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.

Planning.jpg

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 millennialtype.com 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.

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On Quitting

I quit another job last week.

I’m a typical millennial in that aspect – I have quit a job every year since I graduated (2013, 2014 and 2015). People like to paint millennials as non-committal because of how often we quit, but we’re really just trying to speed up the process of finding our place in the world.

I love this piece in the Atlantic about how job-hopping in your 20s can lead to more fulfilling work in your 30s and 40s.

Take a risk, make a change.

Don’t call me a quitter

I’ve heard so often about how important it is to add years of experience to your resume before moving on to the next job. But what if it’s a job, like many millennials face, that’s not worth it?

My first job out of college was at the most soul-sucking company I can imagine. Everyone walked around in a daze and I was known for being the girl who actually laughed at work – it was so quiet, the whole floor could hear me laughing and telling stories. One day, a coworker literally threw his hands up in the air and yelled “THAT’S IT. I hate my job. I hate this. I hate this place. I hate my job.” (He’s still there after almost ten years).

My second job was a little better, but had massive layoffs before, during and after my time there. It became a place where you feared for your job on a daily basis.

My most recent work was tedious, remote work that mainly served as a filler for our move out west. No real complaints there. In this last case, it was just time to move on.

But what I’m saying is that my story is not unique – so many young people are facing underemployment or finding themselves in companies that don’t respect them. There’s such negativity about young people being flaky and quitting jobs after only a year or two, but since when did moving yourself forward become a bad thing?

Maybe you should quit too

Quitting is liberating.

Years ago, I read The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin and quit my first job just a few weeks later. His words about picking yourself and his cautions against flying too low stuck with me. It made me realize that I was in control.

Do you find yourself dreading each workday or stressing out on Sunday evenings because Monday is just around the corner? Is there more than just a paycheck waiting for you at the end of the day, or are you unfulfilled in your work?

I know quitting and changing is not easy. But would you rather dread your work or do put in the work of searching for another job? And what if that next job turns out to be no better? Take charge of your life and be fearless in your pursuit of a job you are excited about doing.

At times like these, I turn to Seth Godin for guidance on what to do – here are some quotes of his that might help you quit:

My next move

I’ve been pretty quiet here on the blog for the last couple of weeks and that’s because I’ve been working on transitioning more time to my other gig as a data management coordinator (a fancy name for “make sure the data is where it needs to be when it needs to be there”).

This means I have a few extra hours and a little more mental energy each week for blogging! But the best news? I get to enjoy work-free weekends with my husband and explore this cool city we’ve called home for almost ten months.

So if you’re feeling stuck, polish up your resume and send it out to a couple new jobs this week. What’s the worst that could happen?

The One-Hour Vacation

Do you have a spare hour today? Block it out. You’re going on vacation.

But how? Check this out: I’m writing this post while making waves with my feet in a dreamy blue pool. I’m wearing an absurdly happy summer dress and soaking up some sun in 70-something degree weather.

I am one block away from my apartment.

My morning at the pool

One of the best things we can do for ourselves as young, busy and indebted Millennials is to allow ourselves a free way to unwind. Get in that vacation mindset and try out one of the following:

  • Lounge by a pool
  • Go for a walk in your neighborhood
  • Read quietly at the library
  • If you’re feeling adventurous and have a whole day to spare, drive out to a state park and go hiking for the day. Bonus if you bring a picnic lunch and a friend

Avoid computers–they’re too distracting. Let your mind wander freely, but when it wanders towards to-do lists and work stresses, refocus it on things you wouldn’t normally notice. The smell of the air surrounding you. The sun or breeze on your arms. The silence of your phone.

I recently read this post on incorporating this vacation mindset into your everyday life, and can say I’m excited to try it. This will all get more difficult once winter sets in, but hopefully we’ll all have these positive habits ingrained well enough in our lives by then that they’ll be easy to maintain.