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Why I ditched the 5 year plan

Why I ditched the 5 year plan

I have always had a 5 year plan in mind for my life and I’m sure if you are reading this you can relate. I was determined that I would be married with babies by around 27, and I’d definitely be in my dream career before 25. As I have got older, particularly in my 30's, I have started to realise that you really don't need to live your life to a certain timeline.

Something just clicked at 30

Whilst I don't have a family yet as I am currently in the midst of a career change, I am actually now the most satisfied with my life that I have ever been. Something just clicked at 30 and I stopped worrying about the next stage, or what could’ve happened, and I am trying to be mindful of the future without making some big bucket list or ‘40 things before I am 40’ list. Setting goals is brilliant and I'd encourage it, but you really don't have to tick big milestones off by a certain age. Ditch the 5 year plan if it's not making you happy!

I literally used to write myself a plan with certain career and life goals on it and could recite this confidently to anyone who asked. Do I have one now? Nah. I know what line of work I want to be in and I am studying to get there. I want to buy a second property, hopefully in 2019, but if we don't find the right house then that's okay. 

Looking back at my old self I just want to give her a shake. I put so much pressure on myself every year and as the new year rolled around I'd be worrying if I hadn't quite reached my goals. I never lived in the present and constantly thought about the next step after this one - once I have completed this 5 year plan, what will the next one look like? When I look back it is no wonder I was constantly feeling stressed and burnt out. 

Happier with no 5 year plan

The goals that actually matter

I realise more than ever now I am in my 30’s that the only things that should be on anyone’s 5 year plan are health, happiness and enough financial security to not stay up at night worrying about money. I no longer want that massive corporate highly paid job, I just want to earn a reasonable salary to be able to support my family and enjoy myself. 

I would like to travel more, and I do have certain places I’d love to see next year, but I'd like to go with the flow a bit as well. I think living abroad had a huge amount to do with this change in mindset. I've said it so many times, and I know travel is a privilege, but if you are able to live somewhere different for a while I couldn't recommend it any more.

I do think it's worth saying that not everyone has the means to travel or actually wants to. There is nothing wrong with being happy at home, and if you don't want to do certain things that someone else might see as really important, that doesn't matter. 

Happy in Haw Par Villa with no 5 year plan

In the digital age it is so difficult not to compare ourselves to everyone else and that's another reason why I think having a 5 year plan just sets us up to fail. Social media is a highlights reel. Have you ever found yourself thinking you need to visit a certain place, find a partner, or have a baby ASAP 'because everyone else is'. Yep, that's the danger of comparison. That person who has ticked off something you feel you've missed out on might actually want something you take for granted. Or they may have reached certain milestones but actually don't feel that happy outside of their Instagram photos...

I’m writing this in the hope that it might help someone who is like I used to be. Possibly in the wrong career but fighting their way to the top anyway because they have a strict 5 year plan to stick to and worry what people would think if they didn't reach the goals they had told everyone they were working towards.

That isn’t me now and I’m a hell of a lot more laid back for it! I do still have the odd dramatic meltdown about where my life is going but I think that is inevitable for any 20 or 30-something. Life isn't easy and the older I get, the more I realise how up and down everyone's life is. It's all about enjoying the ride - not having a 5 year plan that you have to follow!

Looking ahead to 2019

As we head into 2019 I am proud of who I am, I am proud that I’ve taken steps to reshape my life to what I want it to look like. I hope this time next year I can say that 2019 has been healthy and happy and that is all it will take to make it a successful year for me. If you want more inspiration, you can read about how I followed my dream to live abroad.

Opening a new door with no 5 year plan

Thank you for following my adventures in 2018. Wishing you all a happy 2019 and excited to see what the new year brings now I have ditched the 5 year plan!


  1. I can really relate to this. I used to have a five year plan, back in my early twenties. I, like you, thought I’d be married and with a baby or two by the time I was 27. When I reach mid twenties I realised that there’s no reason to have a five hear plan, as it will happen when it happens! I think health, financial security and happiness is so important! Happy New Year and all the best for 2019!!

    1. Thanks Kate - I agree with everything you're saying! Melis

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Stefan, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Melis


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