“There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it.” A great quote from Logan Pearsall Smith, but it assumes that you know what you’re aiming for and what you want. Do you achieve what you want? Do you even know what you want?
You could call them dreams, goals, targets or objectives, but in NLP we call them outcomes. Why? Because we use them to describe what we each want to achieve, what ‘comes out’ of our actions and we test them, to make sure they’re the best they can be, with a set of well-formed conditions that I’ll be covering in my next post.
Many of us are accustomed to setting goals at work, but not everyone sets themselves goals at home or for life overall. A life without goals is like a ship without a rudder – how the heck can you know where you’re sailing? You’re at the mercy of the wind, the current and the tide to take you in whatever direction they wish.
Outcomes need to be desirable, utterly compelling AND inspiring. As Tony Robbins says “People are not lazy, they simply have impotent goals….that is….goals that do not inspire them.” They need to be well-formed and well-baked for you to have the greatest possibility of success. Half-baked and half-hearted ideas just won’t cut it.
So here are 3 critical ingredients for setting fantastic goals and outcomes that will support you in achieving whatever you define as success:
#1 BELIEVE – you must believe you can achieve your outcome…actually don’t just believe, believe it with certainty. If you don’t believe, who will?
#2 MAKE THEM BIG – remember that any outcome can limit what you can achieve. Set small goals and you’ll get small results. Now that’s fine if it’s just a small step in the right direction that you need, but so often we can achieve much more than we ever imagined if we stretch ourselves. So make sure you set big goals and open the possibility to achieve big things.
Joseph O’Connor uses a great term – HUGGS – Huge, Unbelievably Great Goals. HUGS are your biggest outcomes and can shape your life. They’re creative and personal. They’re mid to long-term, clear, compelling and easy to grasp. They connect with your identity, express your core values, and you feel good when you think about them. At first they may seem impossible, but as time goes by it’s funny how they start to happen.
3# FIT FOR SUCCESS – finally you need to ensure that the outcomes you define for yourself support your success and that they are well-defined. Our unconscious minds love goals and work 24/7 to achieve them, so you need to make sure that any outcomes you give it really are exactly what you want. You can use something like the classic SMART system: Specific – Measureable – Achieveable/As if Now – Realistic – Timed. But in 1954 did Roger Banister know his goal of the 4 minute mile was realistic or even achievable when nobody had done it before? In NLP we have a more holistic approach to check the fitness of our outcomes with 9 Keys to an Achievable Outcome. I’ll be covering those in my next post.
So the question for you to think on today is not whether you can be successful, it’s about how you’ll be successful….
(Photo credit – the photo is mine, but the bronze featured in it was made by a wonderful Danish artist Pernille Brethvad)
© Jacqui Gatehouse and NLP THIRTEEN, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jacqui Gatehouse and NLP THIRTEEN with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
- Examples of SMART Business Goals (brighthub.com)
- A Day That Shook The World: Roger Banister breaks the four-minute mile (independent.co.uk)
- 5 keys to making success a habit (ismckenzie.com)