5 reasons to ditch your 5-year plan — and what to do instead

While I love to search inspiration Everywhere I go, there are three main places that fuel my creativity: bookstore, libraries and museums. Deep in dusty paperbacks or in the hallways of my favorite artists — these are the places that have made my deepest impressions, and they are where my ideas about the world were born. . But I recently mentioned a new source of revelation: my therapist’s office. And my latest life-changing perception of note-taking? After all, I don’t need a five-year plan.

I used to have a crystal clear timeline of what I wanted my life to look like. Specific achievements correspond to daily deadlines marking when the “mission” must be completed (I know). The goals are all the usual doubts: write a book, get married, get X position in X career path. While I still want those things for myself (and working towards the goal). Goal #1), which my therapist said caught me when I pondered the fear and pressure this pursuit placed on me: What if you pause the big picture?

Featured image of Belathee Photography.

Photo of Claire Huntsberger

I immediately felt hesitant, even defensive. How will I motivate myself? How do I wake up every day and get work done without a clear roadmap to reach my goals? After taking a deep breath and feeling the emotions running through me, her offer suddenly made not only sense but also something like… permission. Being allowed to release the control I thought I had over my future and giving up on a five-year plan had me stuck in a fear of failure.

This goal setting structure is everywhere. I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked to share my five-year plan during job interviews, dates, and even when I made new friends. It’s a question that always seems to be on everyone’s mind, but in an ever-changing world, the plans I had for myself five years ago have drastically changed.

Below, I break down the shortcomings of a five-year plan and share helpful tips for setting goals that will help you feel refreshed and renewed every week, month, and year.

Photo of Danielle Sabol

First of all, what is a 5 year plan?

I’m glad you asked. If you haven’t faced the usual interview question, tell me where do you see yourself in five years, this is the lower level. Whether personal or professional, your five-year plan lays out what you want to achieve and where you want to be once that timeline is up. Of course, people also make 10-year and even 15-year plans, spanning a multi-year period with perhaps higher and longer-term goals.

Based on BetterUp, a professional coaching platform, five-year plans often also include “smaller, specific goals, to help you hit the larger goals on your list.” Thus, your five-year plan can look like a series of larger goals (buy a house! Start a business! Grow your social media following!) and outline smaller, yes Actionable will help you get there.

The idea is that by writing down your five-year plan, you’re laying the groundwork for the career and life you want. And it is true that when your goals align with your values, you are well on your way to living your best life. Dream it, do it, make it come true.

Photo of Belathee Photography

My problem with the 5-Year Plan

I must emphasize: Nothing originally wrong with the five-year planning mindset. As I wrote above, it can be an effective way to get you from Point A to Point B. What I’ve encountered, however, is the unrelenting pressure that we put on not just the players. Young professionals but also teenage students must know what they want. themselves before accumulating much experience or opinion.

And because I’m part of the millennial “job-hopping” generation, I know well that expectations have changed. As Emily He, CMO of Saba talent management solution, shared with Daily Business NewsResearch shows that college graduates today will have dozens or more jobs by the time they turn 30. She goes on to add that we enter this decade not knowing what we want for ourselves — instead, it is a time to learn, explore, and grow in ways we may never have. now foreseen only a few years ago.

“You don’t have to see the end in the first place — you can’t have.”

Amy Ann Cadwell

And while this wiggly room of discovery may lead us to assume that we will one day have the “found,” I have news to share – we won’t. But that is the beauty of life: the more we see, the more experiences we accumulate, the more our curiosity is aroused and our interest stimulated. Because of this, inevitably, many questions always arise.

The beauty of embracing the unknown

Earlier this week, I opened one of the favorite newsletter, Daily good things, to discover an inspirational quote that will set the tone not only for my day but for the direction of this piece. AmyAnn Cadwell, founder and CEO of The Good Trade, writes, “You don’t have to see the end at the beginning — you can’t.”

Her words spoke through my thoughts with a lucid reverberation, repeated with their full sincerity and meaning. They vibrate with the same permission I was given by my therapist, and although it may be obvious, it is a significant difference from the false belief in omniscient control. our.

With that in mind, I decided to switch to a softer approach. It allows me to be autonomous in the flow and shape of my goals, but it also creates space for changes and inevitable shifts in the direction of our path and journey. So while I don’t know what my dream life will be like 5 years from now, here are the steps I’m taking to make that dream come true today.

Photo of Steven Simko

3 ways I pursue my goals with kindness and compassion

You are journaling in the future

Camille helped me start my “Future Friends” journal with one issue that was particularly striking and inspiring in her newsletter, Breathing space. In it, she encourages you to dream without boundaries, envisioning what your life would be like if you could live your day using only what’s important and meaningful to you. She asks you to think about these four questions:

  • Where are you?
  • What are you doing?
  • Who stayed with you?
  • What does it feel like?

This level of visualization helps you set your sights high, but learn to keep your expectations loose. As Camile shares, it’s the perfect antidote to those moments when you feel disconnected, distracted, or like you can just use a little direction to direct your focus. me. I find that instead of focusing on some unknown future, the exercise is like a gentle nudge that connects us to present reality.

Photo of Kristen Kilpatrick

Hot girl walking

Is it funny how a niche social hashtag can become a hot trend in just a few minutes? In this case, of course, I’m referring to the so-called “walking girls” – a movement started by TikTok that uses their daily walk to visualize and reflect on what makes them feel. see … hot. And fortunately, in 2022, this definition goes beyond the old-fashioned, look-specific meaning.

Instead, “hot” is a state of mind and hot girl walking, coined by TikToker Mia Lind, which means walking four miles while listening to an inspirational podcast, sharing the spirit of your attitude, building your goals, and reflecting on your “hotness” (no matter what that means). what it means to you). Now that’s the wellness routine, goal-forming that I can achieve.

Picture via Jessica Attie

Boarding Vision

Nothing new here, but if you haven’t joined yet visual boarding Go crazy, take it easy: it’s never too late. While there are many reasons to love it, I especially like this goal-setting method because of its basics, its tangible nature. The teen in me loves the idea of ​​spending an evening parking in front of her favorite show, flipping through magazines, and pasting in more inspiring, eye-catching pictures, words, and quotes. a collage to let my eyes drift. go to whenever I need a little motivation.

While you might be tempted to move this process over to Pinterest, give it a pause before going digital. What I like about the visual analog board is that you are selecting images from a limited supply. And when you think about it, that’s a bit of what life is like, isn’t it? You work with what is presented to you. Plus, the process is inspiring, creative, and exciting — like any journey in life is possible.

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