Shaping your outcomes

How do you know if you’ve set a good goal?

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) uses the practice of “well-formed outcomes” to formulate goals that are effective, worthwhile, and achievable.

What DO you want? A good goal moves you towards something, not away from something else. If you want to stop spending so much time on Facebook, what will you replace that with? What will that extra time enable you to do that you couldn’t before?  Try to be specific about comparisons: how much “more” or “better” are you aiming for?

You, and you alone. You’re only going to commit to this if you want it for yourself, not for somebody else. Any actions required for achieving your goal must also be things you can achieve, not dependent on other people.  For example, if you want to get a new job, you can’t control whether or not they will hire you, but you can control the number of applications you make or the amount of time you spend networking.

How does it feel? Describing your goal in sensory detail–not only your emotional feelings, but what you will actually see, hear, taste, touch and smell when you’ve achieved it–will anchor your intentions to a specific outcome. It’s like a little time machine giving you into the future you want to create for yourself.

A soul whose intentions are good. There is something about your current behaviour or situation that is working for you, or which has worked for you up until now.  In other words, there’s a positive intention behind what you’re doing now.  What is it?  What’s working for you?  What do you want to keep?  Figuring that out will help you let go of the rest.

Look around. What impact will achieving your goal have on the other people in your life? Family, friends, work colleagues? Is it worth doing what it will take to get what you want? What could you lose if you get it? What is the ‘personal ecology’ of your outcome?

Checking your goal for these five areas will help you understand whether you really want what you think you want and what it will take to get you there.


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