Why you don't need a 5 year plan
For as long as I can remember I have been told that I need to set goals and make plans. Throughout my education I was encouraged to create a 'long-term' plan, a theme that continued in my corporate career with personal development plans and 'SMART' goals. Over the years I have strived to achieve it all - I've set goals around my career, finances, health, relationships, home, hobbies... you name it.
I've had 3 year, 5 year, 10 year plans.
Can you spot the fundamental flaw with this?
I spent years pushing and pushing to achieve the next thing, all the while thinking "if I can just do [fill in the blank] I will be happy/confident/successful". When my plan didn't unfold how I expected (surprise, surprise I couldn't control everything) I was crushed, deflated, 'not good enough'. Even if I reached my goal, it was never enough. I always needed to do/be/have more.
Whatever I did, I was never good enough, I was never worthy.
It's a pattern I often see amongst the women I coach or the blogs I read. So many of us feel like we are not good enough, that we don't meet expectations or aren't as successful as everyone else. You might be reading this and nodding your head in quiet agreement. If that's the case I want you to know it's ok. I'm going to come right out and say it...
You are enough. Right here. right now.
Not in 5 years or when you have the job/the man/the waistline. Right here, today.
You are enough. Sit with that. Let it sink in.
A note - I am not suggesting that setting goals is a bad thing, in fact I recommend setting very specific goals for things like finances or training for a marathon. I'm talking about getting really intentional with how we approach goals and what we want from life....
Here are a few suggestions of what that might look like:
1. Drop the BIG LIFE PLAN
I know, it goes against everything you have been taught/read/heard before but hear me out. Instead of creating a 5 year plan that is dependent on a set formula of circumstances (that are probably out of your control anyway), create declarations and intentions instead.
What does that look like?
It means creating a practice. Declare your dreams - write them out in your journal, post them on your blog, share them with your Facebook tribe.
Think in terms of how you want to feel. What's the feeling behind wanting a bigger house. Space? Abundance? Behind writing that book... creativity? Self-expression?
What do you want to experience in your life?
2. MAKE INTENTIONAL CHOICES, daily
Now you know what feelings and experiences you want to cultivate in your life, you can focus on making choices that bring you closer to that. Say no to things that aren't in alignment and watch as opportunities open up to you.
Every day brings with it the chance to come a step closer to that dream. Trouble is, we are so often focused in the future that we fail to see the opportunities we have right now to feel and experience the things we long for.
3. SURRENDER AND TRUST
This is probably the hardest step. As humans, we seem hard-wired to try to control every little, tiny aspect of our lives. The truth is, there is so much outside of our control that can have an impact on our path. What we can control, is our perspective and how we respond to situations.
Have faith that in the simple act of declaring your dreams, the universe is working to support you and open the necessary doors for you. Surrender the when and the how of it all and focus on trusting it will happen if you keep making those intentional choices. Call it fate or divine intervention if you will. All I know, is it works.
4. KNOW THAT SPONTANEITY IS OPPORTUNITY
We've all seen the films (they are usually cheesy romantic comedies)... the lead character is so focused on the end game that they fail to see what's happening right in front of their nose.
Overplanning destroys possibility.
It's in those little, unlikely moments that the magic happens - the conversation with a stranger on a train, or in the park. Stumbling across a new blog. A wrong turn on your way to somewhere. Little doors of opportunity opening themselves up to you.
I'd love to know your thoughts on this so leave a comment below or join the community over on Facebook!
If you would like to find a new perspective - to let go of those things you need to release and move forward with ease, I have just the thing for you. I have opened up some new spots in my coaching schedule and I am offering 10% off all packages for my blog readers. You can find all the details here.