How to Create a Realistic 5-Year Plan (Free Templates)

A 5-year plan is an overview of what goals, either in your personal or professional life, you want to achieve over the course of five years, with a detailed description of each goal.

It often includes a timeline of how you will reach these goals and what tools, people, or systems you will use.

Most professionals find it useful to create a 5-year plan as it helps them stay realistic about their aims and objectives. It is a way of planning for the future while facing the reality. However, 5-year plans are not limited to only professionals; anyone who is aiming to achieve specific goals in the next five years might want to make a 5-year plan.

Whether they are looking at starting their own business, going back to school, or just making sure that they keep their focus on what’s important, writing down a five-year plan can greatly help them stay focused on what they need to get done over a given period.

This article will discuss why you may need a 5-year plan, describe the process of making one, and provide free templates that you can customize according to your requirements and print.

5-Year Plan Examples

Free 5 Year Plan Template

Editable 5 Year Plan Example

Downloadable 5 Year Plan Template

Customizable 5 Year Plan Format

Professional 5 Year Plan Example

Comprehensive 5 Year Plan Template

Efficient 5 Year Plan Format

Strategic 5 Year Plan Sample

Actionable 5 Year Plan Template

Effective 5 Year Plan Example

Streamlined 5 Year Plan Template

Structured 5 Year Plan Format

Structured 5 Year Plan Format

Detailed 5 Year Plan Sample

Goal-oriented 5 Year Plan Template

Flexible 5 Year Plan Format

Innovative 5 Year Plan Example

Proactive 5 Year Plan Template

Empowering 5 Year Plan Sample

Integrated 5 Year Plan Format

    Why Do You Need a 5-Year Plan?

    While planning for the future can seem like a daunting task, it is necessary for you to do so. Despite how long five years may seem, they pass very quickly, and it can be easy to get distracted along the way, which could lead to you losing sight of your final goal. A 5-year plan is an excellent way of making sure that you don’t lose sight of your goal over the course of five years.

    One of the biggest advantages of creating a 5-year plan is that you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. You can see both the big picture and the smaller, more detailed things that you need to do along the way. The 5-year plan helps you stay motivated and focused on your goals by providing clear milestones to measure your progress.

    Another benefit of creating a 5-year plan is that it gives you time to think about what you want for yourself and the steps you need to take to get there.

    How it Works?

    Creating a 5-year plan involves making a few simple processes and procedures that work for your specific needs. The first thing that you have to do before creating your 5-year plan is to reflect on your past year and think back on what you accomplished and what you failed to accomplish. This process helps you figure out what needs to be changed for you to accomplish your goals in the upcoming years.

    Below are 8 steps that you should consider when creating a 5- year plan that is tailored to your needs:

    Step 1: Evaluate what you want for your life

    Evaluation of your 5-year plan is an important first step in the process. This step is crucial since it helps you make continuous progress toward your goals and make sure that you take a long-term view of what you want to accomplish. The goal is to figure out what you want in life, not only as far as a career but also in terms of personal priorities like family, spiritual fulfillment, health and well-being, personal relationships, and professional success.

    To properly evaluate your 5-year plan, you need to know what you want. This may seem like a hard task if you have never taken the time to think about what it is that you want in life; however, take the time to do so. Think about whether or not your current job is a good fit for you or if there are other things that you might want to do with your career.

    Visualize yourself in the next 5 years. You can also consult your seniors, match your skills with the jobs at hand or create a job or business for yourself that best suits your interests. After you have made a list of all the things you want in your life, you can narrow it down in the next step.

    Step 2: Identify your potential goals

    Once you have done your evaluation and identified what it is that you want for your life over the next 5-years, the next step is to identify your potential goals. This is a process that you can use to help you think about what your goals should be and how you want to reach them. You may consider looking at your goals from the perspective of life experiences, career and professional growth, financial security, and personal goals.

    Tip: Consider looking at people with similar goals and see what strategies they used to achieve them. You may even consider emailing them and asking them for advice on how to get where they are.

    For example, if you want to start your own business, you can contact the business owner who started and runs their own business.

    Step 3: Research your goals

    In order to be able to make a 5-year plan that really works for you, you need to identify the resources and information that you will need along the way. Researching your goals is an important part of the process since this will help ensure that you are on track and able to follow through with what it is that you want. The goal here is not just to get information but also to learn from others who have already achieved their goals.

    Tip: You may want to look at career-related social media sites like LinkedIn, Google, and other career builder websites to help you establish the right goals for your 5-year plan.

    Step 4: Break down your goals

    Once you have done your research, it is important that you reach out to find where the relevant resources are. You should focus on resources that will help you in the long run. For instance, if you want to start your own business, reaching out to entrepreneurs who have already done that may be worthwhile for you.

    To help you with the process, you will want to break your goals down into smaller steps. This allows you to focus on small sub-sets of essential areas for achieving your goals. You should think about how important each goal is, how specific it needs to be, and how much time needs to be invested in it.

    For example, if your annual goal is starting an IT business in Chicago, your breakdown could look like this:

    • January: Research what Chicago has to offer for IT services
    • February: Create an outline for the business plan and research the business environment
    • March: Start the business (register for the required licenses and certifications)
    • April: Hire a senior developer to head up your team, interview possible employees, and select candidates
    • May: Promote work, meet new clients, and find funding sources
    • June: Open-up shop (expand your team as well as grow your business)
    • July: Continue growing the workforce, advertise online job boards and social pages, etc.

    Tip: Make sure that your goal is ambitious but attainable at the same time. If it is not, then it might be a good idea to look at whether or not this goal could have been accomplished differently in another way.

    Step 5: Refine your goals

    Once you have broken down your goals, it is time to refine them further. First, you should think about whether or not it is possible to accomplish what you want to do within the 5-year time frame. Next, consider using the SMART method to ensure that your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Using this method helps you to ensure that you are realistic about what you want to achieve, and it will also provide the opportunity to adjust your strategy as necessary.

    Step 6: Research how to reach your goals

    The next step is to research how to reach your goals. Just like any other goal, you need to be aware of what it takes to reach your goals and how you can achieve them.

    For example, if your 5-year goal is to start a new business, you need to research the steps to start the business, the legal requirements, and where you will get the money since this is important for any business.

    Likewise, if you want to shift to a new career, you will want to look at how much money you will need to make and how long it will take for your career to grow.

    Step 7: Write the plan or use a template

    Once you have done your research, it is time to write out your 5-year plan. It might consist of just a few paragraphs or more when it comes to something extensive, like starting a new business. You may choose to use a premade template or write everything out on your own from scratch. Premade templates can help you in the long run since they ensure that you follow the right steps and avoid errors.

    When it comes to writing your own plan, use templates that are related to what your goals are in the first place. This will clarify your plan, so you know exactly what it is and how it will work once completed. Regardless of the method you use, it is important to ensure that all the necessary details are incorporated into your 5-year plan.

    Here are a few more templates for the aid:

    Insightful 5 Year Plan Example

    Dynamic 5 Year Plan Template

    Strategic 5 Year Plan Format

    Organized 5 Year Plan Sample

      Step 8: Adjust and revisit as needed

      Once you have your 5-year plan written out, you must regularly revisit it. This ensures that you’re able to keep up with the changes in your life and ensure that your plan stays relevant in your life. As new opportunities come to light, you must ensure they are incorporated into the 5-year plan.

      You will also want to look at how much money and time are required for accomplishing each task. The more resources you have for completing each task, the more likely it is that you will be able to accomplish your goals.

      Checklist for Your Plan

      Crafting the 5-year plan is essential for achieving your goals. Therefore, it is essential to take this step as soon as you determine what you want to achieve in the next five years. However, drafting a 5-year plan from scratch might be hard, especially if you are new to the whole process. That is why it is good to have a template to follow. While there are many templates that you can choose from, you must select one that best suits your requirements.

      Here are some of the key components that should be included in any 5-year plan template that you use:


      This is one of the most important aspects you want to consider for your 5-year plan. You will want to make sure that you maintain good health to accomplish the goals you want in life. While this part of your plan may sound very simple, you will make all sorts of changes in the future, especially if there is a major health crisis or something similar. It is also good to include an exercise and nutrition plan for yourself.


      In any 5-year plan template, you will want to include how your relationships will change over the next 5 years. Consider which relationships you want to keep and which ones you want to abandon or replace. This will ensure that there will not be any issues in your relationships throughout the entire planning period.


      Money is important when it comes to achieving any of your set objectives. It might be hard to make a 5-year plan without considering how much money you will make or use. You will want to estimate how much you will make over the course of the next five years or at least some of your income sources that will be utilized. You might also want to consider setting up a budget to stay within your means and still have a life. You can roughly estimate the amount you want to spend on everyday expenses, utility bills, and groceries, and how much you want to invest and save. 


      You must decide which career or business you will pursue during the next 5 years. Writing down each of your goals is essential in this step. Then you need to list what type of profession or business you want to pursue in the future. This will allow you to be better prepared when deciding which career to pursue.

      Personal/Spiritual/Religious development

      You will need to consider how you want to develop as a person in the business and personal sense. This will ensure that you consider your personal development when planning for each step. In addition, you may want to consider not just the business side of things but also the spiritual and religious side of things. This is because this part of your life is important for your overall growth.


      The next item that should be captured in your 5-year plan template is a plan regarding the environment, organization, and space that you live in. You should include how you want it to look in the future and how you want to maintain it. This will help ensure that your immediate environment is what you want it to be throughout the next five years.


      When preparing your 5-year plan template, you will want to consider what your hobbies or entertainment options will be in the future. This is because life would be pretty boring if you completely ignore all the recreational and fun activities. In addition, you should include how much time you want to dedicate to each recreational and fun activity you enjoy in your life.


      This is a very important part of the 5-year plan template. You will want to include how you will contribute to the world around you in terms of your service and contribution. This is particularly vital if you are a part of a group or organization. You will also want to mention what type of groups or organizations you want to be a part of in the future. This can help ensure that your contributions are meaningful and effective and increase your focus on your service and contribution.

      List of all skills and experiences

      Next, you will want to include in your 5-year plan template how you will use your skills and experiences to achieve your goals. This is important because it gives you a better idea of what experience and skills you will need to succeed in the future. It also ensures that there are no skills or experiences you do not have that could be useful for achieving your goals.

      Transferable skills

      If you plan to make a career change, this is an important part of your 5-year plan template. You will want to include the transferable skills you have that are useful in the new career you plan to pursue. This is because the transferable skills you have can make learning new skills and techniques easier. You will also be able to utilize them effectively when doing something else.

      Examples of Achievable Plans

      To help you better understand how to create an effective 5-year plan, below are examples that you can use for inspiration.

      Example 1

      GoalsYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5
      Career Do research on IT business  Register the IT businessAdd staff members to the IT BusinessAdd staff members to the IT BusinessAdvertise the business on major platforms
      Financial Source for funds from XYZ bankInject funds from savings and loansInject funds from savings and loansInject funds from savings and profitsInject funds from profits
      Health Register for Gym sessionsAttend gym sessionsAttend gym sessionsAttend gym sessionsAttend gym sessions
      Recreation/FunVisit ItalyVisit SpainTour the CityVisit Central ParkVisit Maasai Mara
      Service/Contribution Join Help a Child Foundation (HCF)Contribute to HCFContribute to HCFContribute to HCFContribute to HCF
      Skills & Experiences IT Django Adobe    
      Transferable Skills Problem Solving Leadership. Adaptability Teamwork. Communication      

      Example 2

      Goals Create Mobile Application
       Year 1Create the outline and look for people to help
      Year 2Implement the outline and start coding. After that, ensure that the app is running
      Year 3Source for funding from ABC bank
      Year 4 Advertise on Social platforms
      Year 5Increase staff members

      Best Practices to Follow

      There are several key things that you need to include in your 5-year plan template to be as effective as possible. These key points are important because they can make the difference between achieving your objectives and missing them altogether.

      We have provided you with a list of these key points below so that you can make the most out of your plan:

      Keep the plan updated

      Make sure to go through each category in your 5-year plan and update it every so often. This will ensure that the plan is effective and you stay on track with your goals.

      Be as specific as possible

      In a 5-year plan, it is important to be as specific as possible regarding the details of your projects and goals. This can help you focus on the right things and make sure that you achieve them.

      Identify the most important item(s) on the list

      In order to make sure that your plan is effective, you need to identify the most important items on the list. In addition, you need to be sure that they are listed in order of importance; this will make it easier for you to rank your goals and tasks.

      Narrow your focus

      When you write your 5-year plan, it is important to narrow your focus because this will help you to be able to identify the most suitable projects and goals that are going to improve your situation the most.

      Use realistic timelines

      It would be best to use realistic timelines when you write your plan. This way, you will be able to take into account the variables and situations that can cause your timeline to change so that you can be ready for them when they happen.

      Cross things out as soon as you accomplish them

      When you write your 5-year plan, it is essential to cross things out as soon as you accomplish them. This is because this can help remind you of the goals you have accomplished and boost your future motivation.

      Memorize the highlights for job interviews

      When you write your plan, it is crucial to memorize the highlights for job interviews. This way, you will be able to cite your accomplishments and level of experience with these projects.

      Consult examples or use templates

      The best and the most effective way to draft a great 5-year plan is to consult examples or use templates. Examples and templates can help you create a plan perfectly tailored to your needs and goals.

      Final Thoughts

      A 5-year plan template is a good way to outline your goals and plans, especially when planning to get a new job or start a new career. The templates that can be found on this site can help you create an effective 5-year plan. As mentioned earlier, there are several things that you need to consider and use when drafting your plan. These suggestions should help you achieve your objectives in the long run and ensure that the plan benefits you.

      About This Article

      Julie Ross
      Authored by:
      Market Research, Business Planning, Financial Modeling, Project Management
      Julie Ross is a seasoned expert in market research, financial modeling, and business planning. With over two decades under her belt, she's honed her skills in Excel and Google Sheets, crafting in-depth models. She stands out with her adeptness in exhaustive market research, resulting in robust, visually compelling business plans with realistic financials. Beyond planning, Julie has managed multi-million dollar projects for Fortune 500 companies and startups, supported by an MBA and a Scrum Master certification. Her multifaceted expertise ensures holistic solutions for business challenges.

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