Merlin was a great wizard in King Arthur’s court. If you were in trouble, Merlin was the Ace in your sleeve.

Merlin is also the name of a goal-setting device that I learned. Basically, you start at the goal and a certain point in time and then plot the steps that would bring you to that goal.

For example, where do you see yourself in five years in terms of your health?

Maybe, you see yourself losing 10 pounds or being able to play sports with your kids without getting winded.

Now that you have the end in mind, this is where Merlin comes in. You go backwards, a year, maybe two years. What things are in place or did you do at those points to get to that five-year goal?

Sometimes to take into consideration: In 5 years, will your kids be out of the house? At least one of mine will be. Maybe by then that gym will be built down the street. Will you have a different job or get promoted? Is there any other significant things to happen that may impact your plan?

Then again, look at steps you have to take in the next few months, maybe the next six months, to get to those points a year or three out.

You have your map? Good, go implement it and get it done.

Here’s a map I did for my fitness goals as an example. In five years, I’ll be 50. I know a lot people who have died in their 50s. I prefer not to be one of them.

Five years from now, I would like to have been sober for at least four years. I am able to grow and preserve my own food and do more than basic house repairs. I have the energy to do this because I exercise on a regular basis and rarely eat processed or fast foods.

Two of my kids will be in or on their way to college. I’m turning one of their bedrooms into a creativity center, to help address some of the mental health needs exercise doesn’t solve.

In three years, I will have addressed several mental and physical health issues I have with a professional. I will buy better equipment for adventuring and will try to go on an epic adventure with my family every quarter.

In six months, I will reestablish my fitness routine.

Now … I can’t tell you about now. It’s a surprise. I will tell you it involves playing more soccer with my kids.