Steven Covey coined a lot of great phrases. “Sharpening the Saw” in 3 words sums all the reasons we need to live a healthy life. We are the saw and if we don’t keep ourselves sharp and focused, what good are we?
Still, one of my favorite phrases is “Begin with the End in Mind.” It such a simple and direct thought, yet so often we just start – and what – hope we finish.
In his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Covey begins a character asking the reader to imagine one’s own funeral. Imagine 4 people, a wife/husband, child, friend, and co-worker, coming up to speak about you. What would they say? What have you done?
Imagine them saying what you think they should say. Is that possible? Could you live a life now, that in the end; would allow those 4 people to say about you – what you want to say. It’s a powerful exercise. I don’t do justice to Dr. Covey’s directions.
But think about. At the end of your life, imagine all the wonderful things that those who love you best will say about you. Or will they, really? If you could write the script, and then live it – how powerful would that be?
You begin your life by first visually how you want to end your life.
To bring it down to “day to day” living, I always look at the end results I want. With the results firmly in mind I formulate my plan.
In the army, we used to plan our operations order from the time of attack. From there, we would walk it backwards and determine at what points we need to be where. We walked it right back to real time. It is planning by starting at the finish line.
But goal planning is done in context of what my vision is for my life.
And my vision is the end. Nothing too elaborate there – I just want to be a good husband, a good father, a good son, a good friend and a good citzen. I want my 4 people to say that I was a kind, caring, generous person who could be trusted, who was trustworthy – someone who was there for them when they needed me most.Â I’m not out to conquer the world.
So what do I have to do to be that – a good father.Â I need to healthy for one. To be healthy, I need to get my weight to 175lbs and my bodyfat down to under 12%. In doing that, I lower all my important, vital stats. I live longer. A good father should live awhile.
With that end in mind, I formulate my SMART goals. I will lose 15lbs over the next 3 months (January 1, 2011) by dropping 5lbs of fat, while maintaining my muscle mass, every month.
To accomplish that goal, I will implement daily habits that involve drinking enough water, reading labels, exercise routine, etc.
But the reason isn’t to lose weight, the reason is to be a father who was there.
The End is the driving goal.
So, what End is in Your Mind?
Take an afternoon and think about that. It’s worth it.