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"Joy lives in action and experimentation," thought Arta and created one more template.

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A very simple 5-year (backward) planning method

How to set goals for the next 3, 5, 10 or more years?

Here is a method to do exactly that. And a #veryfuckingsimple template included.

Time to revise your 5-year goals

When my mentor asked me about my 5 year goals a few years ago I could only name them vaguely. It is a well known fact that most people do not have well defined 5 or more year goals. Some people know in their hearts what they want in the future. And I mean specific future (specific year or month) not just 'some time in the future' because that 'some time in the future' is ALWAYS in the future, so it might never arrive NOW. Same with quitting smoking or starting to exercise 'tomorrow'. There is always tomorrow.

BUT specific numbers makes magic

In the last days of December of 2018 I wrote five goals for 2019. One of them was named "Motorcycle by May 2019". I completely forgot about the list. And a big surprise was when some time in summer 2019 I found that goal list in my notes and remembered that I actually bought the motorcycle on April 30.

Arta 1st day on her motorcycle
Arta 1st day on her motorcycle

First, define what you want in 5 years from now

Best if you already know what you want 5 years from now, otherwise you can't really plan backwards.

I did not know exactly what I wanted in 5 years, so I thought further in the future and came up with one big goal to reach in 15 years (to be an executive coach by 2034). It made a clearer picture of what my 5th year goals might look like if I am to reach that 15 year goal. Cool.

Based on that I figured that I will need at least Bachelor's degree and experience in management. Coaching certificate I already had. So my next 5-year goal was clear - to get a Bachelor's degree in business and maybe some management experience. And what does that mean for this year? That I need to enrol in a university NOW. So when I made the list in 2019 in short it looked like this:

  • 5th year (2023) - get management experience

  • 4th year (2022) - successfully finish study year 3 and thesis

  • 3rd year (2021) - successfully finish study year 2

  • 2nd year (2020) - successfully finish study year 1

  • This year (2019) - enrol in bachelor's studies

And btw, I did enrol. Currently I'm in the middle of the 2nd study year.

How to plan your next 5 years step-by-sep


Take a paper, pen and divide the page horizontally in 5 parts (see the image above or download template), write the years, starting with the 5th on top.


Now write in there what 2-3 goals you have for the 5th year.

Then below that write what goals need to be reached on the 4th year in order to reach your 5th year goals.

Then below that write what to get done on the 3rd year in order to reach your 4th year goals.

And so on with the 2nd and 1st (this year) until you have goals for each year that align with each other and the big picture.


When you are done with each year, highlight the most important goals and think about how to rearrange your daily life in order to fulfil them.

I wish you valuable insights!

You can spend 10min or even an hour or more on this task.

If you have any questions about this method, feel free to write me.

Download the PDF template and define your 5-year goals backwards.

Download PDF • 861KB


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