Beginner’s Guide to Backward Goal Setting

Just because you’re setting goals, you’re not necessarily setting goals effectively. Thankfully, effective goal setting is a personal development skill that can be learned. One of the most powerful methods for getting better at setting smart goals is called backward goal setting. It’s a motivational technique that can take your effectiveness to the next level.

In this post, we’ll tell you what backward goal setting is, and how to use it to reach your goals and supercharge your career.

Why Backward Goal Setting?

Backward goal setting looks at the obstacles and critical steps for achieving a goal. To do it, imagine that you have already completed the goal. By starting from that perspective, you can better pinpoint what you need to do to get there.

Backward goal setting helps you maintain focus and stay motivated. This makes it a great tool for managing time and reducing the stress of goal setting. There’s nothing more motivating than reaching more of the goals you set!

Steps to Backward Goal Setting

Backward goal setting is easy to do. Just follow these steps:

1.    Determine the Ultimate Goal

First, determine the ultimate goal you have. Make it something broad and distant, such as something that might take a year or longer to complete. However, make sure it’s a specific goal. Once you have your goal, set a timeline for completing it. Create a mission statement for what you want to accomplish, and when.

Does your goal need to be achieved one year from today? One year and six months? Come up with a goal completion date, and then you’re ready for step two.

2.    Break it Down

For step two, break your goal down into achievable parts. This essentially creates smaller, more manageable short-term goals you can reach along the way. Make sure these supporting goals are each critical steps for achieving the ultimate end goal. Each of these steps then becomes an individual goal in and of themselves, making the road to success a bit less bumpy.

3.    Split Supporting Goals into Targets

Now, you can focus on reaching your supporting goals. This way, the bigger goal feels less overwhelming. Then, create targeted actions that will take you closer to achieving your next supporting goal. These give you measurable progress to keep track of, bringing you closer to reaching the ultimate goal within the time frame you’ve created.

4.    Create a List of Single Actions

Create a list of single actions or tasks, each of which will help you reach each of your supporting goals. Each time you achieve one, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and motivation to keep moving forward. These single actions are concrete steps you need to take to reach a supporting goal. Breaking goals down this way will help keep you moving forward without losing steam.

Final Thoughts

Successful goal setting isn’t easy. But when you have a long-term goal to accomplish, backwards goal setting helps you keep up your momentum the entire way through. It’s easy to lose steam or procrastinate when you’re looking at a goal that’s still a year or two in the future. Use backwards goal setting to keep your motivation high and push the pedal to the metal!