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Top 10 steps to creating your perfect goal (well-defined outcome) – using NLP

Updated on June 8, 2012

We all have “to do” lists, either in our heads, on our PDAs or on countless scraps of paper. However, this article and approach is less concerned with achieving a set of tasks and more about setting a specific, compelling goal or outcome.

If you are to achieve a specific outcome, it is absolutely essential that you define this outcome in advance. Without this clear definition, you won’t know what you’re driving towards; whether you are taking the right route; and whether you’ve got there or not.

By clearly defining the perfect goal or outcome, you will be in a perfect position to create the right maps to guide you and you will be able to come up with easier and potentially faster ways to get there.

You already have this power to act. If you haven't been able to summon it, it's merely because you have failed to set goals that inspire you".
(Anthony Robbins: Awaken the Giant Within)

What is the difference between a goal and an outcome?

Goals can go a long way in helping you achieve brilliance. Your goal may be to have a great time at a social occasion, or become a millionaire (billionaire?!) within five years. There are many different kinds of goals.

The key is to imagine yourself as if you have already achieved the goal. Use all your senses to assess whether the goal is actually your desired outcome. If you can say a definite “YES” to wanting to achieve this goal – that is your desires, your values, and your needs are all aligned - then you’ve set the right outcome. If you waiver, re-work the goal until you absolutely would grab the goal with both hands.


Summary of approach

1. Create a positive, specific goal
2. State your outcome in terms of ability (not lack of ability)
3. Use context to form your outcome
4. Use your Sense Modalities
5. Manageable Objectives
6. Support
7. Perform an ecology check
8. Create your milestones
9. Write down your goals
10. Test

1. Create a positive, specific goal

State your goal in positive, specific terms. Take the time to describe exactly what you want. How will it feel; what will you hear; what do you see? (For more on modalities – see below.)

Your goal should be clear, well-formed and positive
Your goal should be clear, well-formed and positive | Source

Make sure the goal is positive - a negative goal will not take you in a positive direction. Avoid goals such as, "I do not want to be a perfectionist." If you erase a problem and replace it with something positive and resourceful, what would it be? (E.g. “I want to be carefree and creative!”)

2. State your outcome in terms of ability (not lack of ability)

You are in charge and can control your destiny. Well-formed outcomes put you in the “driving seat”. They are formed around what actions you are taking not someone else. So avoid outcomes / goals such as "I want others to support me" as this will stop you from making progress.

If you are struggling with this, as yourself the question: “What can I do on my own to make this happen?”

3. Use context to form your outcome

Describe your well-formed outcome in the context of the environment it will be in.

This makes your goal more specific and motivational. It also helps to make sure that you have created an ecological goal. Add places, locations, geography, people and their titles, a budget, time frames and more. By making it specific and context-related, you're making it real for your brain.

Sub-modalities: These are sub-sets of our representational systems (visual / auditory / kinaesthetic). So a sub-modality for the visual rep system might be bright / dim or focussed / unfocussed.

4. Use your Sense Modalities

Describe your outcome by using your five senses. A well-formed outcome is specific and you must be able to imagine living it to assess it’s well-formed nature. By adding all senses, you are being more specific and, again, motivational.

If you use words such as love, assertive or passionate, be sure to include the senses that form that emotion. From a sensory point of view, what does it mean for you to feel more assertive. In what part of your body do you feel it? In what situation are you being assertive, and what kind of reaction or reception are you seeing?

Managing your steps along the way is key to achieving your goal.
Managing your steps along the way is key to achieving your goal. | Source

5. Manageable Objectives

Break down your goal into manageable objectives (chunking down), so that each step gives you that motivation to continue. Smaller steps feel more achievable. Writing a book; climbing a large mountain; running a marathon can all seem pretty daunting without chunking them down to more manageable objectives or goals.

Make sure you define the objectives in achievable terms. (Ideally, SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-based.)

Assess what support you will need to achieve your goals
Assess what support you will need to achieve your goals | Source

6. Support

Think about what support you might need to help you to make your outcome a reality. What resources do you need? Make a list of the resources you will use in attaining your goal.

Make sure you are not placing unrealistic or onerous a burden on someone or something to the extent that you are then relying on that to attain your goal. (See “State your outcome in terms of ability”.)

Remember, be specific:

· Who is the person who can assist you?
· What is their name?
· What is their profession?
· How about their phone numbers?
· What exactly are you asking of them?
· What is the resource you will need?
· How much do you need?
· When will you need it?
· Where will you find it?
· How much will it cost?

Perform an ecology check
Perform an ecology check | Source

7. Perform an ecology check

You have your well-formed outcome – you are living it with all your senses. Is it what your REALLY want? If you can’t say “Yes” without hesitation, assess what might be interfering.

Are there any values, other goals, people, or laws that may be challenging?
How might you accommodate or mitigate now in order to make your dream a reality?
Consider any internal obstacles you may have. Is a part of you interfering with your goal?

Use your creative resources to overcome these obstacles or align your values to make the well-formed outcome truly compelling.

8. Create your milestones

As well as chunking down (or creating achievable Objectives), you need to know that you are progressing in the right direction and at the right pace.

You must know what signs of progress you will see / feel / smell / etc. along the way. Make sure you are crystal clear about each milestone. How
will you know you have achieved a milestone? What are the signs if you are veering off and not hitting your milestones.

Mark on your calendar the dates that you will be checking each milestone.

Note in your plan exactly what you want to see by that date.

Being a fantastic lover is an amazing goal. So what about learning to read the body language of the person you're with as a milestone. Be clear on how you will measure your attainment of this milestone.

(Or use your mobile device!)
(Or use your mobile device!) | Source

9. Write down your goals

This sounds very obvious, so it must not be overlooked.

Use a small portable notebook to record your goals, objectives and milestones (in separate sections.
• It gives you a place for problem solving and innovation
• Sometimes a stray thought will turn into a gold mine when you come across it later.

Having separate sections gives you a working reference for checking milestones, refining your goals, and working toward your objectives.

The written word has commanding power.

10. Test

Monitor your progress on the goal and its milestones. Keep this in a conspicuous place to remind you.

Notice any ways that this approach has helped you make progress toward achieving your goal. Notice any ways that this approach has improved your approach and openness to face your goals and milestones, and to commit you to them.

Part of the beauty of this approach is making obstacles clearer so you can deal with them.


Simply remember to keep the outcome in mind as a direction and not as a "to do" list. Make it a big outcome so it inspires you, and then let it be as you take small actions and celebrate each milestone.

Treating outcomes as the end results is not overly motivating. Thinking that all you need to do is to "get there" is not going to motivate you to really get there.

You should accept your outcome as means to an end, which means you are about to use them to express or fulfil a greater purpose!

That's a true motivational force.


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    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      Very inspirational. It does sound like a plan.