Events in our lives unfold so quickly. It is easy to get carried away and overwhelmed with everything that happens to us from day to day. But we always have a choice. Whether to stay reactive or to become proactive participants in our own lives is up to us.

Though life is beyond our 100% control, we can do something about lessening the impact that uncertainties may bring. We need to be proactive especially when we’re working on achieving goals. One good way to stay in front of the wave is by creating a five-year plan.

Five years seems just enough time for making significant long-term goals happen. It is not too short, nor too far out of range. Within five years, it is possible to witness our big goals translated from paper into reality. Five-year plans are popular in an economic and business context, but they too can be applied in our own personal lives.

Here’s your guide to creating your life’s Five Year Masterplan:

Assess Your Current Situation

An understanding of where you are at present is crucial to motivate you to create a five-year plan, or to set any goal for that matter. Before you create your five-year plan, have a strong and clear purpose for driving yourself from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). A strong “why” will help you to stay motivated and single-minded in your pursuit.

Get Clear on What You Want

Creating a five-year plan will give you a sense of clarity. But before you arrive at that point, you may need to go through the mess of validating your own values and options. You should get clear on the life that you really want and maybe get rid of some things that are not aligned to your envisioned future. As soon as you get rid of all the distracting noise and clutter, your ability to focus will be immensely increased.

Write the Story of Your Life as You See it in 5 Years

One way of reinforcing the previous step is by writing the story of your life as you see it in five years. By writing it all down, you are seeing things confirmed, as if in a book, even before they’re materialized. You are also gaining more clarity, by coming up with all the details inside your mind. This allows you to see possible obstructions at the concept stage, and fine-tune as needed.

Consider the things you want to happen in possibly every aspect of your life. Write down personal, financial, career, relational, and all other goals that matter to you. Studies show that people are more likely to realize goals that are deeply meaningful for them.

Set Goals, Then Break Them Down Into Small Tasks

Your dreams are your starting point. Transform these ideas into SMART goals, which means that your goals need to be:

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

S.M.A.R.T. goals can be accomplished within five years. Though big goals can have a tendency to overwhelm us, breaking them down into small executable tasks that can be done consistently is key to moving forward.

List down all the executable steps that you need to do to achieve your big goals in detail. You can assign a target date for each, to give you enough pressure to move and make things happen.

Work on it Daily

Working on your goals every day will have a compound effect in the future. Small, consistent efforts mean more in the long run because there is no such thing as an overnight success. Reaching long-term goals takes time and doing the right things consistently is key.

Be accountable for making the life you want happen. Five-year plans help us avoid feeling overwhelmed, where instead of feeling excited, we are too daunted to work on them and feel doubtful that we’ll ever accomplish them. Relax and stay committed to your dream by working on it consistently.

Visualize Your Goals

It’s easy to get moving when we’re motivated and inspired to achieve our goals, but motivation is neither instant nor easy to maintain every day. Sometimes we need to motivate ourselves. As a way of helping you stay on track, plaster your dream where you see it daily.

Have a vision board to constantly remind you of your dreams and five-year plan. The clearer you are on what you want, the easier it is to have it materialize in reality.

Share It with Other People

Five years is a long enough time to work and accomplish some big projects. Apart from a vision board doing its work of motivating you each day, sharing your five-year plan with the people closest to you – a partner, parent, or close friend – will improve your chances of making it happen.

You can even create a five-year plan together. Having people as accountability partners is a great way to realize our own plans. A dream you dream together with others multiplies the power attached to its pursuit.