My Unconventional 'Five Year Plan'


Have you ever had a family member or a friend asking you what you plan to do next with your life, or whether you plan to settle down soon? Have you had that look of shock, or pity when you've said you aren't sure, or when you've said you don't plan to do what they hoped? Yeah, me too! Lets face it, pretty much everyone is expected to have a five year plan... or at least something similar to show the world that we have some sort of the plan for the future so nobody has to panic... or worse pity us.

We have this preconception of what we should be doing at certain points in our lives, and if we go against expectations we usually don't get the best reactions. There is so much pressure now for us to go to University and have a life and career before a family that anyone who doesn't conform is seen to be failing... and feeling like you're failing sucks. I was 17 when I settled down into a serious relationship, and 18 when I fell pregnant. You'd think doomsday had just arrived by the way of everyone reacted. Everyone was ridiculously disappointed, and I lost count of the amount of people who said to me I had ruined my life, that I would end up a single mother and that I would never make it through college. Five years later I'm married to my daughters Dad and about to start a fully funded 1+3 ESRC studentship in September which will see my get my Masters and my PhD. So even though I didn't do things the conventional way... I like to think I'm still doing well despite what everyone else thought.

This is entirely my point though. Everything about my life has been backwards and against the grain and because of this everyone thought I was a lost cause... but I wasn't. It is this sort of pressure to conform to a set way of living life that makes me shudder at the thought of the kind of five year plan that is rigid and makes someone feel like a failure if they can't achieve it. For so long I was depressed because of what everyone else thought of my life choices which made me see myself as a failure. Nobody wants, or needs to feel like that! I figured out pretty quickly though that I needed some sort of plan to keep me motivated and to stop my depression from holding me back. So I put together a five year plan with a difference. One that isn't about set long term goals that must be achieved each year, but one that is based around things I would like to achieve at some point in the next five years.

The point of a plan for me, is to keep me motivated and to remind me that I achieve little things all the time. If I don't manage something within five years... then it's not the end of the world. There is no point in getting down about not achieving one thing, when you are achieving others that you might not have even thought of. Don't get me wrong, not all plans of this sort are rigid and full of pressure, but enough are for me to tell myself that isn't what I want from any future plans.

So, after all this waffling I bet you are wondering what my plan actually is! I decided to give myself five goals that I'd like to achieve in the next five years, but as I sat and thought about it I realised that there was only really four things that I could think of that I really wanted to achieve... so in keeping with my flexible, laid back plan just went with these four:

1. Buy a new (better) car
This is pretty essential given that my car is ten years old now so is definitely going to need replaced in the next five years. Does having this on my list technically make me a cheat? I've changed it to 'better' just in case!

2. Pass my MA Quantitative Research exam
I've never gotten on well with Maths, yet keep having to do quantitative exams! Talk about bad luck. My Masters modules will mean I have to sit a two hour quants exam... and I am terrified! Passing this would make my day... no, my year!

3. Save towards a house deposit
We've moved so much over the years as students, but have gotten settled in our current home. We are lucky enough that the rent is less than it was before, so I'd like to save the extra that we used to pay on rent towards a house deposit. Even if we only manage to do this now and again it will seriously help us get closer to buying our forever family home!

4. Get to and maintain my target weight
Five years is a pretty reasonable time scale to lose two stone in. The key thing for me is maintaining the weight loss. I always fluctuate and regain it but as I get older I want to make sure I am happy and healthy and around as long as possible for my little lady. I'd like to get this done within a year really, but in fairness I've been saying that for years!

Overall, I feel like these goals are pretty realistic. I might not manage to save much towards a house deposit - that's definitely going to be the hardest one - but anything is something! At the end of the day, anything I don't achieve can just roll onto my next plan... if it is even still all that important to me! Over time things change, and priorities change. What's important to me now, might not be in two, or five years, so might not even be a part of my 'plan' anymore and that's still okay.

So, do you have a five year plan? Is it flexible like mine, or pretty rigid? If you don't, what keeps your motivated and focused? Let me know in the comments below!


Much love,

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48 comments

  1. I've got a half-written blog post on this exact topic! Whoever said you'd ruined your life by having your gorgeous little one should be eating their words now - you've made so much of your life :*

    Philippa | www.pipsydoodles.co.uk

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    1. Get it up! I've missed seeing you post... and thank you! You've just got to do what is right for you! Looking forward to seeing your post on this :)

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  2. I can't tell you how much I love this. The pressure people put on you in your twenties to be following a set path and doing the "normal thing" gives me so much anxiety. It's really inspiring to see someone like you prove that you don't have to fit into a mold to live a great life. Thanks so much for this, I'm gonna go write my own unconventional 5 year plan!
    Steph x.
    marvelsteph.blogspot.co.nz

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    1. This absolutely warms my heart. Our generation experiences so much more pressure than those before us and its enough to make people ill. As cheesy as it sounds, be who you want to be and do what you want to do. If you do that, you'll be happy... it doesn't matter if other people are. Let me know once its posted, I'd love to read it!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  3. This was a really neat read. I've been thinking about my five year goals a lot recently too. I must admit I was very happy to find they are quite similar to yours - I worried that I was being unrealistic, haha! A car, house deposit, health/fitness and further study are all currently on my to do list too. I'm also going to take a leaf out of your book and attempt to be as flexible with my goals as possible. I often let myself feel too bogged down with things, when really my life is exactly what I make it and I need to understand that things take time/my ideal path will change! :-)

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    1. Thank you! Sometimes it can feel like we are expecting too much for ourselves. Goals are just that... goals. Not deadlines. Goals can be moved to suit the life you are living now... especially if that makes your life happier and less stressful! Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  4. Amazing to hear what people said to you when you fell pregnant. It must have been hard at the time, but well done you for keeping your balance! Your goals are great, enough to keep you on track and moving in the right direction.

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    1. It truly was... but I honestly feel like in some ways it made me push myself even more to prove them wrong. Thank you, and thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  5. Great goals! It's quite important to have goals and work to achive them. But it's also important to keep in mind that life doesn't always go the way we want to so flexibilities and acceptance is needed. I have experince similar things - people are asking me when I'm going to do something that they expect me to do.

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    1. Just focus on doing what you want to do... other peoples expectations have too much of an influence these days! Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  6. I completely resonated with this despite not being a mother myself. Everyone always told me that I couldn't make money from writing yet here I am making money. I wish that others would realize that not everyone has a conventional plan and honestly I think you are an inspiration. Its amazing that you are still with your partner xx

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    1. Well done! It feels so amazing to prove people wrong and achieve something important. Thank you, thats such a lovely thing to say. Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  7. These are great goals. Keep going. You're a fighter. I'm glad to hear about how it turned out for your family and your pursuit of education! Like other commenters have said, you are truly an inspiration.

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    1. Thank you! Hopefully this post will help inspire others to keep going regardless of what others say! Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  8. I think you have a good plan and those are very reasonable goals. I am sure you will be able to meet them. I can understand about getting pregnant and "people's comments" I heard enough from my dad and mother in law when I got pregnant.

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    1. It is a real shame how many people are judgemental rather than supportive. I hope you let it go over your head. Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  9. These sound like achievable goals. Good luck!

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  10. I like your goals. It's good to have a direction to head in but it's also good to be flexible because so much can change.

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    1. I totally agree. It really helps keep me focused when I need a little push. Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  11. Love this post, it sums up exactly why we should never compare our milestones to other peoples. I'm in my mid 30's now and my life is very different to most of my friends, but that doesn't mean it's any better or worse, I've just taken a different path. Happiness is a journey not a destination!

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    1. You've hit the nail on the head! Different doesn't automatically mean better. Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  12. I love that you showed everyone that they were wrong by achieving so much in life! It's really amazing that you did all this and that you're aiming for more. I hope everything goes well in the next 5 years!

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    1. There is always something to strive for. It is what makes life so interesting. Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  13. Car has been deleted in my list. Hehe. Hoping to finish my Master's soon for more time in traveling. I am willing to invest more in leisure. haha.

    you can do all these, girl! :)

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    1. Congratulations you lucky girl! I've started to properly look for one now. Very exciting. I hope to travel once my little girl is older also. Leisure is so worth the investment. Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  14. I am such a planner maybe too much of a planner! Your goals are great and a it's good to have things to look forward to. Best of luck

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    1. Planning is so therapeutic... just make sure you don't let it control you! Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  15. One of my mentor told me to write my 5 years goal plans on an Excel sheet and my role of action to achieve it without telling anyone. Try to view that Excel sheet daily as a constant reminder to achieve your goals! And it worked for me!

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    1. What a good idea! I'll be making a Gantt chart to keep me on track with my PhD! They are fab! Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  16. Congratulations on your child and hubby and entering into the program to get your Masters! You are a great example of continuing to move forward despite what others say and think!

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    1. Thank you so much. I really hope this helps others realise we aren't as constrained in life as some would have us think. Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  17. I hate that people told you you ruined your life. How insensitive. You are so right that there is no one path but that we should set out what is best for us to work towards.

    Nina
    aworldofdresses.com

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    1. I wouldn't change my life for anything. I am not actually in contact with some of those who said those things, and I am so much happier for it. Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  18. I think that people should not interfere with other's life. I don't fit the norm, I don't have a family, I don't own a house or have a driving license and I am 29 years old. Almost all of my highschool colleagues are married, have children and have a stable life, in routine. My goals are different, I want to see the world and earn money. Why should others tell me that this is not normal if this is the life that makes me happy?

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    1. Nobody should tell you that isn't normal. Go out and see the world. You know what you want from your life, and it is nobody elses place to tell you otherwise. Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  19. Omg! I love it... That's really amazing how you wrote this post in such an original way! Your story is very inspiring!

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  20. Love this post, your story inspires me very much. X

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    1. Thank you so much! Even if I motivate just one person, that is enough :) Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  21. I think these are fabulous goals to work on I wish you the best while achieving them

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    1. Thank you, I've tried to stay realistic! Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  22. number 4 is actually one that catches my attention, good to know you have this on this list, hard sometimes to keep up to but necessary and a def to keep to. great list, great post. thanks for sharing.

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    1. It really is a difficult one to stick too. I've managed to lose a stone over the past month or so since writing this (slowly and steadily, which seems to be so much easier to keep off. Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  23. I love that you are giving yourself 5 years to achieve these. I think that's a fantastic time frame.

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    1. Hopefully enough time to achieve it all! Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  24. A great read and your goals are practical and doable. Often times we make goals for ourselves that just serve to frustrate us. These I can see you accomplishing. Good luck with them.

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    1. I totally agree, our goals can become so constricting. Thank you so much. I'm definitely optimistic. Thanks for reading!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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