Five years is a long time, and with every plan, there are always events that shape the plan further.
Did I imagine owning an online business five years ago? No. Did I imagine understanding how to invest money in the stock market? No. Did I imagine five years ago having two healthy kids? No. Did I want all of the mentioned? Yes.
And, here I am. Owning an online business and knowing enough about the stock market to invest with confidence. I have two lovely, energetic boys running around the house and keeping me and my wife happy (yet a bit tired ;)).
Five years IS a long time. A lot of things happen in that time, but the biggest thing you have to understand right away is this:
Nothing happens to you without hard work; You will achieve nothing by doing nothing.
And by achieving nothing, you have nothing.
Even if you would have the perfect plan set up and ready to go, nothing, absolutely nothing happens, if you don’t do the work needed from you.
Instead of creating a detailed 5-year plan, where every week, month, and the year is planned out, approach the planning from the mindset of who you want to be in the next five years. Not even what, but more of who.
In this post, I will describe the process and the mindset you can use to create a five-year plan to succeed in various areas of your life.
Steps we will cover:
- Mindset for your success
- Imagine who you want to become
- Fear and doubts
- Getting it done
- Seeing the progress
1. Mindset for your success
Everything begins with you understanding who you are and who you want to become. You have to understand your weaknesses and strengths.
If you don’t understand your weaknesses and strengths, how can you accomplish something that is more than likely out of your comfort zone.
When you want to achieve something big in your life, it requires you to become a person capable of achieving those things.
For example, you want to have a relationship, a new car, a new house, a new life. The things you have done to this point are the results of your current self. The life you now have is the result of your decisions in the past.
Getting a new girlfriend requires a new set of skills from you. And those skills are learned only with hard work. When you are creating your five-year plan, you have to realize what skills are needed from you to achieve the thing you are after.
Should you go to a gym? Get a new haircut? How could you do things differently to attract the girl of your dreams? It’s all on you and your decisions.
If you want to own a bigger house in five years, you have to realize what amount of money is needed. And what is required of you to achieve that amount of money?
You need to understand that the results are always related to you and your work. The effort you are willing to put forth.
By having the correct mindset towards your five-year planning, you are more capable of achieving the goal you have set for yourself.
When you know yourself, your limits, capabilities, and skills, you know how you get to your goal.
2. Imagine who you want to become
When you know your strengths, weaknesses, you understand yourself and know what skills are at your disposal; it’s time to imagine.
Imagine who you want to become. Many people start with what they want to have. But it’s rarely the case that matters. Remember it’s the who that achieves the what. What doesn’t achieve the who.
You are the who, and it’s you who does the work. So imagine what you have to be to get the what.
If you want to own a bigger house, think who you need to become to get the money for that house, what you need to do to get to be the one who will own a bigger home.
You might have to get a new job, build a business, or something different to gather the money for the bigger house. But if you stay the same and do things the same way you have always done, your plan might very well fail.
You are doing the same things that got you the life you now have. By becoming something else, you can get to different places and achieve different things.
Imagine the person who is capable of achieving the dreams you have, who you need to be for your plan to succeed.
Imagine what you want and who you need to be.
By knowing these two things, you are already on the winning side. Most people don’t ever get to know themselves. They don’t know who they are and what they are capable of.
Imagination is cut-off the moment they don’t know how to get there. The loop of how can I do this or how I can do that is born. When the real question is who do I need to become.
Imagine the person you want to become. You can think of the persons you admire and think about the qualities they have. How can you become that person? What is truly required from you? Imagine the path to that transformation.
Follow the footsteps of those before you.
3. Fear and doubts
The 5-year plan is planning. And with planning a seed of doubt is present. How can I do this or that. What if this or that happens. Maybe this or that doesn’t work out. What if I fail. What if success never happens.
These doubts are natural and healthy. This is the part of your brain that says STOP. Stop changing yourself. Stop moving forward. Change is not good, and so you shouldn’t move forward. This is fear.
With every change, there’s the option of what if this doesn’t work out. What if I fail.
What if you fail? What happens? What are the consequences? Should you try or not try. Should you go for it or not?
Do you see what this all is? Do you see how these kinds of thoughts bring you zero progress to anything. These kinds of thoughts kill your evolution, your dreams, and your goals.
Doubting your capabilities is natural, but it’s also the one thing that
prevents you from achieving that 5-year goal.
You are living your life through fears, hopes, dreams, and desires.
Fear and doubt are the things that do not belong to a five-year plan. The plan is a plan, and if things don’t go exactly as you have planned. It’s ok. The crucial element is to realize that you don’t let fear and doubt hold you back.
4. Getting it done
How many times you have planned something and just when it’s time to do it. You bail. You just don’t do it. You back out and leave it hanging.
That small task you had given to yourself, you just don’t feel like doing it. I’ve been there so many times.
It’s that small voice shouting in your head with a megaphone. NO! I don’t want to. And it’s yet again, completely normal. More than often it’s more comfortable (remember the going outside your comfort zone part I was talking about earlier) to just not do it.
It’s easier not to do anything than to do the thing you know you need to do.
This is all about planning. Stick to your five-year plan, don’t falter, get it done.
If you know, you have to study, then study. Pick up the book and read even if you would do it one chapter a time. Read the book and when you are done with it. You can see the progress in you.
Completing a five-year plan in one year is not the thing here. A five-year plan is about getting small parts in order. Doing the things needed from you little by little, until the goal set five years ago is now done.
The key here is to do the work. You won’t achieve your goal if you don’t start today (or tomorrow, just get it going).
Only with work can you get what you want. Start the work by changing yourself first to a person who can get to the goal you have created for yourself.
5. Seeing the progress
This time I have to share an example from my personal life. I hated studying. I didn’t like to read books. I thought I was dumb and just didn’t get things.
Without going too deep into why that was so, the more important thing here is to realize that this isn’t me today. The person I described there isn’t me anymore. That was my past self, the person five years ago.
In five years, I have realized that knowledge is the key to EVERYTHING. Everything is behind knowledge. Whatever you want to achieve in life, you need knowledge.
That is the thought process I currently have, and that is very different from the thought process I had five years ago.
When you start to change yourself and start to realize what is needed from you to get to your five-year plan, you will also see what’s the progress that needs to happen.
Even though I wasn’t able to track my progress entirely on how I changed myself to start liking to read and study. I can say that the breakthrough happened in months.
It was through good experiences and some mindset work that I started to like books and reading.
It’s vital for you to see that progress, to see those small changes in you. When you see those, you realize that the old-self you had, wasn’t the only self you could have.
By seeing the progress, you KNOW you are moving in the right direction. Small macro-level wins are the things you need. You don’t need big wins; you need small wins. You only need to see the progress.
When you see the progress in you, you realize that things are possible. And when that happens, imagination grows, doubts fade, your mindset gets better, and you start to do the work at double speed.
You need to see the progress but focus on the small things first. Then you can see the bigger picture.
And soon you realize you’ve achieved a lot in five years and while the plan changed along the way. You’ve become something more.
A final note
Setting a five-year plan is less about planning and more about you realizing your abilities. In five years, things and life changes in so many ways that planning it all out is impossible.
What you should focus on is understanding yourself and what you are capable of. Setting a five-year goal is more about understanding who can achieve the want you have.
We want things, and we want to see ourselves somewhere in five years. But the cruel but comforting reality is that you will not get to your five-year goal by doing nothing.
It’s easy to imagine what you want and what is missing from your life; it’s harder to imagine the person having the things you want for your life.
In five years, things change, and thus creating a bullet-proof plan is not possible. Focus on the major tasks, the big goals, and what you want to achieve yearly — slowly moving towards the goal. See the progress in those small wins.
Even a one-year plan is hard to keep unchanged. Your daily life brings so many changes to your life that it’s easier to keep the plans a bit flexible so you can give space for unexpected changes.