10 Steps to Achieving Your Goals with Backwards Planning

When it comes to planning, most of us start from where we are and move forward, step-by-step, to the finish line. But what if you were to plan backwards?


If you’re in the military or live with someone who is, or if you’re an educator or trainer, you’ve heard of backwards planning. Using this simple approach, you begin with your end goal in mind then work backwards to where you are today. 


Here are 10 simple steps to creating a solid plan to achieve your goals:


  1. Begin with the end in mind. What is your ultimate goal?
  2. Brainstorm the major steps to achieving your goal. What will need to happen right before you achieve your goal? And before that, and before that…
  3. Make note of any possible obstacles.
  4. Determine the sub-steps. What actions will you need to take to accomplish each major step?
  5. Prioritize. Starting with “A” for the most important, prioritize all your major steps.
  6. Create a timeline for accomplishing each major step with the most important steps first. Include how long each step will take.
  7. Schedule your action items: big blocks of time and the most important tasks come first. Enter them on your calendar.
  8. Work your plan and track your progress.
  9. Revise and adapt as necessary. You’re prepared for obstacles as you’ve already thought of them. Be flexible with your schedule, but not with your results.
  10. Reach your goal.



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