How often do you think about your future? Do you regularly dream and talk about your goals with your spouse, friends, and family? Taking time to direct your future is a healthy thing to practice!
So often we remain stuck in the present. We go to work, come from work, and then go to work again. We live for the weekend and don’t take much time to dream and plan for the future.
When I retired a couple of years ago, I had no idea that my life would change as much as it did. I had made it – retirement!!! – that long-sought freedom! Yet, I was bored and unhappy. So I started thinking about where I wanted to be in five years.
Now I am managing multiple businesses.
To keep yourself on a healthy track – and to continually think and direct your future – try using these three tools.
Three Tools to Plan and Direct Your Future
1. Bucket List
At the end of your life, or when you do finally retire, you don’t want to be full of regrets. It is so much better to plan and prepare – to be proactive today by coming up with a list of things you want to do and accomplish.
This list can include anything: fill a journal, climb Mt. Everest, harvest a garden, visit Australia.
No matter how big or small, write it down. (In fact, it’s a good idea to include a few small things to check off easily.) Keep this bucket list somewhere you’ll look at regularly, like the driver’s seat dashboard, your nightstand, or even the bathroom mirror.
Keeping this list accessible will continually motivate you to work these goals into your life. Plus, you won’t reach old age and wish you had accomplished more or done adventurous things. You’ll have done them!
2. Personal Goals
In a way, we attempt personal goals every year starting January 1st. We like to call them resolutions. But resolutions have sadly become a national joke. We laugh because we fail, or we laugh because we didn’t even begin.
So instead of waiting until January 1st, find a time that works for you. Your personal goals don’t have to be year-long resolutions – they can last six-months or one month.
Write your personal goals down someplace you’ll see them at least once a day. Practice your growth step daily for your decided time limit. Then, when you feel your goal has become habitual, choose another step to work on for the next time period.
One month you could practice drinking enough water every day, and the next you could begin eliminating soda. The key is to always keep practicing what you habitually began the month before. For example, don’t quit drinking enough water just because you’re now eliminating soda. Drink enough water AND eliminate soda. Always keep building.
Eventually, these practices will become permanent habits.
3. The Five-Year Plan
The infamous five-year plan is surprisingly relevant. High school and college graduates feel a little overwhelmed with this idea because there is still so much change headed their way. But developing a five-year plan is especially helpful when you are settling into your first job or have been settled for decades.
Why? Because we always need to be open to change.
Your five-year plan doesn’t need to be extravagant or incredibly detailed. But taking the time to dream, plan, and write those plans down is so beneficial.
My own plan looks like getting my businesses to a point where they are self-sustaining in the next five years. But for others, this can look like starting a family in the next seven years. Or writing a novel in the next two years. Look at your life in a yearly scale and figure out where you’re going. Do you like the direction? If not, change it.
Remember, you are in control here. Don’t allow life to pass you by without taking the time to dream and plan. When you reach retirement, you won’t find yourself bored and unhappy. You will have planned this moment – and hopefully you’ll still be planning the next five years.
What’s something you hope to do or accomplish this year? How do you hope to grow this month? Share with me in the comments!