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How to do a Backwards Planning Process

I started doing this backwards planning process drill a few years ago. I don’t remember where I first got the idea from but I’ve certainly heard a number of people recommend it.

It can be made a whole lot more powerful if you understand a number of NLP methods and how to use timelines, but they’re not necessary to still get great benefits from it. After all why would you want something to work 10 times better 🙂 My personal favorite way to do this is to make location anchors for the different times especially since I’m a kinesthetic person.

I’ll give you the simple version, because that’s actually easy enough to do through written media.

I do this as a big event around New Years every year. I spend several hours reviewing my past year and planning out the next, part of which is in this specific drill. Yeah, it blows the success rate of resolutions out of the water, which is why I do “this” rather than “those”.

What most people do is they look from where they’re currently at and what they’d like to achieve in the future (if they do any goal setting at all, and most don‘t).

The Process

Instead what seems to work much better is to imagine yourself in your future. It can be a year from now, or simply at the end of the goal you have. Wow you’ve achieved all that you’ve aimed for. Now come the questions? What did you do to get here? Here’s the secret…

From this position of having done it already, it’s much easier to know what you need to do to achieve it. This change in frames will actually pull out ideas that you wouldn’t access had you not done this.

So what I do is to imagine myself living my life one year out from today. Where am I living? What do I do first thing in the morning? How does my work go? What am I doing for my health? What is my workout routine like? What am I doing for fun? Who am I spending time with? Where do I go in my day?

Create your ideal day in your mind, one day that you could live over and over again the be happy with it. The majority of our days are similar so you’re figuring out that base of life for yourself. Only after you’ve done this and imagined it in complete detail do you step back to the present.

How does this ideal day compare to your dream day? What is the same? What is different?

Going back into the future you can look back and see the changes you had to make in order to have this effect on your life.

Using Backwards Planning for a Goal

If you do this with a single goal in mind you’ll usually get an idea of how long it will take for you to reach it. You can easily see the benchmarks along the way, or the sub-goals you’ll have to hit to achieve your main goal. You can also see what actions you’ll need to take.

There’s the big steps to take, but also what you need to start doing in the present RIGHT NOW to get started towards this goal. That’s one of the most important things. Don’t let this fall into “yeah that was cool when I did that” but instead let it be the start of massive action towards your goal.

Backwards Planning for Business Projects

I did this process recently for an upcoming product launch I’m doing. There’s no doubt in my mind that it will be my most successful product launch ever. Why is that? Simply because I set that goal and did this process to find the steps I needed to do. Everything is already underway for it to happen.

The biggest change in how I normally do things is in how I’m doing this one, to make my affiliates a lot of money. Without the right questions asked, what did you do to make this the most successful launch you’ve ever done?, it wouldn’t have worked.

With that question I figured out I need to get people on board ahead of time.

I decided I need to give them major incentives to promote a lot (which I’m doing by giving 75% commissions on this product).

I also need to go outside my comfort zone in contacting other and bigger people than myself to see if they’d be interested in helping. (This is something I’ve specifically avoided in the past).

And how to really grab people’s attention with something they’ve never seen before. In fact, I’m so excited about this it’s hard to keep under wraps for the time being.

(By the way if you have a list, big or small, and a website on fitness be sure to contact me to get in on this action.)

Do It Yourself RIGHT NOW

Now I know almost everyone reading this is going to say, that’s nice and move onto the next thing. In which case you’ll forget about this idea and probably never do it, and thus never get any benefit from it.

Instead, take a little time right now to run through this process for a goal you have. If you do that I guarantee you’ll come up with something that will help you to achieve it.

And I’d love to get your comments below about your experience in this backwards planning process. You don’t have to share what you did it on if you don’t want to but please do share something.

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