You may recognize this as one of the seven habits of highly effective people identified by Stephen Covey. It’s also a concept we start with in our work at Proctor Gallagher Institute.
People come to us when they want to make changes in their lives. Most want to change because they’re uncomfortable in their current situation, going through a crisis, or a dream is calling them forward.
Whether you want to reinvent yourself, improve your health, or start a business, you receive a wonderful gift when deciding to change something about your life—growth. You get to learn about yourself, question your beliefs, and stretch into the unknown.
When a person asks for our help, Bob and I always start by asking one question…
What do you really want?
When’s the last time you stopped to think about what you really want to achieve with your life?
Unfortunately, many people never seriously ask themselves this question. As a result, they never end up accomplishing much.
I don’t want that to happen to you, so today, I’m going to shed some light on this topic and share some strategies for changing your life by beginning with the end in mind.
The most important things to find on a map
Once you know what you want–where you want to go in life, you should figure out one more thing before you move forward.
Let’s look at it this way.
You walk into a mall, and, just inside the door, you see a map with the location of all the stores, restaurants, etc., in the building.
What are the most important things for you to find on the map?
The “You are Here” mark and the location of where you want to go.
Because once you know (1) where you are and (2) where you want to go, you know which direction to start moving and the steps to achieving this end become clear. You gain tremendous clarity by knowing where you are and where you want to go.
What it means and how it works
All things are created twice — first, in the mind, and then in the real world.
Physical creations follow mental ideas and images. To make your deepest desires a reality, you first need to be clear about what you want and hold the image in your mind.
If you’re ready to figure out what you really want to achieve in your life, here are three things you can do to help you achieve it by beginning with the end in mind:
1. Dream big. First, think about things that inspire, uplift, and motivate you. What do you love to do? What are you passionate about? Then, decide where you really want to go.
You can do it from a big picture perspective, such as a vision for your life, or by looking at it on a smaller scale, such as a goal or dream that really excites you. Either way, identify what it is you hope to achieve and write a detailed description.
2. Make a plan. When you know exactly where you stand and have a clear vision of where you want to end up, you’re ready to start designing a path between the two points to get you started. It might help to work backward from what you hope to achieve.
It’s great to have a plan, but be flexible. Pay attention to the signs along the way and adjust when you run into roadblocks. I suggest setting a 90-day timeline to achieve the goal or reach a particular milestone. The pressure of a timeline will create flow, profound creativity, and a sense of urgency.
Also, think about who you could collaborate with to help you get where you want to go. Look for people who push you past your limited ways of thinking.
3. Move forward every day. Commit to doing something (even if it’s small) that moves you toward your goal every day. It will place your focus on your intention.
Without a firm commitment to carry through with your plans, a year from now, everything will be much the same as it is right now.
If it walks like a duck
If you want to be a millionaire, talk like one, act like one, and work like one. In other words, act as if you are already the person you want to become.
What I am talking about here is feeling and acting like you already reached your goal. For instance, if you want to win an award, practice accepting the award. What will you say? How will you feel? How many people will be there?
Act as if it were impossible to fail.
Go where you’ve never gone before
Starting with the end in mind will help you create a more rewarding and fulfilling life. It can take you out of the ordinary and propel you into the extraordinary.
As you strive to create the life you want, make it fun. Make it something that creates enthusiasm and excitement within you. Do things that you love—dance, play outdoors, write for the fun of it, volunteer in a way that touches your heart, or get a puppy. And connect with a community that lights you up.
Now that you are aware of these three steps for beginning with the end in mind and turning your desires into reality, what do you plan to do? What changes will you make as a result of what you’ve learned?
One of the most basic and yet dynamic laws of life is “Create or Disintegrate.” Every expression of life is continuously moving in one direction or the other. Either you are improving the quality of your life, or you are reducing it.
The choice is yours. It is a decision only you can make.
To more and better,
P.S. Download the PDF below to help you stay on track with beginning with the end in mind.