I love reading what other writers have to say on the subjects of goals, self improvement and personal development. I read a blog post recently which hit home on an idea I talk about often, and this article looks at the value of going into reverse when setting goals…
I’ll tell you more about the author of the original post in a moment, but let’s start by going over the technique which will *always* help with your goals – probably best described as reverse engineering.
In the world of mechanical engineering, you reverse engineer something by literally taking it apart piece by piece, and then by going from the finished product back to the component parts, you can work out both what those parts are, and how they need to be put together.
Once you’ve done that, you can then follow the steps back to replicate the original result.
It’s a powerful technique, which is badly underused. Whatever your goal may be, there will in all probability be at least one person who has achieved it before you. True, you may genuinely be the first, but I doubt it.
So, if you use this reverse engineering technique with the story of someone who has achieved the same goal as yours, you can work out a set of steps which have been shown to have brought the result you want.
You can then trace those steps back to where you are now, providing you with a practical blueprint of which steps to take. You can use this blueprint to break your goal setting down into ever smaller and ever more defined steps until you know *exactly* what to do next.
You don’t necessarily have to, or want to follow the steps exactly, but having such a good road map in front of you is never a bad thing. It’s always a good starting point.
The original blog post which prompted me to revisit this idea came from Peter Cook, who is the founder and Managing Director of Human Dynamics. At http://www.humdyn.co.uk he offers consultancy tying up his years of experience and his passion for music.
His idea is that as well as trying to work out what step to take next, you should work out what not to do next! Brainstorm and come up with the worst thing you could possibly do to move towards your goal. In fact you can take it further and work out the best way to move further away from your goal than towards it!
By then reverse engineering *that* worst idea you will come up with something positive, and because you have come at it from a different angle the idea may be fresh and different.
It’s much the same as translating language from A to B and then back to A – you may well end up with something different.
I love this idea, and if you combine it with my theory of tracing the path backwards from your goal to your current position, you can get some really dynamic results.
So, the next time you are at a mental block of what to do next, or how to plan your next step, consider the worst action you could take, and then flip that action to offer a new insight. That’s how shifting into reverse can push you forwards with your goal setting!
Is reverse engineering something I write about in my book ‘Transform Your Life in 21 Days’? You bet it is! In fact I give precise examples of how I used it myself to go on some great life adventures!
It’s only part of the goal achievement formula though, and you can grab my free 8 Step Formula here!