I mentioned the concept of well-formed outcomes in the SMART Goals section.
New Year is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come and where we want to go next. Many people set New Year resolutions. Only to break these resolutions in a couple of weeks. If not days. Here I want to focus on how we can use NLP in the context of setting goals.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) was developed in 1975. It focuses on learning how to think and feel without judgment. Among many other things, it teaches people how to free themselves from unwanted desires and bad habits.
A critical part of NLP is goal setting. To achieve this, NLP has created goal-setting criteria called the well-formed outcomes model. This model offers a way for followers to test their goals to see if they are attainable and learn how to achieve them.
NLP teaches that goal setting is the first step in becoming a successful person. The NLP goal model works by making goals specific to particular senses in the body. This specificity directs your attention to what you already see, feel and hear internally. You will then link your internal and external forces together to reach your goals effectively. By combining your internal and external forces, you can move from your present state to a state you never thought possible—a state where your desired goal has become a reality.
The term ‘well-formed’ has been around in NLP for many years. This term means that you have to run the outcome you want to achieve through some tests. Only after it has ‘passed’ these tests can you label it as well-designed – or, indeed, ‘well-formed.’
The well-formed outcome model is a way to refine goals and clarify what exactly it is that you want and what you hope to get out of setting your goal.
The term well-formed means that your goal has passed through the well-formed outcome model and is achievable. If a goal does not pass through the model, then the goal is likely unattainable, and it would be unrealistic to ever achieve said goal.
The well-formed outcome model comprises seven questions or categories that allow its users to think about their goal’s features. It will help them decide if they can carry out their goal and how they can go about accomplishing their goal.
These questions are what comprises the well-formed outcome model.
What do you want, specifically? When?
Make sure you state the outcome as something you want (rather than something you don’t want). If you’re striving to eliminate something – whether it’s sugar, smoking, or success – phrase the outcome as something you want.
◦ Consistently enjoy coffee without sugar
◦ To be free from the habit of smoking
◦ To earn $x000 in 2022
Big goals are great here – provided you feel you can reach them or at least can act as if you can.
1. Can you state your goal in favorable terms?
While stating your goal in favorable terms, consider what your present state is. Then, find out if your wanted state is better or worse than your current situation. If worse, then abandon your goal, or reassess your goal to make it a positive thing. Think about how you can go about positively achieving your goal. Also, state what you want to achieve and what you are working towards.
2. Can you state your goal in sensory-based terms?
Be clear about what will be happening when you achieve your goal.
State your goal in sensory terms. Think about what you will see, hear, think and feel when you have been successful? Think about these senses in terms of achieving your goal so you can engage all of your senses to attain your goal. This makes the outcome ‘real’ for you.
Also, think about whether you have dissected your goal into enough small steps so each step is achievable and won’t overwhelm your senses.
3. How is the goal compelling to you? (Reward)
Is your goal exciting? Do you have a passion for completing your goal? If the answer is yes, you are on the right track to meeting your future goal. Make your goal sound compelling, so you can imagine yourself and your life after achieving the goal you set.
4. Does the goal suit you in every aspect of your life? (Ecology)
Will your goal fit every nook and cranny of your life? Will it be harmful or helpful to your relationships and yourself? Make sure that your goal fits into every part of your life, even the small details.
Consider the costs and benefits. Short term and long term. For yourself and those around you. When all is said and done, is it worth it?
5. Can you set up the goal yourself and maintain it yourself?
Self-initiated goals are ones that you will be able to maintain in the long run. Test your goal to be confident that it is within your power to do. If your goal is not self-initiated and depends on other people’s actions, it will not be accomplished or maintained easily.
6. What is the context of your goal?
Try to answer these questions.
– With whom will you need to talk to in order to accomplish said goal,
– Where you will need to go to carry out the stated goal,
– Who will be affected by you chasing after your goal?
7. What resources will you need to complete your goal?
Determine the resources that you will need to reach your goal. Resources can include other people, certain material items, or even something as simple as free time. Make a list of the resources you’ll need, and read this list when you feel less than eager to keep working towards your goal.
Recapitulation Well-Formed Outcomes
The well-formed outcome method involves testing your goals against the well-formed outcome model. You go through the process to determine if your goal is attainable.
I believe goal setting is an essential part of the human experience. To be successful in your life and relationships, it is pertinent to carry some well-formed outcomes (goals) with you.