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Reverse Engineering Self Care

Working from End to Beginning with Visualization

For many people in the world of Social Work, self care is a process that requires careful planning, determination, and detailed visualization of the end goal. An effective plan of action for creating an environment of self care is working backwards from the end goal. Reverse engineering things. Starting from the finish allows us to break down the ultimate objective into smaller, manageable tasks or milestones and create a true vision of what we’re looking to achieve. This vision helps to set realistic and specific benchmarks while providing direction. For example, if the end goal is to complete a full week of vacation time without checking email or taking any work calls, working backwards would involve getting that vision clear in our head. What does it look like? What does it sound like? How does it make us feel? Anxious? Relieved?

Once that vision is created in the mind, we can start to expose ourselves to any uncomfortable situations we foresee ahead of time. Maybe a good start leading up to a full week of vacation time is just one weekend without looking at email or listening to voice messages. May sound goofy, but we all know someone who can’t go this long. Once a weekend is accomplished, maybe the next goal is to go 3 weekdays with no email or voice messages after five o’clock. Just keep gradually increasing time spent accomplishing the goal of NOT looking at voice messages or emails. (Within reason of course, we’d like to still have gainful employment after vacation).

Doing this allows for a systematic approach to task attainment. Each milestone becomes a step towards the ultimate objective and creates a sense of progress and accomplishment. As already mentioned, it also helps to identify potential hangups and gives us time to devise strategies to overcome them without being blindsided and/or startled by emotion. By breaking the goal into smaller, manageable tasks, individuals can focus on one step at a time, reduce overwhelm and increase the likelihood of making things happen. One of the biggest, if not THE BIGGEST, indicator of success is prior success. We are creating momentum and a closed loop system of success.

This approach also leaves room for adaptability. As we work through the steps towards our end goal, we may encounter unexpected challenges, or better yet, opportunities. Reverse engineering allows for flexibility with the plan to accommodate these while still keeping sight of the ultimate objective.

In conclusion, reverse engineering is a powerful strategy for achieving all types of objectives. Not just self care. It blazes a trail for every future goal of the same type, promotes accountability, and allows for adaptability in the pursuit of success. By looking ahead, vividly visualizing, and breaking down the ultimate goal into manageable tasks, we increase our chances of success while simultaneously stacking wins along the way.

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