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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Making A 5 Year Plan

By Notes From The Frugal Trenches

I began making 5 year plans in my late teen years and have continued ever since. I've learned, through trial and error, not to make my plans and goals too specific and to focus on being on a journey. Five year plans work well for me because they fight my tendency to want everything here and now! They also allow me to work backwards with my planning, which helps keep me focused on baby steps and allows me to see how each year I'm working towards my long-term goals and dreams. One example is my desire for livestock within the next 5 years, so my currently yearly plan includes the goals of learning about raising goats and sheep and volunteering on a farm. These steps are easy for me to accomplish in this season of life and are great training for what may be to come.

My current five year plan includes the following topics:

Family Plans
House Plans
Emergency Preparedness
Animal/Pet/Livestock Plans
Green Plans
In The Garden
Other New Skills
Volunteering and Giving Back
In The Kitchen

Under each heading I have steps for Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, Year 4, Year 5. I monitor and change these steps as needed and as my goals change. My 5 year plan is fluid and reflects the changes in myself, my family and society. I keep my plans in a scrapbook, where I can add recipes, articles on keeping livestock, decorating ideas and financial tips. I also print of articles and jot down ideas, notes and thoughts.
Having a 5 year plan has had made me see firsthand that my dreams are not unrealistic, that I have passions, convictions and values which I will be able to live up to, with a bit of time and baby steps which move me in the right direction. Who knows, maybe one day I'll even own my own cow ;)

Do you have a 5 year plan or something similar? Has it helped you achieve your dreams and desires?


Simple in France said...

I've had five year plans in the past and often I somehow find a way to get the things I put into my plans accomplished. That said, I've never put emergency preparedness into my plan, and I like that idea! I may rethink the way I do things in the future.

Daffy said...

I love your 5 year plan idea!

I do a similar thing on a much smaller scale. I split life down into areas I'd like to do something with, currently these are:

exercise and health
voluntary work

For each of these, I have a six month plan, a three month, and a one month. Within the one month one, things tend to be pretty specific, right down to emailing someone, or maybe putting aside a certain amount of money, or just getting into a habit, like running 3 times a week. The one month goals build towards the 3 month, which build towards the six months.

It works for me, and at the minute I just can't envisage life more than six months ahead, lol! But this way makes sure I really do get those things done that I want to, the voluntary work, not spending over budget, working towards a new job etc.

I think you're right, planning is key to a simple life and helping you focus on where you want to be in the future, and making sure you get there!

Hope you manage to stick to your plan


I split each into areas

This Thrifted Life said...

First of all, I love that I knew you wrote this post as soon as I saw the picture of the cow. :)

My plans all feel like they are pretty much in crazy flux right now. But I do really like the idea of keeping all your notes and ideas in a binder. I might have to try that.

cpcable said...

I think this is a wonderful idea! I've always resisted having so much structure and specificity to my 5 year plan, but that has also made it very easy to postpone and neglect those goals. I think that writing things down and actually thinking through the steps of how to make something happen is really important.

Making time to write down a specific 5 year plan is now on my to-do list for this weekend.


Anne said...

5 year plans are a great idea. I keep my plans written down in a perpetual diary and then I can see each day/month how I am progressing in each area.
Fail to plan, plan to fail.Always good to know what direction you are heading in with a bit of flexibility for life to interfere.

Conny said...

Our five-year plans are in our heads - perhaps its time to write them down. I often feel like we're just bobbing along. Our unwritten five-year plan didn't work out because of the economy and housing insanity - perhaps we should have had a backup plan. Time to reassess.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I don't at the moment. What a daunting thought. In 5 years I'll be 70. But you know, I think at any age it is wise and healthy to have goals in the future and move toward them. I'll get to work on this today.

Chookie said...

No; I've never set out a five-year plan and I doubt I ever will. For one thing, due to my heritage, FYPs to me are strongly linked with Stalinism.

That's not to say I do no forward planning, but most of the important things in my life either don't have time frames of that scale or are qualitative rather than quantitative. Just shows we are all different. I have a 20-year financial plan and am about to choose seeds to buy for autumn planting. Then I should prod the architect about our extension... Three plans on very different timescales!

Anonymous said...

I've only ever really done a 5 year plan (thinking we'd be moving there in 5 years time!) when we bought our last block of land, however it took us till nearly 10 years to build the house and move into it!
And yes Thrifted Life, I knew it was FT's article as well when I saw the cow :)

ms lottie said...

I make 10-15 year plans and revisit them each year. I then use them to make specific goals for the year coming.

In fact in January I just wrote them all up on my blog

I'm a list person. I write to-do lists each day so this sort of planning suits me - I really feel like I'm getting somewhere. And I think it's worth trying for anyone who has a dream but can't see a way to get to it.

Notes From The Frugal Trenches said...

Thank you for all the absolutely fabulous reponses and ideas. I'm glad you got something from the post and many of you are going to try out this flexible planning method!

Thanks for sharing your ideas too :)

Thrifted Life & Judy - I had to laugh that you knew it was me via the picture of the cow ;)

Sandy L said...

I tend to have decade plans linked to my age. For example:

30-Buy Home + payoff student loans.
40-Be 100% debt free
50-Be in the position to retire.

I also have general goals that are the same year to year like:

-Learn 1 new career resume type skill
-Learn 1 hobby/home skill. (cheese making, tiling, etc)