Make a 5-Year Plan and Establish Your Direction

Jordan Mendiola

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Regret is one thing that continues to come up in conversation. In my senior year of high school, we were told to write down our five-year plan.

I wrote down I would go to college for four years and commission as an officer in the U.S. Army by year five.

Fast-forward, I only did some college and became an engineer NCO in the Army.

If everyone created a five-year plan, we would all have a little bit more direction. There have been times in my life when I was so sure of my future. Plenty of times when I was lost as hell, too.

So, how do I create a five-year plan?

  1. Figure out what you want in life.
  2. Refine your goals.
  3. Write down the steps.

You can add or substitute priorities in your plan, but these are the basics.

1. Figure out what you want in life.

Your 5-year plan could look something like this:

  • I want to be a season ticket holder for the Seattle Seahawks.
  • I want to be a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Army.
  • I want to earn my marketing degree.
  • I want to have a high-paying job (don’t we all).
  • I want to drive a nice car (possibly a Tesla).
  • I want to own and rent out property on Airbnb

Think about things that get you excited — the things that make life worth living according to you.

2. Refine Your Goals.

Step 1 should motivate you enough to make a plan. If you’re not motivated or inspired yet, work on your #1 some more.

Excellent questions to ask yourself:

  • What goals do you want to have in the next 5 years?
  • What skills do you want to have in the next 5 years?
  • Where do you want your fitness and health to be in 5 years?
  • How many places do you want to travel to in 5 years?
  • What do you want to be an expert on in 5 years?

You can’t aim towards something if you can’t see where you’re going.

3. Write Down The Necessary Steps.

Welcome to step 3. You’re motivated and you have a general idea of where you want to be. Let’s make a game plan.

Things to consider when planning:

  • What is realistically achievable in 5 years?
  • How do you acquire the skills you want?
  • Who do you know who is an expert in this field?
  • What do you want to accomplish in year 1? (year 2, etc.)

Think critically here. Numbers 1 and 2 mean nothing if your plan isn’t thorough or lacks elaboration.

Final Thought

You could map out an entire 5-year plan for yourself and do absolutely none of it. If you want to go with the flow and play with spontaneity, things could still work out.

All of this is coming from someone who is going through life without doing anything that is conventional or “practical”.

Never doubt your capabilities. You can go out there and achieve anything. No dream is too big or too small. Take the risks others aren’t willing to.

Hopefully, the five-year plan gives you some insight on achieving long-term success and happiness.

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Creative entrepreneur, U.S. Army Engineer, and dedicated runner. Committed to sharing ideas that lead to more fulfillment in all areas of life. Email: mendiola1829@gmail.com

Chicago, IL
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