Do you ever set yourself a goal, and then wonder how on earth you are going to achieve it? 

It’s really common to get stuck. Sometimes this happens before you start, and sometimes your initial burst of enthusiasm gets you underway, and then you lose focus and aren’t sure what to tackle next. When this happens, try this simple technique.

When you get stuck, think backwards!

Here’s how you do it – and how it worked for me.

A few years ago I wanted to change the focus of my business. I had been doing mid-life career coaching, but I wanted to change direction and focus on coaching business leaders in corporates (I’ve evolved further since then!) I knew this meant I’d need to change what I offered and how I marketed myself, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. My own coach, Jo, walked me though the following process:

Step 1  Get clear on the goal 

This may seem really obvious, but if you don’t know what you are trying to achieve, you probably won’t achieve it!

Close your eyes and “see” yourself celebrating the achievement of this goal. What have you achieved, and by when? What is it you are celebrating?

(I saw myself celebrating my birthday, six months later in April, with six new clients who were business leaders.)

Step 2  Start working backwards

Pick a milestone date halfway between now and your goal date, and ask yourself what needs to have happened by then.

(If I had been asked what I needed to do tomorrow to achieve my goal of having six new business leader clients, I would have had no idea! But Jo asked me where I would need to be by Christmas in order to achieve it. I was able to tell her quite confidently that by then I would need all the building blocks in place – website, pricing documents, etc, and would need to be talking to decision makers who could introduce me to business leaders.)

Step 3  Focus in on actions, and keep moving backwards

Identify what you need to be doing in the month before your milestone date.

(For me, the activities I needed to be doing in December were making contact with influencers and networking with business leaders. By that time I would need to be clear on my message around what I could offer – and I would need to look credible online and in written follow up.)

Step 4  Keep going! 

Keep working backwards till you arrive at today.

(So in November I’d need to be revising my website to reflect the new focus, finalising supporting documents such as a summary of service and pricing, plus I should be starting to identify where my future clients did their networking, and what kind of people were their key influencers.

In turn this meant that I could identify the activity needed in October, and so on, working backwards to today)

Step 5   Change direction and commit to action

When you arrive at today’s date, you need to start moving forwards! By now it should be clear what you need to do first, so get going.

(For me the first step was to articulate who I wanted to coach, and why I could do it, then working out how to communicate that concisely verbally, online and in print.)

And one final tip, find someone to hold you accountable!

This will really increase the chances of you achieving your goal.

If you have a business mentor or coach who can do this, that’s great. If not, find someone else. Ideally this should be someone whose business challenges bear some resemblance to yours – not necessarily in terms of content but in the type of role they do. For example, if you run a small business, find another small business owner. Offer to hold them accountable for something too.

As accountability buddies you will urge each other on to maximum effect.

If you’d like help to work through this technique, or if you need help with staying accountable, get in touch. I’d love to help you.