Integrating Long Term Goals into Daily Planning

Today’s post is a guest post by Declan Wilson of Millennial Type. I’ve been following Declan for over a year, and I am excited to share a bit of his work with you. Be sure to check out his blog and give him a follow if you’re the self-improvement type!

We tend to over-estimate what we can accomplish in a day, but underestimate how much we can accomplish in a year.

In a year you can take a significant step closer toward your dream. A year ago I was a nobody on the internet. Today, I have a book set to release June 22nd, I’ve grown my blog and Twitter following significantly, and I was offered a side job at a startup. Did I mention I did all of this with a newborn?

On any given day I drop my son off at daycare, go to work, cook dinner, run errands, get my son to bed, and relax with my wife. In the small margins of my day I utilize my time to write, create, and connect. Sometimes this means sacrificing sleep.


Some days I feel like super dad/husband/creative. Other days I can hardly get anything done. When people ask how I seem to have more time now than before the baby, I give them the same answer Emily does:

“I don’t have any more hours in the day now than I did three years ago. None of us do.”

I don’t have less time now that I’m a dad, I just have to be more intentional with the time available. Especially when it comes to the daunting task of chasing my dream of self-employment.

So even with a solid practice of daily planning, how does one map out her longer term BIG goals?

Easy, follow the 5x5x5 rule: set a baseline goal this year and scale it by a factor of 5 for the next three years.

When I set my goals at the beginning of last year, I aimed too low. I wanted to hit 100 subscribers on my blog (I started with 17) thinking my potential to attract new readers was low. I hit my goal a few short months later.

We are often afraid of big goals because they seem insurmountable. The same applies to chasing our dream. We neglect them or give up because they seem so far out of reach.

That’s what makes the 5x5x5 rule an attractive option – the ability to take small steps, develop habits, then scale after a year.

Using my blog subscribers goal as an example, I gained (drum roll please) 165 subscribers in 2015. That’s why for 2016 I set a goal to earn another 825. Currently I’m well behind my goal-pace, but it’s okay, I’m learning and reiterating as I go along this year. I’d rather fall short of reaching 825 than setting my goal too low and attaining it too easily.

I chunked the 825 into a monthly goal of 68 new subscribers and to a daily goal of 2 to 3 (much more manageable). I then set up daily and weekly processes and habits to help me reach these goals.

When 2017 rolls around, I’ll increase my goal by another factor of 5. I’ll do the same in 2018. After 3 years of this process, I’ll be close to reaching my dream of 5,000 subscribers (which will help me launch my own self-employment gig).

When I think about trying to hit 5,000 subscribers, the quiet doubts in the back of my head begin to raise their voices. But I drown them out by taking it one day at a time.

No matter how insurmountable your goal may appear, no matter how much “lack of time” you seem to have, being intentional with your daily actions will lead to a larger return in the long run.

To review, you can integrate long term goals into your daily planning practice by:

1. Writing out a handful of BIG goals for the year
2. Chunking them into smaller monthly and weekly goals
3. Creating a daily habit to accomplish small chunks
4. Reviewing progress and adjusting accordingly
5. Scaling by a factor of 5 and repeating for another year

Keep Stepping Forward!

Declan Wilson is a writer and blogger with a full-time job on the side. He writes at where he helps Millennials live the life they desire, create the things that matter, persevere over the impossible, and dream of a better future.

His first book, The Millennial Way, is set to launch June 22, 2016. Snag a copy today.


How to Talk to a Minimalist

Dreamer Quote

It’s strange, I really don’t feel like I can call myself a minimalist yet, but for the sake of a short title, I’ll go with it for now. (After all, there is quite the spectrum to minimalism, isn’t there?) In fact, this might be more appropriately called “How to Talk to an Aspiring Minimalist (or Anyone Who Has a Dream)”

I’ve had several conversations lately where people come away feeling confused, inspired, upset, or excited about implementing it themselves. I love leaving people with an emotional reaction to my underway transition, but what I can’t seem to grasp is the people who insist on speaking down to me about it. So, here’s a few tips on how to talk to someone who’s making a lifestyle change, no matter whether it’s minimalism or frugality or whatever floats their particular boat.

Don’t Hate.

Rule #1: don’t mock or needlessly criticize. First of all, we’re not doing this for you anyways. We’re doing it for ourselves and our families because we’ve deemed this to be an important process. I know it’s different. I know some people get defensive about their way of life – we’re not making this change as a comment about you. We’re making this change because we want to make this change.

Ask the Right Questions.

Examples of questions that tend to miss the mark: “That’s impossible. What makes you think you can do this?” “Do you need money? Is that why you’re doing this?” ” [Rolls eyes] You like small houses? But where would you put all your stuff?”

Better questions would center around what about the process of changing your lifestyle is most intriguing to you (for me, it’s a weird mix of environmental, financial, and personal reasons, but mostly, I just love the way I feel without so much stuff). Ask the person making the lifestyle change what their ultimate goal is and don’t criticize it. In an ideal world, you might consider this lifestyle for yourself, even briefly. To each his own.

Give it a Chance.

This is my greatest point. Listen to the dreamer, consider what they’re saying and what makes them passionate about what they’re seeking. Would that be a good life choice for you? No? Then consider if there are things you can learn from this. Nothing? Then allow them to have their passion, acknowledge it, and move on to your own.

Many people, when they find out about my intentions to continue downsizing, feel that they need to justify their current lifestyles. Stop doing that. If it opens up a larger issue in your own life, then consider making a switch yourself. I get this message a lot: “yes, that’s fine and all, but someday you’ll need a bigger house for all your stuff, like ours. You’ll need a basement, and an outbuilding, and extra cars, too. Just like us.”

I’m not afraid to admit: maybe someday I will. But do I need that now?

For the Dreamers.

Don’t always preach to an unwilling audience. You can’t always gather a random group of 20 people and expect them to all love your ideal lifestyle. But here, on a niche blog in the corner of the internet, you can gain momentum. You can find like-minded people who will know how to talk to you. And they’ll inspire you to move further into the life you’ve always dreamed of. Go find them.