Your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have.
– Paul Arden
I truly believe that you can become anyone you want to be in the next five years.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in all my personal development work I’ve done is that you are either growing or not growing. And by not growing, I mean stagnating (at best) or declining (at worst).
Five years ago, I was practicing as an attorney. I had massive student loan debt. I didn’t have a blog or make any money online. I was single. No dogs, no kids.
So I started listening to podcasts and reading books about money and personal development.
Then, I decided to start a blog.
I worked and worked and worked—testing different strategies and learning along the way. I made a ton of mistakes and failures.
But, this really cool thing happened.
I designed my future from my future and am now living my five year plan.
It didn’t happen exactly how I thought it would, but that’s normal. The how always changes. The outcome doesn’t.
What I want you to know, is you can create your five year plan right now and turn it into a reality.
- Related: Planning Your Year On Purpose (podcast)
Why You Need To Create A Five Year Plan
If you don’t come up with a five year plan, you won’t be moving toward who you want to become or getting what you want in life.
This is a really big deal.
You will literally stay right where you are today. You’ll repeat the past. You’ll have more of the same.
For example, someone will say to me, “in five years, I want to settle down, get married, and have kids.”
I’ll say back, “are you becoming the type of person who has that life right now? Are you practicing thinking and feeling like someone who has that result? Do you have short term goals? How about other long term goals?”
The answer is always no.
We think that over time, we’ll automatically become the person we want to become or get the things we want just by time passing.
But that’s not true.
And that’s at best.
At worst, we don’t even dream at all.
We’re too busy and overwhelmed in our lives to think about what it is we want in our futures.
You have to intentionally decide, commit, and take action to become the person you want to be in the future.
Otherwise, you will be exactly where you are right now, five years from now.
How To Create A Five Year Plan
Here’s the step by step process to create a five year plan.
Step 1: Imagine everything you want five years from now and write it down.
Get super clear about all the details of what you want for the next five years.
The key is to write and write and write without thinking or judging. Get out a pen or open a Word doc and get writing.
I like to use the 8 life categories for this:
- Personal/spiritual/religious development
When you write what you want your life to look like five years from now, be as detailed as possible.
What are you wearing? Where are you living? What kind of car do you drive? What kind of job do you have? How much money do you have? What is your health like? What is your family life like? And what city do you live in? What kind of spouse are you? What kind of mom or dad are you? And what kind of personality do you have?
Do a complete brainstorm and write down all the things you want five years from now. You don’t have to have the skills or experience to set impossible goals.
Go BIG. You have nothing to lose by dreaming big. This is the time to get it all on paper.
Step 2: Ignore fear, doubt, and the “how”.
If you have any negative emotion come up during this process, that’s totally normal.
The key is to not make it mean anything.
If you feel like there’s no way you can do what you wrote down, ignore it.
If you think you have no clue how to make it happen, ignore it.
Being afraid, doubting yourself, and not knowing how are not good reasons not to pursue your five year plan.
We get into trouble when we think that feeling scared or having doubts means something.
Nothing has meaning until you give it meaning.
It feels uncomfortable to change. That is normal. Don’t let it stop you.
You are 100% worthy of creating your five year plan and getting that result—whether you believe it or not, this is true. You are worthy of it. Get out of your own way.
Step 3: Journal as if you’re the person who has the results you want.
Once you have the end goal of where you want to be five years from now, your destination is set.
Now, it’s time to create a road map.
The first way to do this, to reach your goals—even before you set the goals—is to get your mindset right.
The way you get your mindset right for creating a five year plan is to practice becoming that person ahead of time.
The way you become the person ahead of time is that you start to think and feel like the person who has the result you want five years from now.
I suggest doing this through journaling every morning and/or evening.
Write as if you’re the person who has the results you want. Answer these two questions:
- What does the person you want to become in five years think about?
- What does the person you want to become in five years feel on a regular basis (top three emotions)?
When you’re doing this exercise, imagine you’re that person. Let your mind (thoughts) and body (feelings) go to the place of being that person.
It’s through being this person ahead of time that you’ll create the results you want in your life.
I felt like I was a six figure blogger long before I ever saw it in the bank account. I became that person ahead of time. This led to me taking actions as if I was that person already. And the right actions lead to the results.
When you think and feel like the person you want to become, you will take action like that person, and get the result(s) you want.
Step 4: Start consuming media as if you’re the person you want to be five years from now.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes we want to want something instead of actually going after getting it?
For example, someone will say they want to get married and have kids, but they’ll spend time following all these parody account about being single. They live as a single person who intends to stay that way.
It’s so interesting.
What I’m challenging you to do is to start living as the person who has the result you want already.
This includes media.
Go through all your social media accounts, podcast subscriptions, TV recordings, etc. and remove anything that doesn’t support who you are becoming in your five year plan.
Start adding in books, podcasts, TV shows, and social media accounts to follow that support who you are becoming five years from now.
In the example above, that person might follow relationship and marriage accounts on Instagram instead of sarcastic accounts about being single.
Media is such a huge part of our lives and compounded every day over time, it will influence how you think and feel.
Your personal goal should be to do whatever you can to create an environment that supports you becoming the person you want to be. When you become that person ahead of time, you’ll take action as if you’re that person and see the results manifest in your life.
Step 5: Set a one year goal to move you toward your five year plan.
This step is where you can get practical.
Take any area that you want to work on for the next year and set a one year goal to accomplish it.
For example, you might say that you want to be married with two kids and running a six figure business in five years.
Create a one year goal out of that five year plan. For example, you might decide to focus on creating and growing your business this year so you can quit your full time job. Next year, you might plan to focus on having a baby.
You can have more than one goal at a time (although I don’t recommend it), but you can only have one main goal. There must be a hierarchy so you can know what to prioritize when there’s a conflict between the two (because there will be).
When you create a one year goal that moves you toward your five year plan, you are putting into action what you want in your future.
This will be so much easier as you continue to practice Step 3 above and journal as the person you are becoming.
Step 6: Take massive action until you get the result you want.
Once you know where you’re going and you start setting goals, you’ll either be excited or terrified, but you’ll definitely have a plan.
After you start to take action, you’ll have some hiccups (this I know for sure).
What I’m encouraging you to do is to not make obstacles and failures mean anything about your ability to get what you want in the future. Say you want a new, more fulfilling job. Go on several job interviews to expand your interview capabilities and comfort levels. You won’t get every job. And that’s okay. Don’t let your failures mean anything about you. Fail forward, learn from them, and move forward.
If you haven’t listened to my massive action podcast, listen to it here.
Most people will take a little bit of action, encounter some obstacles, make the roadblocks mean something negative, then quit.
Don’t do this.
Stay committed to the end result no matter what.
It’s your willingness to experience negative emotion and overcome obstacles that gets you the result you want most.
Commit to taking action until you get the result.
A Final Note
Without knowing where I was going, I wouldn’t be debt free, married, have two dogs, and a little baby boy, and live in a dream vacation town. This all came from my mindset and vision for the future. And that, my friend, is available to you, too.