Creating a 5-Year Plan for Your Medical Career

A five-year plan is a long-term, strategic plan for reaching your specific medical career plans. Goal setting can improve your life while creating structure in your daily routine. Five years is ideal because it is far enough in the future that the planner can make life changes, but close enough so the planner can begin working toward the goals immediately. If you take the time to identify the concrete skills you would like to improve, experiences you want to enjoy, or the challenges you would like to overcome, you will find that goal setting can help make these a reality. Writing your plan will take careful planning and significant introspection. However, the benefits are certainly worthwhile.

The Big Picture

Begin with your macro goal. This first step considers what you want to achieve with your medical career and your ultimate goal. It will guide you and help set the direction for the rest of the plan. It is essential that you make your big goal as specific as possible.

Micro Goals

Consider where you are now in your medical career and what you will need to reach your end goal. Make your goals incremental so you get a sense of achievement. Make sure your goals are a measurement of progress toward your overall aim. Micro goals will give each day a sense of purpose while you move toward your end goal. Additionally, micro goals will help to keep your motivation high as you check them off your list.

Set Attainable Goals

It is crucial that you set attainable goals or you might demoralize yourself. Think about the practicalities that your plan requires and list everything you need to help yourself succeed. It is prudent to keep a running list of tasks broken down into small, simple chunks to help give you a sense of momentum.

Keep It Real

The medical career goals that you set must be realistic given your time, knowledge and resources. A goal must represent an intention you are willing to work toward to be practical. You are the only one who can determine how important your goal should be, so ensure there is a real chance you can achieve it. Make sure your goals are realistic given your aptitude, skills, experience and finances.


It is good to have different time-bound goals from the immediate to the longer-term to see how the small goals fit into the big picture. Remember the following:

  • Immediate goals are things you can execute within a week or two
  • Short-term goals are those achievable within three months
  • Medium-term goals are possible annually
  • Long-term goals are the ones that last beyond a year

Create immediate, short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. Remember to make goals specific, measurable, attainable, time-bound, and have a realistic plan to achieve your medical career goals.

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