Where do you want to be in 5 years?

Do you know where you want to be in five years?

And more importantly do you know WHO you want to be in five years?

Elizabeth GilbertWill you be the same as you are now (and 5 years older), or will you have put the past behind you and be living a fulfilling life? Will you?
I saw this quote on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook page recently and as she says “If you don’t have a plan for where you’re going to be in five years, then — after five years has passed — you will still be exactly where you are right now.”

And you will be exactly WHO you are right now.


This was me. I spent ten years not thinking ahead, drifting from day to day, year to year and as Elizabeth Gilbert says after ten years I was in exactly the same place.

I learned the hard way that there are no magic wands, no fairy godmothers, I had to do the work, only I could make change happen, yes ME.

Double ouch!

Elizabeth Gilbert encourages readers to write down exactly what they want in their life. She suggests picturing life exactly as you want it, where you will live, who you want to be spending time with, what’s your career, passions, how you will use your creativity. Write it all down.

And if you’re worried this all sounds like goals and you don’t want anything to do with them, I can assure it’s not goals, let’s call them dreams, or visions.

Think about it; when you get in a car if you don’t know where you’re going then you’ll either drive round and round in circles or stay put. Life is very much like that, and let me guess you’ve stayed put for a while now and that hasn’t worked so well has it?

So it’s time to plan, time to dream again, maybe to rekindle some of those dreams you had when you were 12 before life got in the way, and to add new ones. Because you have freedom and flexibility in your life (yes I know you didn’t want it but it’s there) so why not use it?
And while you’re on a roll with writing now for two big questions (come on, you knew it wouldn’t be that easy);

What do you want to have put behind you by then?

Let’s get to the root of this, do you want to have put behind the dreams of motherhood, the sadness and grief OR do you still want to be dragging them behind you like a ball and chain?

Be honest and if the answer is you don’t want to put it behind you, you’re in the wrong place. I can’t help you. Sorry.

And (sorry, here’s the second tough question), something you’re doing is holding you where you are now, so are you willing to give that up? Ask yourself:

What are you willing to give up, in order to have what you really want?

Are you willing to give up hiding, secrecy, staying in shame, are you willing to give up being proud and ask for help maybe?

Trust me, there IS something special waiting on the other side but it can’t come in because there’s no room for it to grow. Think about it; you can’t plant new flowers in your garden until you make a space for them can you? And life is the same. This life you’re living now is taking up too much room, and the new can’t come in until you make space for it to grow.

And while you on a roll, ask yourself

Who you want to BE in five years and how do you want to feel? Make a list of the qualities you’d like to have, the values you want to be living to.

Maybe you had some of them in the past and they’ve got lost or maybe there are new qualities you’d like to adopt. Write them all down.

So by now you’ll have a list, you may want to mull this over for a while or maybe you got it all down the first time. And once you have your final vision, do something creative with it so you can see it every day because then it will seep into your unconscious mind. And your unconscious mind is like a finely tuned radar and will search out opportunities for you to move towards your dreams.

And now it’s crunch time (I’m sorry, I know I’m asking some tough questions this week, but you know I only have your best interests in mind.)

This week do me a favour please; do yourself a favour and take one step towards your dreams, a tiny step or a big step it doesn’t matter, do something that starts to take you away from where you are now and towards the life you want.

take the step

Because that step just might be the most important one.

One thing is certain, time will pass. In five years do you want to be and have everything that you’ve written on your list, or would you rather be in exactly the same place thinking ‘I wish I’d made the effort’?

It’s your choice.

My five year plan is still evolving. Doing this exercise confirmed that there are many things and people in my life that I love and want to remain. And there are some things that I want to do less of and others I want to add. I really want to continue my own personal development, to take more better of me, to spend more time reading, to travel, and to do more creative projects.

What about you? What do you want your life to be like in five years? Who do you want to be in five years?

Please share below to inspire others (you don’t have to use your own name)


8 thoughts on “Where do you want to be in 5 years?”

  1. Wow! Lesley, this is a punchy one. I like it a lot. It’s got me thinking about how I have an aversion to making big changes. I’m quite good at talking about the ideas to my friends or going off on retreats and mapping them all out…..but do I get into action and get them rolling and happening?…NO is the answer to that question!
    I’m like my Mum in truth. She drove me mad with her immobility (mostly psychological)….and here I am, much the same.
    Thanks Lesley, you have reminded me of how stuck I can get. Action is what we need, at the end of the day, isn’t it?

    Take care
    Priya x

    • Thanks Priya, yes action is what we need & it doesn’t have to be big, a small step in the right direction will be as effective as a large one.
      And maybe when we have big plans & map them all out we get into overwhelm & don’t know where to start,so breaking things down into small steps is just what we need.
      Lesley x

  2. Great post Lesley. I absolutely agree. Thank you also for all your support for my swim. In five years time I hope to be able to say ‘I’m a Channel Swimmer!’ – amongst many other things! Jessica x

    • You’re welcome Jessica, I have the utmost respect and admiration for what you’re doing and I certainly hope that you will be able to say that in days or weeks!
      Lesley x

  3. Gulp! It’s often the way that the things we don’t particularly want to hear, or make us feel uncomfortable hearing, are the very things we NEED to hear! I’ve always had an aversion to things like a ‘5 year plan’ and prefer instead to journal my thoughts and dreams and that seems to works better for me. I love the image of our unconscious minds being like ‘a finely tuned radar’ searching out opportunities to move us towards our dreams. But of course, as Priya said, at the end of the day what we need is ACTION.
    Karen x
    Karen recently posted…How Does a Complete Stranger Become Your Paying Client?My Profile

  4. I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s post you reference when she posted it and it cut me like a knife – as I know for sure, wherever I want to be in 5 years time, and WHO I want to be in 5 years time, ad WHAT I want to be in 5 years time, is not the place, the me and the what I am living now. Interestingly, last week I was advised I need to make a “Cosmic Order” telling the Universe exactly what it was I was seeking so it could assist me in bringing it towards me in the form of ideas and opportunities. So I wrote a few ideas down. The last week has been quite astounding in the weird an wonderful ways in which it has responded to my request. This resulted in me just this morning taking “The first step”, (this was before I read your article above), and I rather presumptuously invited myself to visit a friend on the other side of the world in Melbourne, something I had been talking about for years but done nothing about. It felt exciting, like the thing I was meant to be doing, like the Universe planted the seed in my head to then act upon.

    Anyway, this lunchtime I came across your email in my inbox and read you article. It just reinforces that it is all up to me, I have this space in my life I didn’t expect to have and, by hook or by crook, it is entirely up to me to fill it, and to fill it with good stuff. I don’t know where it will lead, but as of today, I am starting to feel excited about finding out.

    • Thanks Sarah,
      I’m so pleased that what I wrote helped you & also that you’ve moved on from when you wrote your story for us.
      I hadn’t heard of the term ‘Cosmic order’ before & I absolutely get what you mean, writing down what we want is very powerful & in your case the start of something magical.
      I feel your determination and enthusiasm, & I know this is the first step of many.
      Please keep us posted on your progress.
      Lesley x


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