Some of my clients sometimes complain that they have clear long-term goals, but although they’re exhilarated by their vision, they’re lost as to what the necessary steps are to get there and how they should go about taking action on them. In this blog, I’m going to talk about how you can break down your goals into a plan by “reverse engineering your goals”.


Just a quick note

What I’ll be focusing on in this post is the skill of how to break down your goals into actionable items by reverse engineering them. However, I’d like to mention that your inaction regarding your goals might also be due to other common factors such as the following:

  1. You doubt your ability to succeed because there’s a voice in your head that says, “You’re not good enough”. To learn about your inner critic and how to deal with it, I highly recommend this video by Rick Carson.
  2. You think because you’ve failed frequently in the past, you won’t succeed this time, either.
  3. You have a limiting belief that the big goal you’ve set is not achievable based on your special conditions (age, education, financial background, family situation, nationality, etc).
  4. You presuppose that some people or circumstances will block or at least delay your success.

If you’re facing one of these energy blocks, I highly recommend that you seek the services of a professional coach to help you remove any such obstacles that might be in your way.


Back to reverse engineering your goals.

Occasionally, your big ambitious goals actually demotivate and deflate you rather than wake you up at 6:00 am on Saturdays to pursue your dreams. This is because you view this big beautiful picture that you’ve painted at the end of the road, but have no idea how in the world you can get there, what the first step is, and where you should actually start. Well, the best way to eat an elephant is, as the saying goes, one bite at a time, which leads us to the concept of Reverse Engineering your Goals. Reverse Engineering your Goals is a very simple process: you envision the final realized goal and consider the time frame to get there; then you ask yourself realistically what you should have done in the previous step (and by when) in order to qualify to achieve the final goal, and then you work your way step by step all the way back to today, so you can get clear on what action you should take right here right now to get you started on the path to achieving your dream.

Shahab Anari Business coach

Let me give you an example

I have a client who is a real estate agent in Toronto. He has this 10-year vision of having his own brokerage in two locations in Canada with 10 realtors working for him generating 100 million dollars annually. When I was coaching him, we realized that the pen-ultimate step for him would be to have one location just in Toronto with 5 realtors and $50 million revenue — 5 years from now. The step before that would be to have a joint brokerage with another well-known brand in Toronto within 3 years, where he would have a team of 3 realtors producing $25 million a year. Based on this, his 1-year milestone would be working as the head of a team of realtors (3 including himself) in the office of one of the well-known brands (i.e., Remax Realty). So when I asked him, “How about 6 months from now?” he said that he would need to have hired his first assistant and trained him so they could go out and start operating as a team. Where should he be one month from now? Well, he needs to have sorted out his brand identity system (his brand profile, brand identity suite, and so on). All of this brings us to the first step in the process, which he should embark on today: start looking for a Personal Branding advisor (which in this case is actually ME).

Shahab Anari business coach

If you’d like to read more on this concept, here is a comprehensive article on it. Remember that all along the way, when we’re in the process of setting goals, we should make sure that our goals are real SMART goals, not some fuzzy mere wishes. Remember how to set SMART goals?

Shahab Anari Business Coach

Now, you take some time and remind yourself of your 10-year vision. Use the Reverse Engineering methodology to mentally walk the path back in time, and get clear on what you should do TODAY so that you’ll be on your way to achieving your big vision ten years down the road. Share below what your FIRST STEP is.


Shahab AnariDr. Shahab Anari is a Personal Branding Strategist, professional coach, and co-author with Brian Tracy of ‘Ignite Your Life’. He has worked with more than 30,000 people on the topics of personal and professional success. He empowers professionals to multiply their income through more visibility, credibility, and authenticity. Download his FREE Personal Branding Guide at