What’s up, guys? I’m going to hit you with a short bit of “Monday Mindfulness” today. The main idea: if you have an outcome you want to accomplish, get specific with your goals and work backward.
This concept seemed counter-intuitive to me when I was first introduced to it. I am a very process driven person and as such, my natural tendency for getting work done is to begin with the first part of the task and work up to the end, allowing my end result to change based upon whatever roadblocks arise in the meantime. While this was relatively effective for smaller scale tasks (things that could be accomplished in a span of a day to a week), it lacked applicability for my long-term goals. I would begin on step 1 and by step 5 I was on a completely different trajectory, feeling as though I had begun from square one again.
This very issue has led me to become a devout practitioner of beginning with the end in mind and essentially reverse engineering my long-term goals. Here is a quick step by step breakdown of what this looks like:
- Define the specific long-term goals that will lead to your utmost fulfillment (or what you think those are currently; your vision will stretch rapidly once you begin to see success).
- Identify all the defenders to your goals. What are the key factors preventing you from achieving them; the speed bumps or roadblocks if you will.
- Come up with a list of potential solutions for these roadblocks. If you are having trouble with this, seek someone who has gone through a similar process and ask how they did it for some inspiration.
- Reverse engineer the process of knocking those defenders off, one by one, with a timeframe for when you will achieve each of these small victories.
- Put your plan into action. There’s nothing to it, but to do it. Attack each defender with an unrelenting fervor and watch them fall in line.
- Reevaluate your goals and compare your actual progress with where you thought you would be. Evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses, making sure to improve where you see the most need to do so.
Beginning with the end in mind has proven to be a much more rewarding process for myself. While I have not yet achieved my long-term goals, it has been extremely rewarding to blow through roadblocks one at a time and have a finite timeline for when I can expect to arrive at my first “end-goal” and begin to pursue the next one.