Planning By Starting With The End Goal in Mind

When planning activities and projects, including things like saving for something, starting at the end is a great technique to make sure you cover all the steps you need to.

Starting at the end means thinking about where you want to get to and then working out the steps you need to take to get there.

It’s a bit like a car journey – you don’t often jump in a car and head off with no idea of where you are going. You know your destination and you plan your route to get there.

 Having worked through the “Urgent vs. Important” exercise you should have a clearer idea of where you want to spend your time.

Initially you may need to put some energy into getting the urgent and important stuff out of the way.

Let’s think about your goals for a moment. Think of one goal in particular and then think about how you would like to break that down into smaller steps.

Use the planner on the following page to help you.

Use it in the following way;

Firstly plan out the big steps that you would like to make on your goal over the coming year.

Then use 4 copies of the template and break those big steps into smaller steps for each 3 month period. Be specific about the month i.e. Jan-Mar, not month 1-3 as the more specific you are the better the results will be.

Use 12 copies of the template to break these steps down into smaller ones that you would like to take each month. Again be specific about the month – i.e January rather than month 1.

Breaking down your goals in this way does several things.

  • It helps you see if the timeline you have set for your goal is achievable given the time and resources you have available.
  • It helps you plan your schedule.
  • It gives you peace of mind and helps you to focus. You only need to worry about the task you are working on now because you know you have scheduled in all the other steps and actions required throughout the year.

For clarity the “completed by” column refers to the rough date you need or want to complete this step/action by. This will help you when you start to schedule activities.

This activity can often require 2 or 3 attempts and it will always be a bit of a work in progress.

Your aim is to get it roughly right rather than totally perfect. There is always a balance to be struck between planning and doing!


Step/action Completed by:


Your questions:

What have you noticed as a result of doing this planning exercise?

Looking at your goals is there anything that is likely to be problematic in the rough schedule you have set?

Thinking about your typical week what are your thoughts on the timeframe you have set for your goals?

On a scale of 1-10 how committed are you to taking action on this goal?

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