Five year plans give us a sense of purpose, ambition and determination, but there are times when it’s ok to stray from the path or avoid it altogether.


I will never be the type of person who books a holiday 6 / 12 months in advance. I have always taken a more relaxed, less regimented approach when it comes to my life outside of work. I really don’t like the feeling of having my life planned out so far in advance – it makes me feel a little… claustrophobic, I guess.

I used to bristle somewhat when people would ask me “where do you see yourself in a year’s time”, “when are you having kids” or “where do you see yourself in five years”. I never know how to answers these questions, because quite frankly I don’t have the answers yet.

And do you know what? I think it’s okay to not have the answers.

I now say “I don’t exactly know” with confidence, because I don’t want or need to be limited by a plan.

There is so much pressure to know exactly where we are going in life and to have a specific route to get there. The problem with this is, that it creates extremely narrow expectations, thus causing guilt and confusion if you don’t end up on that path.

When it comes to my business and daily work, I have goals I want to achieve, I even have timeframes for when I’d like to achieve them – I am all for plans, but I don’t think I’d ever have a complete five year plan in place for my life, because I feel it’d serve the opposite purpose than it’s intended. By limiting yourself to specific timeframes (eg: married by 30, kids by 31) you discount how much change & growth you will experience in that time. How can you possibly know where you will be by then if you’re only in your 20s now? Five years ago I was 20, and an idiot. I don’t want that idiot setting goals for me.

Sure, you can give your best educated guess and it’s great to set yourself goals, just give yourself some room to maximise other opportunities that aren’t in your plans along the way, because who knows where or what or who they will lead to? Five years is a small window to expect some major life success or life changes. Your goals should grow as you grow.

Don’t get me wrong: over-the-top life planning comes from a good place. We all just want the best for ourselves, but none of us know what the future holds. Life is all about putting yourself out there, trying new things, and creating your own future.

I have had a few people ask me lately “what will you do after blogging?”. My answer to that is “we don’t even know what jobs will be created or eliminated 5 or even 10 years from now”. When I began blogging I didn’t realise I could turn it into a job. I just starting writing and kept myself busy with meeting new people, improving our work and then made the bold move to go full-time because it felt right. For now I have a loose set of goals for myself and the most important thing is to keep learning, keep improving and to work hard. For me, blogging has never been the end goal.

Writing this piece today has made me look back to where I was five years ago. Now I want you to think back to who you were five years ago. For me I was a completely different person than who I am today, with different ideas about the world, who I am as a person and the direction I want my life to go in. Also: as I said, I was an idiot

There’s something beautiful about the unpredictable, so have goals, and if it works for you, have a five year plan – hell have a ten or fifty year plan, but please give yourself sufficient room to change those goals and room to grow. Most importantly: remember to live your life and don’t let your plans or goals get in the way of that.




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Author: Ally Carey

Hi, I am Ally, a writer and creative at Substance. I have worked in the fashion industry for 6+ years as a model and now on Substance. Substance is a lifestyle blog about fashion, beauty, health and self-improvement; hoping to inspire you to live a life filled with Substance. For more: @AllyMayCarey

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