5 Year Personal Development Plan

Where will you be in 5 years? What will your life be like? What will you do for a living? These are questions that many of us think about this time of year. When I look back at previous choices that I have made in my life I realize what profound differences a simple decision can make.


I am currently reading a simple but profound little book entitled “Don’t Eat the Marshmallow Yet!” Author Joachim de Posada, a world-renowned motivational speaker, writes about a landmark Stanford University study of children who were able to delay gratification in the form of a marshmallow they’d been given to eat with the promise that they’d be rewarded with an additional marshmallow if they resisted eating the first one for fifteen minutes. Revisited ten years later, the children who held out had grown up to be significantly more successful than those who had eaten their marshmallow immediately.

When most people think about “success” the subject of “delayed gratification” rarely comes up yet as Joachim points out in the book it may be the single most important decision you can make on your life journey. The decision to say “I pass” so we can say “I won” is significant.

A simple decision to put away $50 a week instead of spending it now on frivolous things can lead to a significant savings account over the period of a few years. A decision to save for a down payment on a house instead of moving to a larger apartment has created many prosperous property owners. The decision to finish school instead of taking that entry level job may pay big dividends.

As Joachim puts is so succinctly in his book; Successful people are willing to do things that unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.

Why not take a few minutes today and create a 5 year personal development plan for yourself. Visualize yourself as successful and write down your passions and visions of your life 5 years from now. Write down what you see in your mind. Only a small percentage of the population ever set goals for their lives, yet the ones that do have much greater success than those that don’t. Develop a marshmallow mindset and develop some long term habits that will take you to your destination.

My daughter and son-in-law gave me this book for Christmas. I want to say “Thank You” for the timely wisdom that this little book extols. This is life changing stuff!

To help you get started, why not download our free Goal Setting Toolkit.


Question: What items will be on your 5 year personal development plan?


  1. says

    I do agree with all of the above….just a thought….is it possible that some of the most successful people in the world are also the most impatient? Some may choose to eat the marshmellow and then go and locate more marshmellows somewhere else, in a quicker amount of time than those who wait obediently for the reward to come to them!

    Just a thought though…. great site!

  2. Mike T. says

    Good point. I personally would take the marshmellow, invest it, diversify my holdings into cholate bars and graham crackers and then eventually be able to retire with a tasty smore.

    But from what I have seen at my current level in the job world there is definately a ‘sweet spot’ for the amount of time being employed in one job in terms of how that looks on your resume for your next job.

    It can look just as bad being at the same job for too many years as it does jumping from job to job. The trick is to figure out how long that sweet spot is for your industry and position.

  3. Bre Grubbs says

    Glad you liked the book Dad! Kyle and I certainly did – thanks for sharing it with all of your fellow bloggers.

  4. says

    I agree with this. Emotional IQ can have a great effect on the outcome of one’s life. Success can be built on a strong emotional IQ level. The unfortunate side, is that typically a lot people with low emotional IQ’s that should be living in the streets are thrown all the lucky bones in life. They still end up at the top for one reason or another. For the most part, I’ve found that a good emotional IQ will keep you out of financial debt.

  5. Bob K. says

    Useful article. I have been a lousy leader most of my life. I haven’t even known where I’m going myself! I didn’t know that you start at the end. That makes complete sense to me. When I tried it starting from the beginning, each year got filled with more and more variables. Thank you so much. This is a useful article, and while I’m sure you’re trying to sell that book, it was very relevant to my keywords entered into Ask.com which was “how do I write a personal five year plan?” (just fyi.) and the info was useful.
    Bob K.

  6. says

    This is an interesting and informative post. I am interested in checking out the book. I like to think about success in regard to motivation. Specifically, intrinsic motivating factors. I also wrote about coming up with a five year plan on my blog today, with the goal of the 5 year plan being to find a job that you absolutely love.

  7. says

    Hi John,
    You can’t reach your destination without a road map, so it stands to reason you won’t reach your goals without a plan. Thanks for sharing this post with the BizSugar community. Hope you continue to participate!

  8. says

    I love this. When I look in my future I see really great things. I plan to be financially secure and have a great relationship with my family and friends. I think the five year plan is a great way to go… first I need a dream, vision, then goals. Sometimes I’m not sure exactly what I want to be completely fulfilled in life. I think many young people are still trying to find their purpose. Great post! Thank you so much for sharing.

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