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Did it ever occur to you that thinking backwards might actually help you move forwards? Many people approach a goal by deciding on the first step that will get them to where they want to go, but they don’t know what they’ll do after that first step. Any step is better than no step but there is a more efficient and fruitful way to go about reaching your goals.
The key to creating a reverse goal is to a hard look at where you want to be and then slowly work your way backwards to create a clear roadmap. If you plan forwards, then you can often end up somewhere different than where you wanted to be or it may take you longer to get there. By planning your steps backwards, you can cut out a lot of the questions along the way because you know exactly where each step will take you.
How does it work, exactly? Let’s use the example of a big presentation at work. Imagine how you want the presentation to go and what information you want to portray to those in attendance. Write all of that information down and then take a look at each piece. You know what you want it to look like, so how do you create those graphics? How do you get the information you need to create those graphics? Who do you need to ask for help to collect that information? Working your way backwards takes you to step 1, but you already know what steps 2 and 3 will be as well.
Using reverse goals isn’t just helpful in the workplace; you can use the concept in your everyday life as well. Imagine that you want to redecorate your living room. You could decide to paint the walls first, pick out a color, paint and then move on from there. However, if you start with the paint and nothing else in mind, you might realize you want a different feel later on that needs a different paint color. Get the whole picture first, work on the most essential elements, figure out the timeline and then work backwards to know what kind of help you need and what sequence your work should take.
If you start from the beginning, you’ll find yourself presented with many different paths, not all of which take you exactly where you want to go and you might find yourself disappointed and scrambling at the last minute. Thinking backwards keeps the end goal in mind the entire time, which keeps you from getting distracted by other potential outcomes. Not only do you get to where you want to go but you’re more confident about your decisions along the way, reducing your stress levels and making you a better leader to those you’re working alongside.
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