• AxelB

Start at the Finish Line: A lesson about Planning

Someone told me one day that the way the writers of The Simpsons come up with so many ideas is by starting from an end point and working backwards to the start. I can only imagine that person (who will remain nameless) chats a lot of sh** and that there is no way an episode is created like this. Regardless, The Simpsons Planning Method – this is how I’m calling it – might come in handy in real life.

I don’t know about you, but I am lazy sometimes. Really lazy. Yet, once I get moving, the momentum carries itself and I can achieve some really cool things.

Let’s start with a physics lesson. Yes, you read that right, a physics lesson. According to Isaac Newton’s 1st law of Motion – “In an inertial frame of reference, an object either remains at rest or continues to move at constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force”. Now why is this relevant you might think? Well it’s quite obvious, for me this principle also applies to us as humans when it comes to getting off our arse and getting things done. In our case, the force in question is called Motivation. It’s a force that gives you a goal and objectives to thrive for and work towards.

Humans (specifically me) love plans. They like to know what the goal is and how to get there. It helps to reduce the uncertainty that causes inertia. The way I like to do it, whether it be professionally or in sports, is to start big and work backwards. I set myself the end objective (the outcome goals) and work backwards to where I am today, setting milestones that I will have to complete (process goals) that make my end objective achievable. This is my Simpsons Planning Method in action, suddenly I have a roadmap to success. Now, don’t get me wrong, there might be a few twists and turns on that road, and a few changes of direction. But I tend to find that using the process goals helps me visualise the progress, however small, I am making towards that goal. This is where Newton’s law comes in; rather than being paralysed by the impossible and remaining inert because of the sense of uncertainty, once I get moving I am unstoppable and will tick every box on my list on my way to achieving what I set out for myself.

The power of planning is that it creates meaning in the journey. The objective can almost become irrelevant at times, as you find pleasure and fulfilment in the details and processes themselves. At the same time, you can become the force that acts on another person to get moving on their own journey. Success breads success, and winning breads winning. Whether you’re looking for a new job, going for your first run or trying to qualify for a world championship; just taking that first step if quite often the hardest bit. Once you get moving, you’ll be unstoppable! Thanks Isaac.

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