The 5 Year Plan

5 year plans seem silly right? Wrong. Let me explain why I think it's important to have a 5 year plan and how to make a good one!

There's a lot of debate about whether making a 5 year plan is a great idea, or a horrible one. I've always been a planner, so I'm falling on the side of loving the idea. I think having a plan for a few years down the road will keep you focused. I believe God's plan will overwrite mine everyday - but having goals is a great motivator, and a 5 year plan is all about goal creating.

The whole idea of a five year plan is to acknowledge your goals and have some idea of what you need to do to reach them. For example your five year plan should not look like this: Graduate college - Find a job - Get married - Have kids

That is not a plan, that's 4 things on a to-do list. Let's start with "graduate college". Here's a better idea of what your plan for this goal should look like:

Goal: Graduate College

Timeline: May 2016

In order to graduate college in May, I have to maintain a ____ GPA. This means I need to study ____ hours per day for ___ days a week. I have to attend ____ meetings to insure I'm on track for graduation. I still need to take ____ credit hours, which will be split up to ____ classes per semester. The areas I have to work on most are ____ and ____. Before graduation I want to attend ___ job fairs and find a/an ___ (internship, part time job, full time work).

See the difference? A five year plan is meant to help you {1} figure out your goals {2} set a timeline for your goals and {3} make a plan to meet those goals. You cannot schedule 5 years into the future, but that's not what your 5 year plan should do. All the plan should do is help you understand your goals and take steps to achieving them.

5 reasons to have a 5 year plan

It will help you develop and evaluate your goals for your future.

Maybe you have never thought about if you want to go to college or not. Or maybe you don't know if you want kids or not.

Thinking about what you want for yourself in the next 5 years is important to set yourself up for success. If you know what job you want, you need to know how to get there. That's what this 5 year plan is for - helping you understand what you need to do to reach your goals.

Having a set plan will help you reach your goals quicker.

If you set a deadline for when you want to finish school, you may not be as inclined to take a semester off or wait an extra year to get started. When you have an idea of what you want and you have a plan and date of how to do it, it makes it harder to procrastinate and easier to do the work needed.

Thinking about the future doesn't have to be so hard.

Maybe you haven't even picked a major yet - how are you suppose to plan your career? The simple answer is, you don't.

Your 5 year plan is only yours. There is no set layout for you to follow. The only thing your plan should include are your current goals. Maybe you want to travel, meet someone, or even just decide on a major or career.

People sometimes don't make 5 year plans because they stress over what they don't know. Instead, focus on what you do know and want and you'll find that thinking about your future is actually a lot of fun.

It will help you get a head start.

Most Americans don't think about saving and investing money until after they need some cash. Making a five year plan will help you plan for your expenses better. If you know you want to get married within 5 year, make sure you plan on saving for the wedding expenses. Or maybe you want to start a business, you can save money for the investment.

Saving and investing early is the key to staying debt free. Creating a plan will help you know what you need to save for and how much.

A plan will get you looking at the big picture.

Sometimes we get so busy we forget to look at what we want in life. We get stuck in boring jobs and end up in a rut of being unhappy and feeling like your life isn't turning out the way you wanted.

Having an idea of your big picture can keep you from falling into a rut you hate. When you have an idea of a job you want to do it makes it easier to leave behind the job you hate to work towards your job that you really want. Stepping back and looking at a bigger picture can be extremely helpful and relieve stress of daily life.