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5 Actions You Should Take To Plan Your Next 5 Years Well

5 Actions You Should Take To Plan Your Next 5 Years Well
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What do you want to achieve in the next 5 years? Five years can seem like a long time if you have a plan and you know what you want to achieve, but without a plan, 5 years can pass by very quickly.

Check out these 5 actions that you can follow to help ensure a happy and successful future.

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1. Decide what you want to achieve within the next 5 years.

Decide what you want to plan for within the next 5 years. From starting your own business to buying your first home, planning is an essential part to making sure you get what you want. Life is filled with many possible eventualities, so you must address what you want to achieve so you can set the wheels in motion. Sit down with a pen and some paper and write down the answers to these questions: What do I want to achieve? How long will my goal take to achieve? What is the first thing I need to do?

2. Evaluate your goals every month.

Whether you set your goal a week ago or 10 years ago, it is important to regularly evaluate your goals. Your interests may have changed or other priorities may have emerged, so make sure you are focused on something that is still important to you. For instance, once you may have dreamed about buying a home in the country, but now you might love the busy city you live in. Sit down once a month and write down the answers to these questions: Is this goal still important to me? Am I eager to achieve it? Am I still passionate about this idea?

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3. Review your goals every day.

Most people have goals, but the most successful people keep their goals in the front of their minds at all time. If you rarely think about your goals, they may start to seem overwhelming and unattainable. However, goals can often be broken down into lots of smaller tasks, which will seem much more attainable.

If you want something badly, you should ideally be working towards it regularly. Ask yourself every day: Am I progressing with my goals? What is the next small task I need to accomplish to move closer to my goal? Can I reach my goals within the next 5 years? Could I reach them sooner?

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4. Make a weekly commitment to your goals.

Once you have defined your goals, it is time to start acting on them. Your goal may easily be achieved in the next 5 years, but once it is done you can start working on achieving your next dream. Today is the perfect time to start — putting off work before you have started can make the task seem scary and abstract, which will make it harder for you to start later.

At the beginning of every week, write down what you are going to do that week to work towards achieving your goal. It doesn’t have to be something big every week — even doing something small will help you to see that you are progressing towards your goal every week.

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5. Write down all of the possible outcomes.

Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and write down every possible hypothetical situation that could happen regarding your goal. There will be awful and wonderful outcomes, and this will help you to solve any possible problems that might pop up later. Decide what you would do to improve every situation, and regularly look at your answers.

You may not be able to control the future, but you can control how you deal with whatever life throws at you. Throughout the next 5 years you may encounter problems, but the most successful people adapt and zigzag through these issues while focusing on finding solutions.

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More by this author

Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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