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Forwards, Backwards, 1,2,3!

August 5, 2009

Do you have a clear vision of where you’d like to be in the future, but have no clue how to get there? Or maybe your future is looking pretty fuzzy, too? How about trying this exercise. I call it “Forwards, Backwards, 1,2,3”. Yes, I just made that name up.

Step One: Get yourself a notebook to write in or park your butt in front of your computer so you can type some stuff up. Pick a date in the future, at least one year out, and start visualizing where you want to be and what you want to be doing.

Perhaps this is easy for you. I have a pretty clear vision of what I want to be doing one year from now (lounging on my  yacht in the Caribbean), so when I did this exercise I simply closed my eyes and wrote down what I wanted my work life to be like, how many clients I hoped to have, how much money I’d be making, plus how good I’d feel.

If you have absolutely no idea what you want to be doing in one year, this exercise might be a little tougher for you. Maybe you don’t know the specifics of what career path you want to be taking, where you want to live, or how big you want your yacht to be. Now’s a good time to start imagining! Picture yourself doing something that feels exciting to you, even if it seems out of your reach. Think about what the weather is like where you live, or who you’re spending your time with. Be as specific as you can, and remember, this is your dream, not your parent’s.

Step Two: You’ve written down where you hope to be in a year (or more). Now it’s time to start going backwards to figure out what you need to do to get there. Cut the time in half (if you picked a year for your time frame, now you’re going to work on what you’ll be doing in six months) and visualize the steps you’ll need to be taking at the mid point of your journey.

Again, for me this was pretty easy. I looked at my goals for one year out and cut back on them slightly, adjusting the number of clientele I think I’ll have, the amount of money I’ll be making, the kind of marketing I’ll be doing, etc.

You’ll want to be realistic with these ideas, but make sure to choose goals that are exciting and slightly outside your comfort range. The idea here is to build an amazing life, not a boring one! Again, be specific so you have some actual goals and ideas to work towards.

Step Three: One more time now! We’re getting closer to the present! This time you’re going to be dreaming about what you’ll be doing just a short time from now – half the time out from step two. For me that meant thinking about what I’d be doing in just three short months from now.

The reason I work backwards with this exercise is that it is much, much easier to imagine and get excited about where you could be in one year, because there isn’t pressure on you to get it done rightnoworelse! Once you’ve done the work of determining where you want to be in the somewhat distant future, setting goals for the short term becomes a little bit easier.

In this step I want you to set some simple, straight forward goals that will be a bridge to your later, larger goals. For me this meant cutting back even further on how many clientele I’ll have and what I’ll be accomplishing, but it also meant setting some goals on getting the ball rolling big time.

Step Four: Look at your whole plan and some some goals for the very near future. You know where you want to go, now how are you going to get there, starting now? At this point you should be excited by the direction you’re headed, and hopefully you’re feeling motivated to set some short term goals for yourself.

Make a list of what you want to accomplish and when you’ll have it completed. Put it up somewhere you can see it. Any time you start to feel discouraged or put off, pull out the rest of your goals for the following months, and I bet you’ll get excited about your future you (and yacht!) again!

How do you accomplish your goals?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2009 7:05 pm

    great advice! i love journaling…

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