A proven process for building your dream life
by Ayodeji Awosika
Now I can tell you without question that the five-year rule works. It still doesn’t sound like a lot of time to completely change your life — but if you use those five years wisely, you can come out the other side of them exactly where you want to be. Here’s how to commit to the process.
Start with a 90-day sprint
Spend your first 90 days working on your new skill or path with reckless abandon. You’ll get a sense of what success looks like as you make progress, but more importantly, you’ll figure out whether or not you actually enjoy the thing you’re doing. If it turns out not to be a great fit, you can quit after 90 days without having wasted much time.
Push through the suck
In the beginning, you won’t be very good at the new skill you’re trying to learn or the path you’re trying to forge. You might just be trying to survive. Most people quit in this phase. Don’t be one of them. Why? Because one day, you won’t just get a little better and become a little more successful—you’ll be much better and experience a lot more success.
Check in with your progress every 18 months
This is a piece of advice I learned from reading Peter Drucker, author of Managing Oneself: Use 18-month benchmarks to track your overall progress. This length of time is long enough to give you enough data, but not so long that you create unrealistic goals.
If you lose your way, remember The One Thing
The One Thing by entrepreneur Gary Keller teaches a simple rule to help you stay focused and productive: Ask yourself the question, “What’s the one thing you can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” You can use this system to reverse engineer long-term goals into actionable goals and key performance indicators to work on in the short to intermediate-term. Choose your one thing for 18 months, then for the quarter, then for each month, then for each week, then for each day.
I use this five-year framework for every new goal or important decision. If I’m not willing to dedicate five years to it, I won’t do it. But when I do commit, I’m all the way in.
When you break things down to the present moment and focus on the immediate future, you’ll look up five years later to see that you’ve achieved a level of progress even you didn’t think possible. Your skills compound, like an investment account.
But first, you have to start.