I’m sure you’ve heard or read something about creating five-year goals. Maybe you’re wondering if setting five-year goals is really a good idea. After all, a lot can happen in five years, right?
Maybe you want to plan for two years or even just one year. And there is some truth to the idea that the exact time period depends on the goal that you want to set. You may be able to reach your goal in four years, or it may take you seven years.
But I am going to encourage you to set five-year goals. Five years is the most widely accepted span of time for long-range planning.
The five-year period does not include the time to prepare the plan itself, which may take only a few hours or several days. Rather, the five year period includes the time when you begin to execute the plan until you’ve reached your goal.
Here are 4 reasons to select a five-year plan period:
1. It’s about as far ahead as you can “look” with any degree of accuracy.
2. It allows time for clean-up of the organization or of major problems.
3. It gives you time to develop a better organization, more income, new programs, to test new programs, or to test new organization arrangements.
4. It provides time for the all important job of securing good people, for training them, and for developing key executives.
So, now that I’ve prompted you to set some five-year goals, where do you start? Follow the steps below to put your plan to paper and start taking the steps to succeed.
Put your five-year plan on paper & include the following:
#1 – Include a written description of your goal
Spell out exactly what you want to do and why. Describe your goal not only in terms of activity, but also in terms of desired results.
For example, I would like to run three times a week is the activity. If you make this your goal, I guarantee that you will burn out and lose interest. Rather, make your goal activity and results. For example, I would like to run three times a week in order to lose 25 pounds by Christmas.
You can apply this type of goal-setting to nearly any desire. Whether it’s business, health, family, habits, or spending money, just remember to include both the activity and the desired results (in a measurable way).
#2 – Include a description of your sub-goals
You will not reach your goal in one giant step, but by a number of smaller steps. Your written plan should describe all of the smaller goals that you must reach to help you achieve your major objective.
For example, maybe your five-year goal is to increase your business profits by 25%. You will never be able to meet this goal with one giant action. Rather, it will take many smaller actions like increasing social media marketing, writing for bigger websites and blogs, and advertising your speaking abilities.
If you make it a goal to complete each of these smaller steps sometime during the five-year span, you will be more likely to actually increase your profits by 25%.
#3 – Include an established time table
Your written plan must contain a time table. Each sub-goal discovered in step #2 needs a date. Basically, your written plan should provide a “start” date and “finish” date for each sub-goal. Finally, your main goal needs a start date and a finish date.
It may be tempting to leave the finish date blank. You figure that you’ll estimate the date sometime closer to the five-year mark. That is a bad idea. You will lose motivation and not be as likely to track success if you choose not to mark your finish date.
#4 – Include a list of the resources needed
Your written plan must contain a list of resources needed to achieve your goal. These resources include:
1. Financial: an estimate of the amount of money needed to reach your goal.
2. Human: the personnel needed to enable you to carry out your plan successfully.
3. Equipment: if special equipment or tools are needed, list them in the written plan.
#5 – Include built-in check points
Finally, the written plan must contain check points to enable you to get reports on the progress of the plan. In other words, you must have accountability!
If your goal is to run three times a week in order to lose 25 pounds, create a monthly calendar with checkboxes on the days you are going to run. Then, make a space at the end of the month to record your current weight. Never skip recording your monthly weight! This is a built-in check point.
Goal setting seems like such a common, unnecessary topic. But I’m finding that people don’t know how to set goals properly. We lose motivation or “forget” to hold ourselves accountable.
So, set a five-year goal this week. Think big and come up with a plan. Then, include the 5 necessities for your written plan mentioned above.
AND – if you’re interested – I’ve created a Five Year Plan worksheet for your convenience! Enter your name & email below & it’s yours free!