4 Steps to Building a Successful Five Year Plan

There are so many smart and hard-working people in the world.  How is it that some people find more success in the world?  I am sure there are several reasons, but one similarity I see in most successful people is that successful people set goals and make plans to succeed.  Although these people may make it look easy, the truth is that their success was planned and has been hard work.  One of the resolutions I am making this year is to build and work towards a five-year plan.  Making a five-year plan is crucial so that I can look back and ensure I am working towards those goals constantly.  Below are 4 steps to building a successful five-year plan that I have found to help.

Steps to Create a 5 Year PlanStep One: Take a Moment

As you begin to build your plan, meditate or take some quiet time to envision what your life will look like in five years if everything went your way.  Ask yourself questions like the ones listed below to really delve into your ideal life.

  • What am I doing for work?
  • What do I do in my free time?
  • Where am I living?
  • Who are the important people in my life?
  • How do I feel?
  • Where do I sit financially?
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What am I successful in doing?
  • What is making me most happy?

Step Two: The Big Picture

Use the answers to these questions to write out your “big picture”.  This will be the overarching theme of your plan to be as detailed as possible of what you would like your life to be like in five years.  Use positive language and do not let your mind wander to what could go wrong or what could stop you from achieving this life.5 year Plan Life

Step Three: The Nitty Gritty

Once you have created your “big picture”, it is time to start making these actionable goals by placing goals in categories that are easier to digest and apply S.M.A.R.T goals to each category.  When it becomes overwhelming, remember to refer back to the “big picture” for inspiration on what you are aiming for in life.  Below is a list of categories that you may want to include.  This is not a full list as everyone’s will be different based on their ideal so use this as a good start, but do not be afraid to add or get rid of any of these categories that do not fit your plan.

  • Career: Include what you are working on, who you are working with, management style you would want if you are a leader, salary range and how you would like to be managed.  Knowing what hours you work and your days off will also help you construct your plan.
  • Education: Have you completed a degree, continuing education, class or workshop in your future life?
  • Financial: This is a big one!  What is your credit score?  How much do you have in savings?  Do you have a 401K or retirement savings?  Are you saving for a down payment for a home or car?  Maybe you have already saved for those things.  Financial burdens can be taxing so spend a lot of time on this topic.
  • Family: In your “big picture” were you married, a parent or did you have a framily (friend family).  How much time do you spend with extended family?  I always feel that the best part of life is who you spend your time with so thinking ahead helps put priorities in the right places.
  • Health: In your ideal world were you in shape?  Were your heart and body healthy?  How often do your exercise?
  • Living Arrangements: Where you live is such a big part of your day-to-day life.  Have you moved in the five years?  Have you bought your first home or will this plan help you achieve that goal?  Are you in a new town and if so what town?  What is your backyard like?  If you are moving to achieve these goals, find what you need here.
  • Giving Back: What do you do to give back to your community?  Who are you passionate about helping?

Once these topics have been completely thought through, apply actionable goals to each of these categories.  Make sure to include a reasonable time frame on each smaller goal so you can hold yourself accountable.

Step Four: Check Back

Do not forget the plan!  The reason you take the time to create these goals and write them down is so you have it at the forefront of your mind.  Big goals like buying your first home or getting healthy do not happen overnight or if they are forgotten.  To be successful you need to live your goals everyday!  Read through your five-year plan once a month and create a smaller list of the most urgent goals based on time frame completed goal is due or length of time to complete the goal.

With a detailed plan and the drive to achieve the plan, you can succeed at your goals.  If you use these steps I know you will create a successful five-year plan.

What is your biggest goal for the next five years? Share it with us in the comments section below!