Following a simple series of steps in constructing goals can make all the difference between failure and success. This series of blog posts based on a technique from NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) will offer you a powerful set of questions and steps to make sure that you can and will accomplish your important goals and new year’s resolutions.
This first post in the series outlines the steps in defining your goal in a way that is specific enough to be attainable.
So what are the qualities of an achievable goal?
It is stated in the positive.
If you tell your server at a restaurant that you do not want pizza, cob salad, or pork chow mien, will you get what you actually want?
Our unconscious minds tend move us towards what we focus on. Focusing on the negative will only cause you to get more of what you don’t want. If you focus on “not failing”, for example, you may well find yourself failing more, because you are focusing your energies on failing. Or even worse, you may give up before even starting. After all, how can you fail if you never even try?
For example, the following goal, “I want to stop procrastinating at work” is stated in the negative. Stated in the positive it might be, “I want to make all my sales calls in the morning.”
Is your goal something that is under your control?
If your goal depends on someone else doing something, they control the outcome, not you. Of course, you can acquire the exquisite communication skills to influence others to do things that you want. However, having flexibility in your thinking and behaviors allows you to pursue your goals independently of other’s actions.
For example, “I want my boss to remind me to make my sales calls” depends on the boss. A better goal would be “I want to making my sales calls a daily habit.”
Is the goal based on specific, sensory based description?
How will you look when you have reached your goal? What will you see, feel, hear, smell and taste that will let you know you have reached your goal? How will you be different in your behavior?
You would know, again using our example, that making your sales calls has become a habit when you pick up your phone and begin making calls within ten minutes of arriving at work for three weeks running. You will see the records of the calls, and sales in your log. You will see your sales numbers increasing compared to last year. You will hear the voices of your customers and yourself as you speak on the phone.
Is the chunk size appropriate?
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at time.
How does this apply to our example, “I want to stop procrastinating at work”? Will you be ending all the procrastination, all at once? Or, will you start by making the sales calls to potential new customers first thing? Then begin getting the paperwork for new sales done by Friday noon? And, after that will you regularly begin making follow up calls to potential customers every three months?
It is particularly essential that large goals be thought of in steps small enough to be easily achieved to avoid overwhelm.
Just taking a goal through all the steps in the well formed goal procedure can help clarify the goal tremendously. And, that can increase the likelihood of making the goal a reality tremendously. The rest of the questions in a Well Formed Outcome are listed in parts two and three of this series of posts.