Do you have a 5-year plan? How’s that working for you?
I have always struggled with setting long-term goals. Like a 5-year plan. When asked where I’d like to be in 5 years, I’ve never been able to answer with much conviction. It just seems like a long way off. A lot can happen in five years.
Maybe I just need structure. For example, when someone signs up for college, they will usually have a 4-5 year curriculum plan for a bachelor’s degree. And I could copy that formula, plug in the goal at the end and then build the steps necessary to get there. I’ve read enough goal-setting books that I could probably write my own.
Maybe I’m just overwhelmed. I’m a husband, father, son, friend, neighbor, uncle, employee, homeowner, volunteer, blogger, and (wan)trepreneur, among other things. Lots of hats to wear. Lots of people to see. Lots of things to do.
Or… maybe I’m just undisciplined. Which is a fancy way of saying “lazy”.
The truth is, it’s probably a mix of all of these elements in varying degrees depending on the season.
Does this make sense? Can you relate? If so, let me share something I heard the other day that has helped me reframe this a bit. I was listening to the Tim Ferriss show podcast and he was airing an interview of himself by Jamie Foxx, the actor. He explained that he doesn’t have 5-year goals because, most of the time, we are reacting to things that come our way each day that can easily distract us. In short, life happens. Instead, he said he tries to live his life in a succession or series of two-week experiments. Because anyone can do anything for two weeks. And sometimes, things stick and last longer. Makes sense, right? What could you do for two weeks? How about…
- Adjust your diet
- Try a new exercise regimen
- Look for a new job
- Read a book
- Read your Bible
- Learn a new skill (or at least start)
The possibilities are endless. And two weeks is not overwhelming. Nor requires much structure.
And let’s expand it just a bit. Let’s stretch a bit farther. If we can do anything for two weeks, we can also STOP doing anything for two weeks. Like maybe…
- No TV
- No junk food
- No negative news stories
- No internet surfing
- No mobile device staring
(ok, maybe that sounds a bit extreme–to just go cold turkey on some of that stuff. If so, then just replace the word “no” with “less”).
Don’t get me wrong–I think goal-setting is important for both short and long-term goals. All I’m trying to say is that I personally have never been good at it.
So, I’m going to call myself out here and make myself accountable to you. I have a goal of writing and publishing a book sometime within the next 6-12 months. Therefore, I am going to commit to writing every day for the next two weeks. Additionally, I am going to cut down on my TV consumption to no more than 60 minutes per day. This should open up more time for writing.
And, of course I want to challenge and encourage you as well. Pick something to do or try for the next two weeks. Or something to give up. Or both. And if you’re comfortable sharing in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.
For your advantage,