Health is much more than physically being able to run a mile in under 10 min or fitting into your skinny jeans. Having a purpose and a plan for your future can bring enormous satisfaction and motivation to your daily life. Knowing where you are and where you are going can help you stay on track and ensure continual progress toward your goals. The 5 year plan is something that we often considered in terms of a career advancement or running a business, but it can also be a useful exercise for our personal life. I know, it seems daunting, but asking yourself three open-ended questions will help to clarify a path. Go ahead, grab a piece of paper and jot down some thoughts.
Thinking 5 years into your future, what is important to you in the following areas? Try and prioritize specifics of your top 5. Use the categories listed below to brainstorm:
- Daily Life
- Personal Health
Here is what I came up with for myself:
Family: I would like to try and start my own family in the next few years.
Environment: I am getting really sick of shoveling snow for months and months of the year. Constantly worrying about my car on the ice. Plus, I don’t feel that Anchorage is a place that I want to bring up my children right now. I want to reconsider where I am putting down roots and if it is necessary, make a move in about 5 years.
Job: I have a very specific idea of what I want my practice to look like in the next 5 years, and will be spending considerable amounts of time on that.
Relationships: I’ve been nose to the grindstone building my professional life and I’ll admit my relationships have suffered. I want to focus on rebuilding close relationships with friends and family that matter most.
Self: I’ve let many of my hobbies and old interests fall to the wayside, and it is important that I pick those back up soon to improve my health and well-being.
What Can Remain the Same?
This is the fun part – look at your life and recognize what is working for you, especially in light of your 5 priorities you’ve listed above. Try and list the things that not only you don’t want to change, but that you are willing to work for keeping in your life!
My list includes my man, my dog, my job, my family, and my time. I am very lucky to have a wonderful home situation, and live a few blocks away from my guy’s family. We see each other frequently and I wouldn’t want to change that for the world…but it does present a challenge because I also want to move back to the east coast eventually to be close to my family. I wonder what the possibility of all of us moving together is? Something to consider, for sure. And lastly, my TIME. This is the most valuable portion of my life that I have worked so hard for. I have had a lot of different careers, and loved all of them, but the part that is most important to me is that I don’t live by the grind. I don’t want a 9 to 5, and I don’t ever plan on going back to that. I make my own schedule and time off. That is my non-negotiable item that has to remain the same!
What Needs to Change?
OK, so now you have a list of things that are important and things you want to keep constant….so what parts of your life need some work in order to let you focus on the important stuff? Are you doing too much? Can you delegate? Are you disorganized? Be honest with yourself here!
My top priority is having a family, because, well…I’m no spring chicken. I’m 37 and its time to do this thang! To feel less anxiety about the mom life, I really need to focus on a few things within the next 2 years. The first is paying off all my credit card debt – I see it as keeping me attached to an ‘old life’ that I am ready to move on from. Paying off that debt will allow me to place my financial resources into my future. Unfortunately, that will also mean a new car. I’ve been driving the same 2 door Honda Accord since 2003, and as I have been reminded time and again, a 2 door car is not kid-friendly. My health needs to come to the forefront as I move into this next phase, because lets be honest – the last 5 years were dedicated to survival of my doctorate program, starting a business, and obtaining copious amounts of professional trainings to be an effective health care practitioner. This entailed irregular sleep, eating poorly, living on coffee, and putting exercise on the back burner.
Make a Plan!
Now you have three lists to work from. Consider each section, and brainstorm actionable steps that will help you prioritize what’s important, keep consistency where you want it, and accomplish change where it is needed.
A few of my actionable steps include:
- Making time to spend with my boyfriend and his family even when I feel like I should be doing work
- Create a debt repayment plan (DONE, with the estimated payoff date in May/June 2018)
- Begin researching cars and putting money away for a down payment
- Quitting my 5 daily cups of coffee to help rebalance my hormones
- Begin to swim each morning
- Organizing trips to check out potential areas that we could move in the future
For me, being able to check off small tasks from the list above makes me feel that those big changes are indeed possible and within my reach. I’ll keep ya posted on my progress 😉