Let’s Work Backwards
By Michael Harland
When we talk about goal setting we often encourage someone to state their goal. Following that, we then have them figure out what it takes to get to that goal. So, we will have our main goal, along with other micro-goals that will add up, over the long-term, to their total desired outcome.
Something that isn’t as often promoted to do is write down the things that are going to prevent them from accomplishing both their long-term and micro goals. Let’s dig a little deeper with this…
Let’s just say I wanted to lose 50 pounds in the next year. Very attainable if we are able to average only a 1lb per week weight loss. Since it seems doable and not that difficult, I begin my journey. I have meal prepped all of my food and gotten it ready to bring with me. I’ve set a gym schedule of 3x per week. I’m off and running!
What happens is that a few weeks in the excitement of it all wears off and the reality of how difficult it can be, along with the amount of work it actually requires becomes very real. Now, since I didn’t work backward, it’s easy for me to slip back into my old lifestyle.
I have some questions that need to be asked. The first is “why”. Why do I want to lose 50 lbs? What are the feelings associated with that? And what will life be like if I’ve accomplished my goal?
Then I need to figure out what got me in the position I’m currently in. Again, “why”.
Why have I put on 50 pounds of excess weight?
I ate too much, too often.
Why did I overeat so much?
Because of stress.
Why am I so stressed?
Because of work.
What is causing me so much stress at work?
Other employees are not doing their job, which is causing my workload to double.
Is there anything else associated with this?
Yes, I feel my quality of work isn’t the greatest and my boss is on me because of this.
This is an easy example and drill to work ourselves back to the root cause of our problems. We start to understand what we really need to work on, which will help all other areas of our life. What we need to remember, is that if we work on everything BUT the actual cause, we will never be able to fully accomplish anything. So while we can make changes to temporarily mask a situation, that cause will still be there to haunt us.
So today, if you haven’t been successful at something, grab a pen and paper, state what it is you haven’t been successful at, and work yourself back to the real causes of this. Once this is understood, you can then write your micro goals and action plan that changes this state.