There’s a concept in the business world that I’ve co-opted. It’s a way of figuring out how to get from here to there. Maybe at work you’ve been given goals or a quota or something to launch. It’s great to have a destination in mind; but no one ever tells you how to get there! That’s where reverse engineering comes in. This idea from corporate America can actually be super helpful if there’s something you want to implement personally.
Let’s take a morning routine for example. They’re all the rage and this is one personal development trend that I fully support! Maybe you know what you want your morning routine to look like; but every morning when the alarm goes off 20 minutes earlier you find yourself falling back into the snooze habit.
Enter reverse engineering!
If you want to get up 20 minutes earlier to make time for a morning routine, what time would you have to go to sleep so that you can skip the snooze button?
If you need to go to bed at a certain time, how much time do you need at home in the evening?
What time do you need to leave work to give yourself enough time at home?
See how it works? Once you’ve ID’d the thing you want to do, start working backwards. Soon you’ll have an action plan in place.
Here’s what I’ll add to the very cognitive concept of reverse engineering: consistent check-ins with yourself. It’s VERY common to have goals and destinations change as we move toward them – that’s totally OK! Check in at each step and see how it feels. Maybe you’re really a night owl and the whole morning routine plan is like a square peg to your round hole. That’s totally cool – try a night routine instead.
Continuously checking in while you’re working your reverse engineered plan will get you to the “there” that’s right for you in a sustainable way that works for your life.