Sunday, January 25, 2009

Do You Need A Personal 5-Year Strategic Plan?

Choosing personal strategic planning life goals

Personal Strategic Planning: A Key to Success


Are you less than thrilled with your financial status, career or personal life? Do you dream of a better life? Just imagine if you could make those dreams come true. The most successful people make their dreams come true; they not only have a dream, they have a personal strategic plan.

What is A Personal Strategic Plan?


A personal or family strategic plan is a high-level plan for achieving your most important life goals -- for realizing your aspirations. At its simplest, the plan includes a description of a "desirable future," your goals and dreams, and the key steps you plan to take in order in order to make those dreams a reality. It really boils down to just two things:
  1. Where do you want to be 5 years from now?
  2. How do you get there from here?

Why Do You Need A Personal or Family 5-Year Strategic Plan?


The short answer is because you want to live your dream. To maximize your chances of success, you need a plan because, as the old saying goes, "failing to plan is planning to fail."

Developing a plan helps you decide what's really important in your life, set priorities, and focus your resources -- time, money, energy, attention -- where they will do the most good.  A plan helps you make better decisions and take the actions that will get you where you want to go.

When Do You Especially Need a 5-Year Strategic Plan?


Personally, I think everyone can benefit from having a plan. For example, a strategic plan is useful if:
  • You are less than ecstatic about the status quo. You want more. Or,
  • Your life is good, but you want still better; you're tired of settling for "good enough."

However, a plan is especially important if you are contemplating a new direction that could change your life forever -- such as:
  • Going to college or graduate school
  • Beginning a new job or career, or retiring
  • Buying your first home
  • A major change in your financial situation (e.g., inheritance)
  • A major change in your family situation ( e.g., marriage, divorce, new baby, etc.)

What Should Your Strategic Plan Contain?


The most important element of your plan is usually called a Vision; it is your ultimate goal, your dream. Whether your vision is to become a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, or "just" to have a happy, well-adjusted family, it all starts with your dream (or dreams). As the old saying goes, "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there." However, you can't stop with your vision. If you stop there, it really is just a dream.

The question is how do you get there from here? You need a roadmap. This is where your dream turns into a plan. What's important is that you identify what's working and what's not working in your life, the critical issues that need to be addressed, the obstacles that need to be overcome, the results that need to be achieved, and come up with a plan to make your dream a reality. There is no magic. You have to make it happen with a compelling dream, hard work, and a plan.  The finished plan is typically formatted as either a mind map or an outline, but you can use any format that works for you.

Start Planning to Realize Your Dreams


So, how about you? Do you have a dream? Do you want to start living your dream? If so, click here and get started now.

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The 3 Step Personal Strategic Planning Process:

1. Discovering Your Vision covers the first step in developing your plan.
2. Identifying Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats (SWOTs): The key inputs to your plan.
3. Creating a Personal Strategic Plan: Using your SWOTs to develop your goals & strategies and write your plan.

Still Need More Motivation? Try:

Regrets of the Dying, a blog post by Bronnie Ware. Five poignant lessons she learned during her years of work in palliative care that transformed her life. Insight into the things that matter most in life.
Regina Brett's 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on: Her widely-circulated and reprinted column from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. More "upbeat" than the previous one! :-)
Setting Goals: a 5 minute video by recently-deceased Zig Ziglar. A still more upbeat presentation that will get you going.
If those don't convince you that it's worth taking a few hours of your time to sort through your priorities, and develop a plan, I don't know what else to say....

For a nice schematic that illustrates the relationship between all of my personal strategic planning posts, see Personal Strategic Planning Schematic



Copyright © 2009.         Last modified 12/7/2012

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