There was a time when I thought creating a five year plan was unnecessary. Then I turned thirty and realized that in the past five years my life had changed drastically. With just a little planning, I can steer the direction of my life, and truly live the life I have imagined.
It’s not every day that one decides to write a five year plan, so creating the plan can seem like a daunting task. Luckily, I help organizations develop three to five year strategic plans for a living, so I have a basis for developing a long term individual plan.
I took many of the principles and strategies I would use in strategic planning and applied them to creating an individual five year plan, and voila! Plan complete. No, creating a five year plan is not as simple as sitting down and two hours later plan achieved. Instead, creating any effective long term plan takes self-reflection, as well as input from others. You need to determine how the past five years could have been better with a long term plan, and what the next five years will look like if you follow through with your five year plan.
How To Create A Five Year Plan
First I sat down to determine my why, Why do I want to create a five year plan? As I stated above, I want to steer the next five years of my life, but I also have some very specific goals like getting out of debt and creating a balanced life. That little bit of reflection answered the question of What I hope to achieve by creating a long term plan.
Then I took the time to delve deep and did a personal SWOT analysis. I wrote down what I though were my strengths, weaknesses, skills for opportunity, and how I am a threat to my own success. Furthermore, I gathered SWOT information from people around me because it can be difficult to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses, others may feel differently about what opportunities you are missing. This feedback proved invaluable in goal creation, as well as what areas in my life I chose to further develop. I decided to focus on developing my weaknesses through opportunity, and nurturing my strengths while not allowing threats to dampen my potential.
After reflection, I was able to create both short term and long SMART goals for my five year plan. Then, I created a chart to layout those goals, and assign each specific goal a time frame. Lastly, I printed the plan, and put it in my Inkwell Press planner, which is where I am keeping track of these goals.
Tracking My Five Year Plan
Let’s take a moment to talk about the The Inkwell Planner. This planner and planning system is geared toward goal success. The planner not only has space to write yearly goals, but also a quarterly and monthly breakdown for achieving said goals. I did research to determine if there were other better options out there, but the Inkwell Press liveWell planner system is just the best.
Lastly, I set up an accountability system, and started my five year plan November 1st, 2017. This process gave me so much focus and purpose that I want to share with you all, so I created a five year plan template that goes into more detail and will help guide you in creating a five year plan. The template can be downloaded here, or by clicking the graphic above.