Think of a date five years in the future. Does it seem like a long time away? What about a decade from now? While these dates on the calendar may seem impossibly far away from now, the time will fly by.
Without a plan, will you be where you want to be in your private life and career?
It is impossible to overstate the importance of creating a 5 and 10-year plan for your personal and professional life. Without careful planning and goal setting, it’s far too easy to get swept up in the daily grind. As you progress in your career in the freight forwarding and logistics industry, there is always pressing work to do. By the end of the day it’s natural to want to switch gears and switch off from work and push it to the back of your mind. But are you spending enough time thinking about your future plans?
Without explicitly planning your next steps, it’s far too easy to let things slide. The next thing you know, a year, five years, or a decade will have passed. Your career will have meandered and ended up unsatisfying. Your finances, relationships, and personal goals will all be a matter of happenstance. You may or may not be happy with where you end up – why take the risk?
By assessing your values and planning your next five or ten years, you can take control of your choices, take deliberate steps towards achieving your goals, and regularly track your progress. You no longer have to fret or worry about where you’re heading or feel like you’re bumping around in the dark as the days pass you by. Instead, you’ll have a set plan, that, while flexible, will give you a roadmap for successes in your personal and private life.
Don’t let the next decade pass you by without a plan. Here are five steps that you should take now to plan your future.
1. What do you value?
The first step is the most intangible, and arguably the most fun. Start by writing a list of your personal values and the things that make you feel most accomplished.
What do you value most in your life? What makes you ‘tick’ and gets your pulse racing? Conversely, what elements and creature comforts would make you feel most safe and secure. What would give you a sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction?
Create at least four columns:
Your passions and hobbies
Do you dream of taking a surf trip to Nicaragua every year? Own a caravan and tour to European cathedrals? Travel to culinary hotspots and take cooking classes? Write down your wildest dreams. After all, your career successes will help you achieve them.
Your material goals
Your material goals include your dream home, and the other creature comforts you want to acquire to feel safe, secure, and well-taken care of throughout your life.
Your personal life
What personal relationships will enrich your life? Do you want to have a child in the next ten years? Get married, or work on improving your marriage? Make more friends or strengthen your existing friendships?
Your career and education goals
Which elements of your career or education will make you feel accomplished and fulfilled? Do you want to get a degree or upgrade your credentials, start your own business, or reach a certain level in your organization?
2. How can you align these values with your goals?
Now that you have clearly laid out your values, think about how these values can translate into tangible goals that you can accomplish over the next five and ten years. For instance, if you value rest and relaxation on a Spanish beach for three weeks each year, your goal is to save for and plan an annual holiday, or maybe even to invest in a property on the Costa del Sol.
How long will each of your goals take to reach? What steps do you need to take each day, week, and month to achieve them? And what is the first step you need to take to get started?
You might think that this exercise sounds pointless, but studies show that the simple act of writing down your goals makes you more likely to achieve them. According to a recent report from careers expert Mark Murphy:
“people who very vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goal.”
3. Think about your goals every day
Let’s face it – a lot of people have goals. However, the most successful people think about their goals on a daily (or hourly) basis – their ambitions never leave their minds for long. This helps them break down their big goals into smaller, more attainable tasks that they can work on every single day.
What can you do today to get closer to your goals? Who can you enlist to help you on your path?
4. Evaluate your progress regularly
The only constant in life is change, so it is crucial that you evaluate your goals on a regular basis. Maybe your values have changed, and you need to adjust your goals. New opportunities or personal relationships may have emerged, so your goals may no longer apply.
Make time at least once a month to assess your goals – are they still important to you? What did you do in the past month to achieve them? What can you do additionally next month to make them happen?
5. Write down all of the potential scenarios that could arise
Whenever you are planning a new goal, take some time to think about and write down all of the potential outcomes. This step might seem the most confusing, but there is a method to its madness.
By detailing the wildest, wonderful, wacky, and weird outcomes, you can help yourself get over your fears about the future. By confronting the gamut of possible scenarios, your mind will start formulating solutions to problems that could occur later on, down the road. Think about what you would do to confront every possible hypothetical situation – this will come in handy! While you can’t control the future, you can prepare for its eventualities. This will help you reach your goals.