Create a 5-Year Plan

By Lisa Barrett

Making a five-year plan is a great idea if you want to be successful in your professional and personal life. Establishing your short-term and long-term goals, developing and executing action plans to achieve them, and giving yourself a chance to stop and re-evaluate those goals are great ways to make sure you are on a path you want to be on. This applies to all of us—students, business professionals, retirees, activists, etc.

If you are not sure about creating a five-year plan, just remember: You do not need to follow every step or plan as you initially set out to do. Rather, your plan can serve as a flexible guide to keep you on track as much or as little as you need. In the words of John Philip Sousa:

“..for a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin-real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perpective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one. Happiness is a journey, not a destination…”

There are plenty of resources to help you think about what goals and action steps to include in your plan. Generally, though, you should give yourself monthly goals to work on. After that, it is sometimes helpful to break monthly goals into weekly (and maybe even daily!) objectives. Do not be afraid to include personal goals, such as a desire to work on networking or public speaking or spend more time with your family.

Here are some helpful (and sometimes entertaining) resources to get you started:

An example 5-year plan from theprofessorisin.com.

An example 5-year plan from theprofessorisin.com.

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