Reverse Engineering Your Happiness- The Process to Achieve Your Goals

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe,
and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso

For as long as I can remember I have been a goal setter. It started with my mom sitting down
with my brother, sister, and me when we were children and teaching us about a daily journaling
process. We would write out our hopes and dreams, the things we wanted to accomplish, and
when we want to accomplish them by. Specificity reigned supreme, and nothing was off limits. I
am incredibly grateful for my mom and the way that she taught me this goal setting skill (indeed,
it is a skill) at an early age. I can attribute most, if not all, of my success to the process of reverse

The process begins with deciding: What do you want?

Having a crystal-clear vision is essential. Time is the most precious commodity in life so don’t
waste it! There are many distractions but by identifying and deciding exactly what you want, you
can then protect your time accordingly. Allow achievement of your goals to be a top priority.
Refuse to allow what is deemed important to take your time, unless it correlates with your

Having trouble deciding what exactly you want? Ask yourself these questions:

    What do I love to do?
    What am I uniquely good at?
    What gets me excited to get up in the morning?

Deciding precisely WHAT we want is naturally the first step. As we are all well aware, there are
an infinite amount of distractions that enter our given lives on a minute by minute basis. From
the corporate 9 – 5 grind, to your friends weekend BBQ to the “Netflix and Chill” movie nights
with Bumble acquaintances to the ever-present coffee meetings to Instagram scrolling and
posting. Our time is ticking so we must be diligent and not waste it. It actually isn’t enough
anymore to “not waste it” but more importantly to protect it like you would a loved one from
danger. For not protecting our time is dangerous, so we must treat it as such. By identifying and
deciding exactly what we want, we can then safeguard our time accordingly. We should
allow the achievement of our goals to be our top priority, bar none. Don’t get me wrong, life is
all about balance, and at times we will necessarily relinquish control. We can practice going with
the flow, so to speak, but in order to have real achievement, we must begin by saying NO to
things that do not bring us closer to our goal and start saying YES to the things that do.

So what do you want? It can be a material item, such as a new blacked out Dodge Ram (my
dream truck which I recently purchased) or a body goal to lose 15 pounds and running that half-
marathon. Or an intricate intellectual goal such as as a master’s degree from Harvard law or
creating a personal brand and business. Regardless, ask yourself what your number 1 goal to
achieve at this given moment is. We must set goals that combine our passion and purpose, or our
motivation may become scarce, making it it more challenging to hold ourselves accountable in
the process. Let’s say your goal is to be a writer, then don’t overthink it, just start writing. You’ll
get better the more you do it. If you love to dance and want to make a profession of it, then go on
with your bad self and dance like no one’s watching. Don’t over complicate your goal. Get clear
and decide. If you want to start your own business or personal brand, then decide, set a clear
goal, and don’t look back, just GO for it! The Latin meaning of decide is to literally “cut off” any
other possibilities. So, decide what you want and cut off any other options for not achieving it.

1) WHAT do you want to achieve in the next 5 years, 1 year, 6 months, 30 days, 1 week, 24
hours? (Write a sentence outlining what it is you want to achieve for each time period.)

5 year goal:____________________________________________________________________
1 year goal:____________________________________________________________________
6 month goal:__________________________________________________________________
30 day goal:___________________________________________________________________
1 week goal:___________________________________________________________________
24 hour goal:___________________________________________________________________

Repeat Worthy: You must set goals that combine your passion and purpose or else you will lose
motivation, and it will be more difficult to hold yourself accountable.

Why do you want to achieve that goal?

Think of what motivates you to get up and grind. Is it wealth? Is it abundance? Is it freedom?

Like Simon Sinek beautifully illustrates in his book and Ted Talk, Start with Why!: “Your WHY
will drive you when your motivation seems to weaken. Your WHY will push you when you are
the brink of giving up.You must identify your WHY. The truth is, find your WHY, and you’ll
find your fuel. Your WHY is the reason to persist through the inevitable adversity that will arise.
Take an in-depth assessment of yourself and your WHY.”

How does your WHY make you feel?
    What are the pros of achieving that goal?
    What are the cons, if any?

Think through through the above questions. Spending the time truly assessing WHY you want
what you do. Sometime you may find it is not as important as you may have previously thought.
Other times it reconfirms your desire.

After we have decided what we want, now we must determine WHY we want it? We must get
real and ask ourselves honestly: Why do we want what we want? Is it for status, respect,
happiness, inner-peace? Identify the emotions that come to mind when you think about your
goal. How does the achievement of that goal affect the future, past, present? Focus on the details.
Maybe you make your goal a tangible item such as a particular house on the hill with that oh so
glorious white picket fence and backyard pool… or  maybe it’s a 2-week vacation traveling
through Southeast Asia with each city that you wish to visit clearly mapped out. Or maybe you
make your goal the long-term achievement of becoming an entrepreneur who runs a successful
company with the financial freedom to do what you want, when you want, where you want, and
as much as you want. Or maybe you want to become a full-time professional actor. Or maybe
you want to have a family with 2 kids and a significant other to cherish.

Regardless of what you want to make your goal, the question remains the same: Why do you
want it? When we figure this out, we discover our motivation, our driving force, our reason to
not settle for anything less. Of course, we all want many things in our lives, but it is imperative
that we F.O.C.U.S. (Follow One Course Until Success) as my friend and fellow entrepreneur
John Lee Dumas likes to say. Determining why we want what we want will give us the power to
persevere throughout the inevitable adversity along the way.

2) WHY do you want to achieve it? (Use bullet points to list specifically why this is your goal.)

How and when are you going to get it?

Formulate a plan and decide on a definite date and time when you are going to achieve your
goal. Work backwards and make a plan. Determine the actions and steps needed to achieve it,
starting with where you want to be and how you’re going to get there. Like Tony Robbins says,
“Knowledge is potential power, but execution trumps knowledge every day of the week.”
Starting is the hardest part. Picking a place to start is where most of us get hung up. So we’re
going to skip that step! I’m going to give you your first action, RESEARCH!

Now that we have determined what we want and why we want it, we must ask our self, WHEN
do we want it by and HOW are we going to get it. This means setting a definite date and time
when we WILL accomplish the given goal by. It is not enough to say, “Well someday, I want…”
or “When I get financially stable, I will…” or better yet “I am too busy to start but after I finish
Game of Thrones episode 49, I’ll get right to it …” Now I love a good television series just as
much as the next guy (Ok maybe not because some people are cray cray FANATICS) but the
amount of live streaming shows (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, you name it) available these days can
certainly delay our progress and distract our growth… if we let them!

This is why it’s even more important that we be specific with the time frame of our goals! Be
crystal clear with yourself and write the date and time down that you want to achieve your .
Make it realistic but give yourself the blessing of personal pressure. Have it set in stone and hold
yourself accountable.  If you know the exact date that you’re going to accomplish your goal, you
can budget a binge-worthy episode in!

Now that we have the exact date of achievement planned, we can formulate precisely how we
will make it happen. With the date set, we can budget our time accordingly. Say your goal is to
finish writing a book in 30 days and you plan on having 10 chapters. You know that it takes
roughly two hours to write a chapter so you can allocate 1.5 hours each day to writing. You now
have a much more manageable goal, and in 30 days, your book will be finito. Again, this isn’t
trigonometry but so many of us fail to do this ever-important reverse engineering process.

I know because I have been there. I always have so many different things vying for my attention,
and I try to say yes to as many as I can. I definitely deal with f.o.m.o. (fear of missing out)
because missing out on an opportunity scares me. If you’re like me in this respect, then it is all
the more essential to utilize focus, the power of no, and the reverse engineering process. With
these tools, I have been able to accomplish each goal I set for myself. And you can too, you just
need to start the process! Spend some time today, even for 15 minutes, to ask yourself these 3
questions (some math mathematicians may say 3 ½ ). WHAT do I want? WHY do I want it? And
WHEN/HOW am I going to get it? Don’t let the fear of uncertainty hold you back any longer.
The time is now. Set it and get it.

3) WHEN do you want it by and HOW will you achieve it?
(Give an exact time frame including the date/time/year. Then work backwards by breaking down
the goal into daily tasks and hourly work.)

Allow me to close this section by mentioning GOAL FLEXIBILITY. Look I get it, life happens
and your #1 goal that you wanted oh-so-bad may transition into a goal that is no longer a goal at
all. Thats where goal flexibility comes in. You have the ability to pivot to another goal that is
important to you. Just make sure you are pivoting to another goal because your goal has
legitimately changed, not because you are quitting on yourself.

Start by:
•  Doing your research. Study the industry including those who are doing and have done what
you want to do.
•  Finding a mentor to expedite the learning curve.
•  Deciding on a definite date.
•  Creating a detailed plan of attack with action steps by the hour.
•  Inventing a morning ritual.
•  Finding accountability within yourself and/or with others.

Get after it, no bullshit. Commit and grind.

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