By: Erica Statly
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
A common question asked in interviews, asked by family members at holiday parties (slightly re-worded of course), and a question you should be asking yourself. So how the heck do you figure it out your 5-year goals then put them into a short, simple answer?!
No worries, I got you! I have my very own 5 year plan and creating it was relatively painless.
So where to start? I broke creating your own 5-year plan down into 5 simple steps. (The number five is going to be a common theme today).
Step 1. Visualize your goals.
The first rule with visualizing is to let go of the logistics. We’ll worry about that later.
If you want to be chillin on a yacht in a bikini, sippin a margarita in five years, write that down! If that’s what you truly want. Which brings me to rule number two: be completely honest with yourself. Personally, yachting around for a living doesn’t cut it for me. In five years, I’d rather be running my own business and starting a family.
If you’re totally stuck on where to start, begin by making a bucket list. What do you want to get out of life? (Hint: one of my bucket list items is to walk the Great Wall of China. Realizing this helped me add remaining healthy and fit to my five-year plan. See how they kinda tie in together?)
I live and breathe Shannon Kaiser’s positive vibes. From her book, “Adventures for Your Soul”, here are 11 questions she instructs us to ask yourself when figuring out our “joy route.” We do this by going on a “Future Field Trip.”
- Imagine yourself in five years. What are you doing? How do you feel? Who are you with? What does your life look like?
- What message does your future self have for you?
- If someone handed you an unlimited amount of money, what would you do with your day?
- When are you the happiest? What are you doing, how do you feel?
- If you had six months to live, what would you do?
- When do you feel the most uplifted and joyful?
- What is the thing you’re best at? What is effortless and fun for you to do, share, and be? What is the sweet spot that gives you that uber-rush?
- If you could be known for one thing, what would it be?
- When you were a young child, what did you love to do?
- When do you feel the “there’s more where that came from” feeling?
- When do you lose sense of time because you’re so engrossed in the moment?
(I highly recommend this): Buy Shannon’s Book here.
Step 2. Bring your visualizations to life! (pics)
You’re probably feeling pretty cluttered after step one. Now it’s time to get organized. We want you to think in terms of:
- Health/Body goals
- Career goals
- Personal goals
- Legacy contribution (what will you leave behind?)
- Dreams/play goals (bucket list)
For example, my goals look a (little) something like this: In five years…
- Remain healthy and fit and finally get that six pack!
- Run my own business
- Start saving money to own my house on Lake Michigan
- Instituted confidence in girls worldwide
- Walk the Great Wall of China!
Once you’ve figured out how your categories may look (my actual 5-year plan goes WAY more in-depth so spend some time on this step!!), begin creating a vision board for each category.
For example, my personal category is full of sunrises/sunsets on Lake Michigan, hammocking besides Lake Michigan, a beautiful beach house…, my dreams/play vision board is full of pictures of the Great Wall of China.
Put all of your internal visualizations out on paper in the form of mood boards. (If you want to do it digitally, try a Pinterest Board).
Step 3. Simplify the goals! (figure out how to put it into words)
So you still have all this crap everywhere. How do we consolidate it? The best way for me to show you is by example. Here is an actual piece of my 5-year plan.
Health/Body Goals – 5-Years
- Get defined abs (6-pack preferably)
- Remain healthy & fit
- Continue building and getting stronger everyday – refuse to plateau
- Feel confident and comfortable in a bathing suit
- Workout minimum 5 days per week
- Listen to my body – if it needs rest, give it rest.
- Do workouts I actually enjoy!
- Force myself through hard workouts
- Sweat A LOT.
- Eat a clean, but balanced diet.
- Treat myself every now and then!
- Stop worrying about how alcohol is going to affect my body.
- Stop weighing myself and focus on how my clothes fit and how I feel.
- Let go of others opinion on my body and focus on how I feel.
Take a moment to go over each category and expand on your goals and how you will reach them.
Step 4. Put it into words
So when someone asks you about your future plans, or even specifically for your 5-year plan…no. Do not read off your long document of goals and plans! Mine sounds something like this:
“I plan on staying in Michigan to run my own business and getting some of my bucket list items checked off before starting a family.” Let them ask the follow up questions.
If an employer is asking you, alter your response to be more career-weighted. Something such as, “I would really like to remain in the area and focus on developing a wider skill set in this industry and exploring new challenges for me within my career before starting a family.” This tells your employer you don’t plan on leaving soon, you have a plan, ambition, but you also have core values you hold near and dear to your heart.
Step 5. Manifesting the Goals.
Your 5-Year Plan probably looks GREAT on paper right now. Your mood boards are crafted to perfection and you’re feeling motivated about these next five years! So…how do you make it happen? How do you manifest your 5-Year Plan?
By starting right NOW. If your health goal is to lose weight, get up right now and get a glass of water. Schedule in a workout for later today or better yet, go workout right now.
If you want to be financially stable, go fill out a job application or see if it is possible to increase your hours at work.
The best time to start is right now.
So quit being lazy, get up and start grinding! Five years will come quicker than you think.