Feeling Lost? Try the Backward Goal Setting Method

Yesterday, my 14-year old niece came into my bedroom and asked me for advice on goal setting. She needed help in planning her course options, like what she should do or subjects she should focus on to lead to the career path that she wants. I was very surprised, because when I was her age, all I could think of was how to sneak out of my house to go on a date with my then secret boyfriend. #forgivememama ? Anyways, I’m super proud of her go-getter attitude and I taught her the method that I used myself every time I need to set goals – the backward goal setting method.

Basically, the idea behind this goal setting approach is to look at your final objective, the end goal that you want to achieve, and then work backwards to set smaller goals that will lead you there. 

Step 1. Ask yourself: How do I see myself 30 years from now?

Take your age, add 30, now close your eyes and imagine where you are and what you are doing.

For example, I am 24 this year and will be 54 in 30 years time. At 54, I see myself to:

  • Have/had a stable, mature business in which I can proudly call mine
  • Have a cute Labrador or Golden Retriever or any big hairy dog that I can walk around my neighbourhood
  • Be that badass mama who’s running her N-th half marathon (omg I can picture myself running with my dog in the morning already ??)

Step 2. Ask yourself: How do I see myself 20 years from now?

Same thing, same process.

For myself, at the age of 44, Imma be:

  • That lady boss young adults want to talk to to seek for career advice. I’ll be sharing my experience juggling between making business decisions, traveling around, taking care of my kids/dogs, and trying to stay sane all at once
  • The cool ass aunty in the yoga class who’s a frequent runner (and flyer duhhh)

Step 3. Ask yourself: How do I see myself 10 years from now?

Woohoo, same thing but this time you’re much younger! At 34:

  • My business will be at its peak
  • I might be newly married and planning to have my own kids, if not, HELLO NEW CAT/DOG!
  • Found my regular gym/fitness class in my neighbourhood/work area and loving it

Step 4. Look at what you’ve achieved so far, and ask yourself: What PAIN am I willing to endure to get there?

Be realistic to yourself, if those are what you want to achieve, are you on the right track to get there? Are you doing something that is at the opposite direction because everyone else is going there? Are you willing to be different or take the hardship that will take you there? Because honestly, goals are goals for a reason, it’s not something to be attained easily.

For example, in my case, I will be asking myself:

  • When am I going to start my own business? What business am I going to be doing? Where am I going to do it?
  • Am I physically fit now to be the badass mama I want to be in the future?
  • How far I am financially from affording to raise dogs and kids?

Step 5. Look back into your goals and make adjustments as needed.

Most of the time, we get really excited and ambitious during goal setting. The truth is we might not have the capacity and capability to achieve all that we want. Readjust your goals if they are realistically unattainable.

Voila! Your goals are set!

YASSS YOU’RE SET and I’m so excited for you! I’m glad you took your time today to look into goal setting. If you’re feeling lost and unsure of what you really want, try this backward goal setting approach. What I like about this method is that it ensures that I am not sidetracked from what I want to achieve at the end of the day.

Here’s a simple template for those of you who need a little more boost to start your goal setting. It’s free for download!

Click on image to download PDF file

Happy goal setting! ?


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Featured Photo by Fletcher Clay on Unsplash