1. Make it positive! What do you want instead of what you have?
It is easier to imagine something instead of nothing – it gives energy to move towards something we aspire to instead of moving away from something we wish to eliminate or avoid. Typically, "I want to lose weight" doesn’t give the mind a message of where you want to go – "I want to fit into those pants" / "I want to feel lighter when I run" /" I want to weigh -so many- pounds, kilos" ... gives you your direction and finish line!
2. Make sure it is within your reach.
You need to be able to initiate and maintain the goal – be in charge. Does achieving this goal depend only on you? If not, what part of it depends only on you? And that part will be your goal. If your goal is to get a job, your achievable goal is the preparation and your performance – the decision does not belong to you. Although this seems obvious, it is surprising how often I hear goals such as: “Get my project passed/accepted/sold.” By focusing on what is within your reach you can own take ownership and responsibility for what is yours. This aspect refers to the presupposition that “the only person you can change is yourself.”
3. Take a step forward and test what it’ll be like on the other side of the finish line.
Imagine yourself once you’ve reached your goal - what will you see, feel, hear that will show you you have reached your goal? What will any observer be able to see, catch on film? Testing these sensory elements allows us to perceive possible resistance, unconscious drawbacks we hadn’t thought about, such as the impact of a sought after promotion on family life. This point also allows to rein in the perfectionist impulse of forever-ungraspable goals – everytime they get there they don’t realise it because they’ve already unconsciously moved the finish line further.
4. In what context?
With whom, when, what, where, to what extent, and so on? For example, will you really always want to be master of your emotions? Aren’t there some moments you will want to just let go? In addition, this helps to identify potential moments when the outcome is not wanted – for example ‘I want to feel totally relaxed when giving a speech’ - 100%? or do you think you might want to keep a bit of healthy adrenaline activated to be more alert?
5. Is it sustainable, appropriate?
What will the impact be in the medium and long term on the surrounding context in terms of harmony, sustainability, compatibility? Is there any positive advantage to not reaching this goal? What drawback could arise in fulfilling and reaching this goal? For example, is it healthy for you to weigh 80% of your current weight in 3 weeks time?
6. What for?
What makes the achievement of this goal important, what value is it linked to? Is there another goal that would better or more quickly fulfill the value? How will reaching this goal be useful? What will be the impact of the goal? Is there no other way of achieving the impact of your goal? Does the goal fulfill the positive ‘by-products’, positive intentions of the problem state? Such as a possible byproduct of smoking can be to feel connexion to a group – what goal will allow you to transform that habit and still be connected to the group – unless of course you want to change your relationships which might mean changing your goal and the smoking could stop all by itself!
7. What’s it going to take? Is it worth it?
Change always has a price tag, even if it’s spending your winnings from the sweepstakes - keep in mind that winning is not a goal since all you have control over is buying the ticket - anyway, even a windfall moment has a cost to it – that of not doing something else. The investment is not only in terms of time or money, it is also energy, community, relationships, etc. How far are you willing to go to if it doesn’t work the first time round?
8. Is it in line with your who you define yourself as being?
Imagine yourself in 5, 10, 20 years from now. How will reaching this goal be a step in the direction of the person you are and wish to become?
Reference and appreciation to: WellFormedness Conditions for Outcomes - nlpuniversitypress.com/html3/W03.html
and Institut Ressources ressources.be/formation/les-bases-de-la-pnl