Goal setting and developing life plans. Something that we all naturally do but we all do it so differently at varying levels.
Some people set a plan; others focus on short term goals… Having a written 5-year plan for your personal growth and life goals is such a powerful way to influence your future. You just need to ask yourself; do I want to create my life by design? Or do I want to have it created for me depending purely on circumstances? Do I want to create balance, focus, and flow? Or do I want chaos and noise take over while I hope for the best?
We all have some form of goals for our lives. How clear are they though, and how well thought through or planned are they?
Often, most people set very general kind of wants without clarity, specific timelines, and measurements to pursue. Sometimes people do not even consider what they really want, why these goals are important to them, or even how long they should spend pursuing them!
So, if you don’t know exactly what you want or where you are going, where do you expect to arrive to? It’s like getting in a car to go for a drive without knowing where you are going. You travel aimlessly and quickly to destination “nowhere”, wondering why you do not feel satisfied, are not happy and feel like your life is just going around in circles.
That is why most experts and coaches recommend developing a personal, professional, and business five-year plan. Creating these plans help you clarify your goals, make them more precise, help you visualize them from the end in mind, all based on what you really want.
We are funny creatures when it comes to expectations of ourselves. Unless you are conscious of how your mind works, most of us tend to overestimate what we can do in a given day and underestimate what we can achieve in 5 years. We need to learn and practice how to turn that equation around and not sell our self-short in the long term, while focusing on a small number of micro daily activities and doing them exceptionally well.
That’s where success comes from. It’s through laser-like focus, consistency, and an unwavering belief, living and acting as if the end goal has already happened.
Here’s 5 steps to developing your 5-year plan and then breaking it down to make it happen.
Step 1 – Day Dreaming
In this step, get two empty pages out. Mark one for personal goals and one for professional/business goals.
Simply write down all the things you can think of that you would like to experience/achieve for each page in the first column. Think about it from all angels. From career to finances, relationships to health, and from home to travel etc.
Allow yourself to dream, be in the moment and write down whatever comes to mind. There are no barriers in this stage. Don’t ask yourself how will I do that? And where will the money come from? Dreaming costs nothing, and feels great so why put limitations on it?
Come up with as many ideas as you can in this stage, narrowing down your ideas will happen as the process goes on.
Step 2 – Find Your “Why”
Look at each of your goals and ask, “why did I choose this?” This will help you find the purpose of accomplishing that objective. The point here is to make sure your goals are pertinent to your true intention and calling. This will give you an idea if you wrote the goal down because it’s what you really want, or just what you think you should want, based on external factors.
For example, your goal may be to make a lot of money. But when you ask yourself why you have this goal, the reason could be that you want to make enough money to travel frequently and in style. So, your real goal is to travel in style. That it what you want to hone in on. Money becomes the vehicle to help you achieve what you want and not the goal.
Step 3 – Refine Your Goals
After identifying what you want to accomplish and why you want to accomplish them, the next step is to make your goals more actionable.
Using the “SMAPT” goal-setting method works well for most people, making goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, pragmatic, and time-bound.
Yes, you read it right. “SMAPT”.
Personally, I don’t like using the word realistic as it just stifles our creativity. For me it’s about pragmatism. There is a huge difference between being “realistic” and being “pragmatic”.
If we were to always remain realistic, we would still believe the world is flat, be travelling in carriages and never experience air or space travel. Let’s not sell ourselves short. We need to remain pragmatic in our day-to-day activities and focus on doing the small things in a big way to achieve our big scary and exciting audacious long-term goals.
Step 4 – Breaking it Down
The purpose of this step is to decide what is most important, allowing you to focus all your energy on only the activities that will help you reach your goals. You need to decide what goals are most essential to you in this five-year window, so you can focus all your energy on those goals. If you try to accomplish too much in too little time, you dilute your energy by trying to chase all of them and you achieve little to nothing.
Ask yourself, “if I could accomplish only half my goals in the next five years, which ones would they be?” Then repeat the process – which half would you keep? Do this until you only have one goal remaining.
Bear in mind, it’s not that you will not do and achieve everything you want on the list. All you are doing is prioritizing them.
Step 5 – Take Inspired Action
Break your goals into smaller steps and figure out what actions need to be taken on a yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and then daily basis. Reduce it all down to the lowest common denominator.
This is the most powerful way to keep you aligned to your 5-year goal. It’s by far the most powerful tool to use for yourself, with your team, and for the whole business. This area is very dear to my own heart, and I spend time with business owners/leaders and their teams developing this and executing on it. It is the most powerful form of accountability and alignment to the goal. The main reason why people don’t achieve their goals once they are set is because they lack this critical process.
Once you know what needs to be done and how you will track your progress, get to work! This is where the fun begins.
Start Right Now
There’s a quote that says, “A year from now, you’ll wish you would have started today.” So true, right?
Think about it, what do wish you could have started a year ago? Two years ago? Five years ago?
Today you have the chance not to have to contemplate that in a year, or even five years from now. The best time is always now…
You may not feel ready to take a major step but do something. At least start the planning process and write down what you want and go through the exercise.
After that, you will surprise yourself how even if you take the smallest of steps in the right direction can get you started and experiencing the results that you want.
So, do this….
Set a goal to spend just 15 – 30 minutes a day working on your vision. Some days you may not meet it, but other days you may well exceed the time. Find what works for you, and don’t wait.
Each day will be another day to bring you closer to the life you are creating by design. It may seem intimidating at first, a five-year plan is totally doable and so easy once you get started. If you need a hand, reach out to someone that can help you. You just need to decide you want to do it. You never have to do it alone.
Yes, it takes effort, thought and maybe some time that you don’t think you have. If you are stuck in this paradigm, have a look at where you are not being productive and replace it with this goal setting task. You can never manage time, but you can manage activities and we all have unproductive habits and activities that are not serving us.
Serious goal setting is for those that have dreams and desires of being and doing better.
It’s for those that have a vision for their lives that stretches beyond survival and day to day living.
It’s for those who want to do more, to be more and to make a difference.
It’s for YOU.
Just remember, you can’t be more or do more unless you take that first step.
You can do this!!
Give your dreams a chance to become your reality.
Start making and implementing your life plans.
A year from now, you’ll be so glad you did.
Interested in a program for yourself or a customized workshop for your team? Send an email to [email protected]