Thinking Far

I was introduced to a simple tool about 4 years ago called a One Page Personal Plan, OPPP. This tool is intended to break down life long aspirations into shorter goals that are actually manageable and possible to complete.

It was the first time that I really tried to extend my thinking out to the end of my life. What did I really want to accomplish throughout my lifetime? I had to think hard about it, and while I was thinking I began to study the structure of the OPPP.

It was broken up into sections that consisted of “Lifetime”, 10 years, 5 years, and 1 year. The intention was to write down a lifetime goal, then write down where you would need to be in 10 years to achieve the lifetime goal. Then, where would you need to be in 5 years to achieve the 10 year goal, and finally the 1 year goal.

Working goals backwards like this is almost like magic. What seems like an impossible task becomes almost laughably easy when you break it down to 1 year goals. For example if you wanted to read 1,000 books within your lifetime and you are 30 years old (and you live to 90) you would only have to read 167 books in every 10 year block, 83 books in every 5 year block and 17 books per year. Just over 1 per month. If you do that for the rest of your life you will have read 1,000 books.

This strategy works for every goal you can think of.

The hardest part is taking the time to think through your goals. You may find that you don’t actually know what you want to achieve over your lifetime. That’s ok, for now. But you must start thinking about it, even if it is hard and uncomfortable.

Then break it down. 10 year blocks, 5 year blocks, and 1 year blocks. Finally, start with the smallest goal and work towards it everyday and by the time you get to the end, you will have done everything you have ever wanted.

The magic of the OPPP.

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