#2 – Begin with the End in Mind

Today I’m continuing the ongoing series on Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People with a discussion on habit number 2 – “Begin with the end in mind.”

We find that many of the habits tend to piggy back on each other.  “Begin with the end in mind” shares some commonality with “Be Proactive” in that it has a lot to do with our own responsibility to take control of our own fate.  It takes it a step further however, in that “Be Proactive” focuses on taking the initial ownership of our lives, but “Begin with the end in mind” involves taking actions on that ownership.

Life is about goals and visions.  We all have an idea of who we want to be and where we want to be.  If we are going to be effective in our day to day lives, we need to work toward a goal.  It can be as small as setting a plan for the tasks we need to complete today in order to achieve accomplishment or as grand as visualizing what we want to make of our lives and moving toward that destination to be that person we wish ourselves to become.  Setting goals is about being purposeful in our actions, not just going through the motions.

“Begin with the end in mind” also gives us some understanding and structure in achieving goals.  This habit introduces us to the two creations, one the mental and the other the physical.  First, create a mental instruction of what it is we want to achieve and how we want to go about achieving it.  Second, follow the guidelines that you’ve outlined and finish the job.  It’s all about proper planning and following through with purposeful action.

To me, the biggest ideal in this habit is the understanding that if we do not set these goals for ourselves and continually act upon them, by default we are relinquishing this responsibility to someone else.  If we do not decide for ourselves the kind of person we are going to be or the way we are going to conduct our business and handle ourselves in our interactions with others, we fall victim to being molded by the wills of others.  “Begin with the end in mind” is about charting a course and following the road all the while relentlessly avoiding roadblocks, traffic, and wrong directions.

What are some of the ways that you have found effective in setting goals and accomplishing them, both in day to day activities and in setting our long term vision for our lives?

~ by bfmooz on June 30, 2011.

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