January 13, 2023

Let’s take a step back and look at the big picture. What is it that you are trying to achieve? What needs to happen for you to get there? What might be the stumbling blocks on the road to success that drag you down or stop your journey entirely? If you are looking to achieve something big in your life, whether it be in school, sports, work or anywhere else these questions are a great place to start. They are part of a larger process of planning that needs to happen in order to have the best chance at achieving the goal you have set.

One of the best tools for breaking down a goal and creating a plan is called reverse engineering. Simply put, you lay out whatever it is you are trying to achieve. Then you look at where you are at and what you are doing now. Once we have good definitions for each of those we can begin to work backward from where we want to be to where we are.

The differences between where you want to be and what you need to be doing compared to where you are now and what you currently do can then be divided by the amount of time you have. This will give you an idea of how big your steps need to be to reach your goal. More time and smaller obstacles typically afford for smaller steps while less time and larger obstacles force you to take larger steps. Someone on a multi year plan can typically take rather small steps and still achieve success while a 6 month deadline forces a more dramatic line.

While you work out what we need to be doing in each step of the process and how large each individual step needs to be it is important to look critically at what might trip you up along the way. These stumbling blocks along the path can come in many forms, like injuries, sickness, local civil unrest, birthday cake, etc. The more important thing is how you can address these issues when they arrive or avoid them through strategic planning. For example, a marathon runner might look to avoid injuries by taking a break from training at specific times of year. A cohesive plan needs to have these contingencies in place for it to work long term.

Now that we have an idea of where we want to be, where we are, the scale of the steps which separate the two and a plan to conquer each stumbling block along the way. The next step is to put the plan into action. If you have done the work in planning, achieving our goal is as easy as following the plan.