, my family and I moved from the state of Washington to Oklahoma. Along the way, the various departments of transportation put up helpful signs to point out exits and mileage to the next several cities.
Each step of the way as I would read the signs, I would be encouraged to know I was going the correct way. But if one of those signs would have given me mileage to some city in Southern California, I would have known that I was off-track. Being lost, I could then decide to either change my destination, OR get back on track.
Your five year plan should be similar. Create that same sort of vision for six months or one year from now. These will be indicators if you are on track or not. For example: if your plan is to be a doctor five years from now, but when you look at your life a year from now you still have NOT begun work on your bachelor degree, you might need to redirect.
These road signs too, should include all areas of your life. Consider a song for each stage. My season on many of my road signs here is Crazy Train by Ozzie Osborne, as I ride a crazy pace to get things done the way I have always dreamed of them.
5) Be detailed on the next three months.
With all of the above in mind, what do you need to be doing over the next three months of your life to make it all come true? Here you need to be very detailed in all areas of your life.
For example: By the end of this three months, I will fix that light switch, cut down that tree that is in the way of the future building project, etc. These should be SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound).
Again, be balanced and include all areas of your life. You don’t want to push so hard to fulfill your dream then discover at the end that you are all alone without any of your loved ones.
6) Create a list of steps to accomplish these SMART goals.
Each of those SMART goals needs its own plan. How will you do this daily, weekly, or monthly to pull it off?
Knowing how to create a 5 year plan is critical. But it will all be just a fun exercise unless you go out and get started on pulling it all off. Do not wait to kick this off on the first Monday of next month. Do some portion of it right away.
I know that you want these dreams to come true, or you would NOT be reading this post. But action is critical. Do not delay. Live your five year plan and look for the results.