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Dear Dr. Rob: Should I Really Make a 5-Year Plan for My Life?

By Dr. Rob Carpenter:

Everyone seems to have a "master plan," but the question is: does anybody ever follow it?

The quick answer is: not really.

But this statement needs to be qualified just a little bit: most people do have a "plan" (i.e., they set goals or "wishes" or "hopes" in their mind and sometimes on paper), but they very rarely do more than this. And the consequences are that they achieve much less than what they are truly capable of.

Part of the reason for this is because most people are too busy or too preoccupied to think about how to reach their goals or live their dreams. They're too distracted by the urgent, which makes them unable to focus on the strategic and important and create a cohesive plan for how to go after what they want in life.

But if people saw that they could literally achieve most of their dreams and goals not by creating a "master plan to achieve things" but instead by creating a "master vision of self," they could put themselves in a much stronger position to achieve all that their talents make them capable of.

When people create a "master vision of self," for example, they don't just keep a bucket list of things they want to do or accomplish; they define who they want to become as an individual because they realize everything they will ever do in life will flow from their personal identity.

In other words, because they understand that people will always do things that are consistent with who they are (i.e., they make plans and achieve things consistent with their identity), they know everything else will fall into place if they first create a vision for themselves and thereby eliminate the notion that they may not be good enough to achieve their dreams or are just an imposter if they do.

To create a "master vision of self" in your own life (say you see yourself as a happy and confident person who runs their own profitable business and has a great spouse and great life), all of you have to do is set daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals that relate to your personal development.

For example: You set a goal to read or work out or attend seminars for a certain amount of time (each day, week, etc.) because your improved knowledge and health will make you a better, wiser, and more strategic person who can accomplish more professionally, or even socially, because your identity is rooted in growth and achievement as an individual. An individual who sees themselves as an achiever will most likely achieve their goals because that is who they are.

While this might seem too easy or too good to be true, it's one of the secrets of success for many people, myself included. Once I started taking my own personal development seriously (and not just taking my "professional development" or socializing seriously), I transformed as a person and became much healthier and stronger in every aspect of my life. I no longer needed to create 5-year plans or master plans; all I needed was to create a vision for who I wanted to be, and everything else fell into place. You can do the same if you want to grow into the best version of yourself who is capable of achieving all that I know you can.


Dr. Rob is an author, filmmaker, and host of The Dr. Rob Show. He advises celebrities, pro athletes, and everyday people on how to live their best lives and has been published in The Oxford Business Review and The Harvard Journal for Public Health, among others. His book, The 48 Laws of Happiness: Secrets Revealed For Becoming the Happiest You, is available where books are sold.

Read our interview with Dr. Rob here!

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