Work backwards to hit your goal

Work backwards to hit your goal

Dreaming big and setting lofty goals can seem intimidating. At home, a personal goal may seem extremely difficult or impossible in your current situation. Mobilizing different groups to execute towards a work project may seem like an insurmountable game of cat herding. Today we’ll help you break down those big goals in a way that makes the work and stress manageable so that you can hit your goal. 

Start from the end

Before embarking on your journey, clearly define your end goal. Whether it’s a career milestone, a personal achievement, or a project completion, having a well-defined objective is what everything else will be built on. Be as specific as possible when thinking of and dreaming of that end goal. Instead of losing weight, have a specific amount and a date to achieve the goal. With a project, be specific on what you want to deliver by a certain time. “I want to have $3,000 saved in 6 months for emergencies.” “We want to run a pilot on mobile-friendly technical support for our employees in 16 weeks.”

Identify your milestones

Once your end goal is established, break it down into key milestones. These are significant achievements or checkpoints that, when reached, signify progress toward your ultimate objective. Each milestone should be distinct, measurable, and representative of a distinctive advancement towards the goal.

In the pilot project example above you may identify your key milestones as designating the pilot group, vendor selection, securing funding, completing integration work, training and socialization, and rollout.

Looking at the breakdown above you’ll see that they are significant achievements that signal progress and accomplishment. Each milestone becomes a strategic stepping stone, allowing you to gauge your progress and adjust your course as needed.

Determine necessary actions

With your milestones in place, identify the actions required to reach each one. Consider what needs to be accomplished at each step and the resources, skills, or support necessary for success. This detailed understanding of the necessary actions transforms your goal into a series of manageable tasks.

Let’s take our first milestone from above of designating the pilot group and break it down into actions. We’ll first need to determine how large of a pilot we want to run to get a clear indication of if it’s successful and scaleable. Next, we’ll want to pull data on where the most calls for support are coming from. We then need to partner with the business leader to align on the pilot group. They may have requests or changes based on their better understanding and context of what is going on. 

Create a timeline

Establish a realistic timeline for achieving each milestone. Working backward requires a strategic allocation of time, ensuring that you have adequate resources and opportunities to complete each task. A well-structured timeline provides a sense of urgency and helps you stay on track. Many organizations break down the work into two-week sprints. This injects a sense of urgency to get the work done and keep the work going at a quick pace. 

Set your timeline for each milestone and then add up all the time. How did you in relation to your initial end goal? We stated that we wanted the pilot to roll out in 16 weeks, but let’s say that after we dig into the milestones and actions we come up with a timeline that is 20 weeks long. They must equal the same amount so now you have a choice: do you condense some of the work or extend the project?

Time to execute

With a clear roadmap in place, prioritize your tasks based on their importance and dependencies. Execute each step, focusing on one milestone at a time. Prioritization ensures that you allocate your energy and resources effectively, minimizing the risk of feeling overwhelmed.

Starting out with your goal and drawing a plan backwards, is a great way for you and others to see the work in manageable sections and how they stack on each other to reach your ultimate goal. Remember, success is not just about reaching the destination; it’s about the meaningful steps you take along the way.

Make a better tomorrow. 

Plan, monitor & assess your goals

Plan, monitor & assess your goals

I love when New Year rolls around. I’ve typically taken some time during the last month to think through how the previous year went both personally and professionally and I’ve set some goals (PTB 301) to kick off the new year right.  A goal without a plan or accountability is nothing more than a wish or dream. Today we’ll look at how to plan monitor and assess your goals so that you can turn your goal into reality. 

Embrace Accountability 

Without accountability, your goals fall victim to circumstances and excuses. in over 6 years at PTB, we’ve never missed a weekly show average because we truly feel accountable to deliver you leadership content on a regular basis. Without that accountability, the likelihood of late or missed shows would be significantly higher. 

How are you going to own your goals this year? Hold yourself accountable to reach your goal and include a few trusted others as accountability partners to help keep you on track. At the end of the year, I always take my wife out to a nice lunch, and I cover what my goals are for the next year. She’ll then check into seeing how things are going, and it gives us another topic of conversation to have throughout the year. 

I also keep my goals written up on my whiteboard so I see them every day. They only come down once they are done. Think of posting your goals somewhere in a space that you are in on a regular basis. I know of people that have them in their car, at their cube at work, and even their lock screen of their phone. 

Plan your time and check-ins

If you built your goals using the SMART format from last week, you’ve got some kind of timeframe that you want to complete your goal by.  Be intentional in planning out time and the path you are going to take to get to the finish line. Some goals may need a weekly check-in while others may need a monthly or quarterly check-in to see how you are progressing. 

Remember not to be too hard on yourself as you check in on your goal progress. Think progress over perfection. It’s ok to adjust your goal if life has thrown you a curveball during the year. 

Celebrate along the way

As you check in on your goal status, reflect back and celebrate the progress that you’ve made so far.  Sometimes in our drive to accomplish our goals, we forget our starting point and how much things have changed along the way. People are quick to adapt to a new normal! 

Celebrate with yourself. Celebrate with others. Acknowledge and appreciate the hard work that you’ve put in so far. 

Leverage technology

There are a ton of great apps out there that can help you track and monitor your goals. 

No doubt you have some type of technology around you on a daily basis, from smartphones to watches to all-out smart homes, leverage what’s around you to help you stay on track. 

Find inspiration in tough times

Sometimes you just hit a rut and things aren’t progressing as you wanted them to for a number of reasons. Take some time to find inspiration to help pick yourself up or to give you a new perspective on your goal and how to achieve it. Search online for groups around your shared interests, articles, and books that may help you get back in a positive direction. 

You’ve taken the time to plan out some great goals this year. You can do it! Hold yourself accountable, keep them top of mind, leverage all the resources around you, and celebrate that progress. You can accomplish some amazing things this year. 

Make a better tomorrow. 

How to set a goal that sticks

How to set a goal that sticks

Setting a goal is easy, but getting that goal that sticks can be an entirely different story. To help give yourself a better chance to reach your short and long-term goals, it’s important to set your goal in a way that is easy to follow, has tangible steps, and sets the time to get it done. It’s the ambiguity that often gets the best of our goals. 

Today we’ll follow the SMART format to set goals that are actionable and attainable. 


Your goal has to have a specific foundation to be built on. I am often critical of goals that are overly subjective and abstract (ex. I want to grow in my development) because you can’t hit something when you don’t even know you are shooting for it.

The specific subject can center around many things

  • A culminating event. ( I want to run the NY Marathon)
  • A time or efficiency (Do a task x% faster)
  • An achievement (accreditation,  an award, promotion)
  • An increase or decrease in number (weight, finances)

What specifically do you want to do or accomplish? Spell it out exactly to get a good start to the goal. 

M- Measurable

Now that you’ve got what you are shooting for in a goal, how are you going to measure its success? You need measurables in place to evaluate your progress and if you need to change or adapt things along the way.

In the NY marathon example, I need a qualifying time to get in. My measurable may be tracking my time as I try to hit my ultimate qualification time. In your professional career, it may be how many resumes and job applications you are going to complete a week. 

You should have some type of action attached to your goal and a way to measure the progress, if not, take time here to outline tangible ways to track your success. 

A- Achievable

You’ll want to take a realistic look to determine if the goal is reasonable enough to hit within your timeframe.  For your aspirational, long-term goals, build short-term goals that build and elevate you towards your ultimate goal. 

A stretch goal is perfectly fine to shoot for, just make sure it doesn’t stretch you so far that you break in the process. 

R- Relateable

Some goals you shouldn’t pursue! That’s not to say it’s a bad idea or a wrong endeavor to work towards. Maybe the timing is off. Perhaps you are already loaded up with other things. Sometimes a goal can take away from other important areas you need to master and win in first. 

Make sure that the goal or pursuit is timely, aligns with your current responsibilities and capabilities, and matches your personal values. Don’t waste your time on things that you shouldn’t be doing.  Your goal should contribute to your long-term aspirations in some way. 

T- Time-bound

No goal is complete without a time deadline to accomplish it. Set sometime around when you want to accomplish the task in order to stay motivated and focused on completing it. 

If you don’t hit your goal in the desired or set timeframe, it’s likely not the end of the world. Step back and assess why you didn’t make it and what you could do differently. Adjust, set a new goal, and get back at it. 

A few examples


  • I want to hit a 3:02 marathon time to qualify for the NY Marathon on Nov 3rd.
  • I want to lose 24lbs during the year and focus on 2lbs a month. 
  • I want to learn Morse Code and have the ability to pass the Morse Code interpretation test by June 30th. 


  • I want to earn a promotion in 18 months and take on 3 new responsibilities around operations and finance. 
  • I want to get a new job in 3 months. I’ll complete 4 applications a week and network with 5 new people a week. 
  • I want to earn my certification in my field in 12 months. I will join 2 study groups and the local chapter affiliation to help in my prep. 

Design goals that are clear, attainable, and have a set deadline to get it done. You’ll give your focus and motivation a boost while significantly raising the likelihood of meeting your goal. 

Make a better tomorrow.