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  • Writer's pictureTamra Wade

Five Year Plan

Five Year Plan

by Tamra Wade

“Five years… 260 weeks…1,825 days…2,333,000 minutes…”

I have always been a dreamer. I have always had great joy dreaming about what my life will look like in the future. As a young woman, I always found hope and promise that no matter what I was struggling with currently, I knew that my future held something wonderful for me.

My dreams have always been a bright light and a kind reminder to keep moving through tough times.

Reading a wonderful book that was gifted to me by my sweet friend Lory Muirhead, 5 Where Will you be Five Years from Today? –  I started to think about the conversations I have with my daughters, and the teen and tween girls I work with.  I started to ask them questions about how they see their future.

My questions to the girls: Do you set goals? Do you write them down? What do they revolve around? Are your goals like a to-do list or like dreams and wishes? Do you set goals in the immediate or long term? What does your life look like looking out beyond the short term and taking a peek at the bigger plan?

Where do you see yourself in five years from today?

Talking with my then teen daughter and the teens I work with, they cringed at this idea of long term planning. In fact they fought me in even discussing it. I was surprised because I am surrounded with some very goal oriented teens, honor roll, ‘get it done’ type of teens. So why the apprehension with talking about where they see themselves in five years?

What is a five-year plan?

A five-year plan is a guide. It’s a broad look ahead. Asking questions that have an impact on the trajectory of your life, “What do you really want to do? What makes you the happiest?”

These can be scary questions when we are bombarded with outside influences, like media, family, and peer groups telling us what they think we should be doing with our lives. It is hard to delineate the wants of others with our own desires for our life.

How can a five-year plan help you?

A five-year plan helps you look past what is going on in your daily life. This is important because decisions you make today could have an impact on what you want to be doing in your future. A simple example is selecting your course work in college. The classes you take help set you up for future work you might do. It will have influence in the person you will become.

What happens when you don’t take the time to think about the repercussions of the decisions you are making today? Potentially you could miss opportunities or experiences that will help you in the future.

Maneuvering through your day, you make very specific choices about what you would like to eat, how you would like your coffee, the cloths you wear and so on. Do the same with the vision for your life. Saying things like, “My goal over the next five years is to be happy.” Or, “I want to make money.” When you order your meal at a restaurant, you don’t say, “I want food.” You are very specific with what you want.

“If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” ~ B.J Marshall

The goal of this is not to be bogged down with the planning portion, but uplifted and energized by the excitement of dreaming about your future. Relax, dream and think about what your life will be like in five years. Ask yourself questions and write down the answers or make a goal board filled with photos, and images you cut out of magazines. This is your vision for your life. It is exciting!

Some questions you might start with:

  • Where do I see myself living in five years?

  • Is there ocean near by?

  • Am I in the forest?

  • What type of climate do I like the most?

  • Will I be in a house or an apartment?

  • Will I be in school?

  • What will I be doing to earn money?

  • Will I work for a corporation or will I have started my own business?

  • What makes me happiest?

“According to Dave Kohl, professor emeritus at Virginia Tech., people who regularly write down their goals earn nine times as much over their lifetimes as the people who don’t, and yet 80% of Americans say they don’t have goals. Sixteen percent do have goals, but they don’t write them down. Less than four percent write down their goals, and fewer than one percent actually review them on an ongoing basis.” ~ Where Will you be Five Years from Today? (book)

Optimism with a dash of realism in your planning

Steven Pressfield, author of the War of Art, talks about Resistance with a capital ‘R’. He says that first there is a dream and in every dream’s shadow is Resistance. Resistance comes when we are doing things that move us to the ‘next level’. Pressfield says, “Resistance is a force of nature”… and that we should expect it.

Resistance can consist of the things that keep us from our dreams. They are things that derail us and can discourage us from moving forward. Steven Presfield’s words give me comfort and validation that anything worth doing will be hard. Expect it.

When you are planning and dreaming remember that creating a plan, setting goals and getting excited about your life will carry you through the tough times – the times you face resistance.

Pick up the book 5 – Where will you be five years from today? and start engaging in things that will move you towards the life you desire.


Paper Hope Next Generation Five Year Plan on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel

Photo by Sylwia Bartyzel The Map

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