What’s the best way to create a 5-year plan?

What’s the best way to create a 5-year plan?

I’m determined to be successful, especially now that I am clear on my direction. I know that I need to create a 5-year plan. Do you have any suggestions? K.M., New York, NY

Traditionally a 5-year time frame was used because it provided a balance between being not too far out, yet far enough to allow time to accomplish reasonably ambitious goals. The world, and in particular the pace of change, is significantly different now. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to predict or plan what will be happening in 5 years (but if you can predict and plan for that, dream even bigger).

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have a plan but I would caution you against excessive focus on planning. Planning can become an end unto itself and lull you into a belief that you’re making progress. Instead of focusing on the timeframe, plot out your next few milestones. As you achieve them, add new ones. You will be making progress along your path while leaving room for serendipity.

Taking strategic action is the most important step you can take to ensure your success.

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