Most of us, sooner or later, end up feeling discouraged with our progress. We feel that we aren’t anywhere near as far along as we should be.

Frequently, this perspective is actually false. We are typically much farther along than we think we are.

With this in mind, here’s an easy way to get your perspective back on track.

How to Use the 5×5 Method

The 5×5 method is very simple to use:

  1. Write down where you were 5 years ago.
  2. Compare that to where you are today.
  3. Use the difference to project where you could be 5 years in the future.

For example, 5 years ago, this might be where you were in your country living journey:

  • Grew enough produce for your family.
  • Raised 25 broilers.
  • Milked one goat.
  • Completed your first woodworking project.
  • Made direct sales adding up to $1,000 a year.

This might be your present situation:

  • Growing enough produce to sell to your friends.
  • Raising 50 broilers.
  • Milking five goats.
  • Selling small woodworking projects periodically.
  • Making direct sales adding up to $10,000 a year.

See how far you’ve already come? Based on this rate of progress, in five more years, you could hypothetically:

  • Grow enough produce to sell at the farmers’ market.
  • Raise 100 broilers.
  • Milk 25 goats.
  • Sell larger woodworking projects regularly.
  • Make direct sales adding up to $100,000 a year.

Limitations of the 5×5 Method

Of course, the 5×5 method has some inherent limitations. For one thing, it works best with quantifiable metrics. It is not necessarily the best way to measure intangibles like personal growth.

For another thing, to make projections, the 5×5 method assumes that the present growth rate will be maintained. In real life, most things either grow or deteriorate. About the only thing that they typically don’t do is remain unchanged. Therefore, your actual state 5 years in the future could be considerably better than you have predicted—provided that you continue to put in the effort.

Applying the 5×5 Method

But the purpose of the 5×5 method is not to make business projections. It is rather to motivate yourself, and it can be quite effective if used for this specific purpose.

In particular, pay attention to how far you have come over the last 5 years. You will probably find that you have made far more progress than you thought you did.

Then take a look at your projections. The 5-year projection represents a baseline of where you can go at your current level of skill and ability. With a little extra work, you could potentially even improve on this scenario. Either way, the odds are that the future is brighter than you realized.

So the next time you feel discouraged at your progress, give yourself a break. Chances are, you are way farther ahead than you think.