Having goals and dreams is a wonderful thing and a part of being human. However, if you do not have a plan for turning those dreams into reality and reaching those goals, that is all they will ever be… dreams. Do you have such a plan? If not, what I’m sharing with you here will help you with creating your five year plan, to move closer to where you want to be in your life.
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Every business has a 5-year plan for where it wants to go. So do governments and other large organizations. Not just any plan, either, but a strategic one that takes into account the environment, its strengths and weaknesses, and other factors.
Business leaders long ago realized that not having such a plan made them much more likely to fail, even if the business had clearly articulated goals.
Such is also the case with individuals. You have to know first where you want to go and secondly, how you intend to get there if you want to make it. Would you ever set out on a road trip without knowing where you were going and how to get there? Of course not. And I can speak from personal experience in this area; I traveled across the United States and back again during a three week period in 2016, and later published a book – The Road Trip: An Entrepreneur’s Journey of Self-Discovery – about my travels.
Making that cross-country trip without a plan would have been a recipe for failure. With any road trip, you might eventually make it, but it would be unlikely and would take a lot of extra time and trouble. The same thing is true about reaching your goals. That is why you need to create a personal strategic plan for reaching your goals over the next 5 years, and I will help you with creating your five year plan.
I’ll start by explaining what constitutes a personal strategic plan and what makes it different from a normal plan. I will then discuss the advantages and disadvantages of making such a plan.
After that, the bulk of what I will share with you will be devoted to teaching you how to craft a personal strategic plan tailored to your goals and dreams. Finally, I will discuss how to turn that plan into action and wrap up with a short conclusion.
Do you want to create your own personal strategic plan and get a head start on making your dreams come true? Then let us get started!
What Is A Personal Strategic Plan?
Put simply, a strategic plan is a clear plan for achieving goals over a certain time period. The strategic part comes from the fact that it looks at your goals as a whole and tries to find the best option for achieving them.
A strategic plan also takes into account obstacles that will arise, your resources, strengths, and weaknesses, and other issues, and attempts to create a plan that will work with them. It is a plan focused on finding the best way, not just any way, to achieve your goals.
Put more technically, a strategic plan is a plan for achieving set goals, normally over a five-year period, utilizing strategies tailored to the person or organization to make progress and avoid pitfalls.
Businesses, schools, nonprofit organizations, and even governments all have strategic plans. Less common is the personal strategic plan, which is designed to help an individual achieve his or her goals.
A personal strategic plan generally has five elements: a personal mission statement, a personal vision statement, a list of personal values, a list of strategic focus areas, and a list of objectives and SMART goals for each of the chosen focus areas.
These elements will all be discussed in detail below and instructions for how to develop each of them will be given. A personal strategic plan looks much like the strategic plan for a business but is brought down to the individual level.
For now, just know that a personal strategic plan may sound complex and difficult to construct, but it is not, and it usually comes out to be a one- or two-page document. It does take some time to create the plan, but once you do so, you are much more likely to achieve your goals than people who never make such a plan.
Advantages of a Creating a Personal Strategic Plan
Creating a personal strategic plan has many advantages, starting with helping you define what success means to you and ending with helping you achieve your goals. Here are a few of the advantages of creating such a plan.
The Meaning of Success
What does success mean to you? Do you know? Do you buy into the socially acceptable definition of success -the career, home, marriage, 2.5 kids, and a nice car -or do you think being successful means something else? Creating a personal strategic plan will help you determine what success means to you.
Finding Your Values
Your definition of success stems directly from the things you value most. The majority of people never get clear on what their values are, which is partly why they never come up with their own definition of success or determine what their goals are, much less reach them.
You will have to determine what your values are in the process of making your plan.
Knowing What You Want from Life
You cannot make a strategic plan for reaching your dreams and goals if you do not know what they are! Part of the process of creating a personal strategic plan is making a list of what you want to get from life and translating that into goals.
Creating Your Five Year Plan Acts as a Compass
A personal strategic plan acts as a compass that will help you make decisions. When you are done creating your plan, you will know what you want to do with your life, what your goals are, and what you need to do to achieve them.
This will make it easy to decide whether or not to accept an opportunity or do something. Does it fit in with your strategic plan or not? That gives you your answer.
Helps You Reach Your Goals
The largest advantage of having a personal strategic plan is that it will help you reach your goals. The majority of people never accomplish their goals or make their dreams come true. They spend their lives waiting for a magic fairy that never comes.
The majority of people also do not have a plan for reaching their goals at all, much less a strategic plan. They are winging it and hoping for the best.
Having a plan -any plan -makes you many times more likely to achieve your goals. Having a strategic personal plan increases the odds even more. Assuming you put your plan into action, that is.
Pitfalls of Creating a Personal Strategic Plan
There are not many disadvantages of creating one of these plans for yourself. In fact, the only disadvantages are those that come from taking your plan too far, which makes them pitfalls instead of disadvantages. If you can avoid going to extremes, you can extract a world of benefits from your personal strategic plan.
Here are the few pitfalls you need to look out for with your personal strategic plan.
Some people get so attached to their personal strategic plans that they refuse to ever reconsider them or make adjustments, even when things in the outside world or within themselves change.
Sometimes things happen that we have no control over, and we have to make adjustments to our plans to reach our goals. Remember the year everyone would like to forget, also known as 2020? It is not always so extreme, but external factors can always change your ability to reach your goals.
People who experience this disadvantage often do so because they refuse to adjust their plan or their goals to take account of these changes.
Others fall into this trap because their personal goals change, which occasionally happens because we are human after all and they refuse to acknowledge these changes or make the necessary adjustments to their plan to get what they want out of life.
As you age and change, your life will change and so will the things you value and desire. That is natural. If you discover that your goals have changed, sit down and recreate your plan to account for the new goals. That is all you have to do to avoid this problem.
Pursuing the Wrong Goals
Some people lie to themselves about what their goals really are and create a plan to reach goals they do not want. Sometimes this happens because their goals change after they create their plan, and if they then refuse to change, that falls into the inflexibility pitfall discussed above.
More often, this occurs because people are not honest with themselves about what they want to get out of life when they first make their strategic plan. They list goals that are not their own either because they *think* they want those goals, or because they think they *should* want them.
Human beings are great at deceiving themselves and are susceptible to influence from other people. Society has a set definition of what things every person should want and should have. To mate matters worse, families also have such lists, and they often conflict!
The two together are why so many end up pursuing goals they have no interest in achieving. If you fall into this pitfall, you will develop a personal strategic plan and one that may take you somewhere, but it will not be anywhere you want to go.
How do you avoid this disadvantage? Be honest with yourself. Do some critical self-reflection while making your personal strategic plan and make certain that the things you are going after are things that you want.
It might hurt, especially if it is the first time you are breaking with society’s expectations or family traditions, but remember that this is YOUR life and no one else’s. You have the right to pursue your own goals and your own happiness.
Lack of Action
The final pitfall you have to worry about when you make your personal strategic plan is not taking action on the plan. Some people fall into the trap of making the plan and relying on it and only on it as if the plan itself will call your dreams into reality and vault you forward to your goals. It goes back to waiting on the magic fairy again.
It does not work that way. There is no magic fairy, and no one can make your dreams come true other than you.
A plan is only a plan; in order for it to work, you have to act on the plan and follow the action steps you create to get where you want to be. As long as you do that and do not sit around waiting for your plan to work by magic, you will avoid this pitfall.
I Have Put Together a Downloadable Workbook For You That Will Be Helpful While You Are
Creating Your Five Year Plan Using Strategic Thinking. No Opt in is Required!
I’m Connie Ragen Green, living my life by a five-year plan, and excited to be serving you as you go about creating your five year plan to achieve your goals and a level of success you may not have thought possible.