Using positive outcome thinking to reach your goals

Have you ever found yourself trying to reach some goals but only to give up at the first sigh of challenge? May it be to quit smoking, or to start exercising, to imagine your goals in terms of outcome thinking will greatly increases your chances of success.The reason is that outcome thinking requires you to imagine stepping forward into the future having already achieved your goals. Visualizing a successful outcome serves as motivation towards achieving that goal. It also helps you to generate a lot sensory information about obstacles in the way, possible resources, and ideas about what has to happen for you to reach the outcome.

"A well-formed outcome can be your personal map towards achieving your goal. It is a framework used to help you define clear and achievable results. If you start out with your own unique map of how to proceed at any point along your route, you will wildly increase your chances of success" (Coombes, 2010).

The following are some questions that you can ask yourself to formulate a well-formed outcome:

For example, if you want to quit overeating and start dieting and exercising, instead of framing the goal in a problem centered way, such as "I don't want to overeat anymore", you can change it to a solution focused outcome by asking a follow up question:

What do I really want instead of that?

  • Example Answer: I want to eat a more balanced diet and to become more active.

What would exercise do for you?

  • It would allow me to get in shape and lose weight

What would losing weight and getting in shape do for you?

  • It would allow me to become more engaged and feel better about myself, it would also give me a sense of accomplishment in having achieved an important goal

Why is feeling better about yourself and a sense of accomplishment important to you?

  • Because it is an important part of my well-being and life satisfaction. Having a positive self-esteem will provide me with the self-compassion and support to explore new things knowing that even if I fail, I will still accept myself.
  • The sense of accomplishment will give me the self-confidence necessary to initiate change in other aspects of my life. I might become more outgoing, more confident with networking etc.

What would losing weight give you that you would not other wise have?

  • A better, more fit body, better cardiovascular health

What would having a better, more fit body give your that you would not otherwise have?

  • I'd be able to take on some other sports; I would look in the mirror and feel great about myself. I'd feel energized, alive, and love the person staring back at me.

There are other questions that can help you clarify your goal:

How will you know you are fit?

  • I'd know when I weigh x pounds, and workout 3 times a week

What will you see, hear, and feel when you've got what you want?

  • I'd feel great, see that all my cloth are getting bigger and that my body is getting more toned. I'd see my tummy getting smaller and thighs slimming down. I'd feel lighter than before. I'd hear people telling me how great I look. I'd feel proud of myself for having lost weight.

These are just some of the questions that you can ask yourself in reaching your goal. The more vividly a goal is imagined, the more the unconscious mind will strive to achieve it.

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