Everyone has set goals.

Sometimes they are big, sometimes small and occasionally they are a hazy memory after watching the ball drop on New Years Eve!  Whether Day Timer or Post-it, most of us are trying to navigate our way to one or a number of goals at any time.

One of the most powerful skills a person can develop personally and professionally, is the art of setting and achieving goals. A lot of people think that all goals are created equal, but there is so much more to the process than most people think.

I would like to share the most powerful process I have ever encountered in this area. It is called the Well Formed Outcome and it is from the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming.


The Well Formed Outcome

There are seven steps to this process.

1. Stated in the Positive

It’s proven that the brain can’t directly process a negative.  We can’t picture “Lose Weight” but we are able to picture ourselves being thin.

Parents are often frustrated by this fact when they tell their children to “Don’t touch the stove” and all they can do in their minds is to picture the stove and probably themselves touching it.

Another good example of this is in the area of Manifesting.  Every reputable teacher of LOA emphasizes that it’s essential to put the majority of our attention on what it is that we DO want, rather than what we don’t.

2. Described in Sensory Language

What will you see, feel and hear when you have achieved this goal?

It’s essential to have a big bright multi-sensory picture of what our end result is.

Also, in terms of visual imagery, it is helpful to imagine those images as outside of us.  If we picture ourselves with the goal, rather than just what we will see, it triggers a neurological response that this is something to move toward rather than something we already have.

3. Self-Initiated and Self-Controlled

It’s important that our goals be our goals.  We can want to help others, but it’s counter productive to set goals for anyone outside of ourselves.   The best goals involve what we can actually affect ourselves, not something outside of our control that we just “hope” will happen.

4. Appropriately Contextualized

Under what conditions do you want the goal?

Are there some circumstances where having your goal would be negative?

With whom?

Under what circumstances?

All of the time, or just some of the time?

Some of these questions may seem unnecessary and it’s up to you to find ones to fit the goals you have chosen.  The point is to be as clear as possible, because with clarity comes power.

5. Maintain Appropriate Secondary Gain

This is key with any goal that involves a “moving away” scenario, wanting to change something that we don’t want.

If any behavior persists, it is because we are getting something out of it.

If we want to lose weight, what are the positives that we are getting out of that situation.

Being able to eat anything that we want without thinking about it?

Eating indiscriminately to help comfort ourselves regarding issues we are afraid to deal with?

Does the extra weight help us to feel insulated, grounded or safe?

6. Build in the Needed Resources

Usually when we want to achieve a goal, it involves us needing more resources or skill than we currently have.  Step six is all about identifying these resources so that we can give ourselves what we need to reach the goal, whether it is a skill, a mentor, or some type of tool.

7. Ecological for the Whole System

Ecology just means “makes sense within a system.”  Nature is an amazing and complex system, so when there is an oil spill or nuclear reactor breaking down we speak in terms of ecology because those elements have a negative impact on nature as a system.

In the same way, check what it will be like to achieve this goal.  Look at what will be required to get there as well as how conditions will be different for you.  If anyone of these elements have a negative impact on other areas of your life, find another way with less “pollution”.



Identity a new goal or, better yet, a goal that you have been struggling with a little bit.

Go through all 7 steps of The Well Formed Outcome and compare your results with how things have been with your achieving goals up to this point.


To Your Amazing Results!

Paul Reimers


P.S. If you want to read the book where I learned this book, check out The User’s Manual for the Brain (Vol 1).

It’s like five NLP books packaged together and has been my #1 resource for all things NLP!


P.S.S. If you got some value from this post, I would appreciate it if you would share it through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google + as well as social bookmarking sites like Digg.

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