Create the Life You Want by Using Our Surefire Goal Checklist
Have you ever been in a conversation like this? “What do you want?” “Well, I’m not sure, but I know what I don’t want!” If it’s a discussion about dinner, then it’s not a big thing. On the other hand, when it’s in a conversation about life, it becomes much more serious. Some people actually live their whole lives without ever identifying what they really want out of life.
In the example above, we see a very vague idea and notice that the person is framing it in a negative manner vs. a positive one. Do you think this leads to creating the life you want? Not likely. The solutions lies in knowing what you want, (the well formed outcome) and creating the steps (well formed goals) to get you there.
In harmony with this, Neuro Linguistic Programming creators Richard Bandler and John Grinder concluded that successful behaviors are the results of goals achieved through the process of well-formed outcomes. That means you stop and use your ability to look at a situation from all angles and to think things all the way through, before setting any goals. In NLP terms this is called process thinking and forward-looking. This allows you to choose goals that integrate with and support all aspects of your life (i.e., values, relationships, finances, and health). Well-formed outcomes are designed to avoid unintended consequences and resistance due to conflicted feelings, thoughts or values.
Are you seeing that you need both well-formed goals and well-formed outcomes to create the life you want? You need one to get to the other. Both must be well thought out. They don’t deal in generalities but are very specific in nature. And, unlike the example at the beginning, they are always framed in positive terms not negatives ones.
In NLP, well-formed goals that achieve a well-formed outcome ideally meet the following conditions. Use our 10-point checklist to refine or check your goals. If they pass, you’re golden.
- Are stated in the positive. What you want, not what you don’t want. Ex: “I want to have the energy and stamina to run a 10K marathon by next summer”, not, “I don’t want to be overweight”. Successful people always know what they want, where they’re going, what they’re doing and how to do it.
- Are described in sensory terms. You can see, hear, or feel it. It’s tangible rather than theoretical or conceptual. Otherwise, how will you know when you’ve achieved it? Ask yourself, “If I made a video of this outcome what would I see and hear on the video?” When you can describe it in great detail, you can picture doing it in your mind, which starts training your body to do it.
- Are possible and achievable. You must believe that it’s possible even if other people tell you that you can’t do it.
- Are within YOUR reach because you have all of the required resources. This includes connections with people, the appropriate emotional state, physical strength, time, finances, intellect, education, equipment, and more.
- Are defined within a timeframe. A set timeline for starting a goal and completing it will keep you moving forward.
- Are created for a specific context. Make sure your goals are related to specific places, issues and people. For instance, the skills needed to deal with one situation might not be appropriate for another.
- Are ecological by considering costs and consequences for yourself and others. There will be intended and unintended consequences, which must be considered. A desired outcome is ecologically sound when the consequences aren’t unduly negative. Ex: You want to start your own business, but the time and effort causes you to neglect your family. How will you deal with the conflict?
- Are described in great detail. What you want it for, the terms, conditions and environmental contexts in which you want to have it.
- Are formed after a consideration of all the different approaches. You want to have flexibility in how you go about achieving the desired outcome.
- Are dependent on you, not someone else. You can only control you. For example, you can’t make someone treat you with more respect, but you can change your actions and attitudes so you earn their respect.
Before you can create the life you want, your dreams must be refined. Using this NLP process makes them more realistic, action-focused and realizable. NLP unleashes your capabilities for doing more than you ever thought possible. We invite you to join us for our next NLP class, Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP, on September 15th. Our highly experiential training empowers you to create the life you want, plus you’ll learn how to help your coaching clients do it, too.