One of the key factors in getting what you want is KNOWING what you want. And not just knowing what you want but WHY. This is why so many new year’s resolutions (and goals in general) fail. Because people pick something based on someone else’s goals and dreams, not their own. In order to come up with an outcome that is ideal for you, here are the keys to an achievable outcome. These keys come straight from the theory in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and I use them daily with my clients and myself.

Step 1. What specifically do you want? State it in the positive. This is key as your unconscious mind does not recognise negatives. So if your goal is to “not lose my job” – your unconscious mind will focus on “lost my job”. Not a great outcome. In this case, your goal might be better of stated as “maintain my current role as I find it enjoyable and challenging”.

Step 2. Understand your present situation. Where are you now? If your goal is to have $100k in the bank by the end of the year, look at how much money you have now. What is the gap? Picture this gap in your mind’s eye, and (this is important), picture YOURSELF in the picture. It may be you holding your most recent bank statement.

Step 3. Specify the outcome as if it is happening now. Use visual, auditory and kinaesthetic language to fully bring it to life. For example: “I am fitting into my size 10 skinny jeans and I see myself in the mirror looking fabulous. My friends and family are telling me how great I look and I feel the best I have in years”. Picture that future clearly – even down to where you are. What is the weather like outside? What other details can you put into this amazing future of yours?

Step 4. Specify the evidence. How will you know when you have it? If you have fully pictured your outcome as per Step 3, there might not be much to do here, but think of some evidence that means that you have definitely achieved your goal. For example, fitting into your jeans and having your friends say how great you look might just be part of it. The more specific you can be here, the more likely you are to achieve your goal. Do you have a body fat percentage in mind? Do you have a weight on the scales? An ideal role in mind? List the evidence.

Step 5. Is the outcome congruently desirable? When you achieve this, what will it allow you to do or get for you? So, your goal might be an amazing new role in a company that values its employees and allows you freedom to express your creativity etc… To make your outcome even more appealing, what else will this mean? What other opportunities will it unlock? Future roles? New contacts? New friends? Opportunities to make a difference in the world? Now, not all this needs to be 100% accurate, because you can’t know everything for certain. Have a play with this one. Dream.

Step 6. Is it self-initiated and self-maintained? Is it only for you or are there others involved? If others, what is their role?

Step 7. Is it appropriately contextualized? Are you clear on where, when, how and with whom do you want it? Another opportunity to put more detail into this goal.

Step 8. What resources are needed? Now it’s time to get into the HOW. Have you done this before? Has anyone else you know done this before? What do you need in order to achieve this outcome?

Step 9. Is it ecological? This is really important. Is the outcome you are seeking good for you AND for the greater good? For those around you? This is an opportunity to reflect on those around you. What do they stand to gain when you achieve your outcome? What do they stand to lose? Considering others, is this a good idea? It is always a good idea to test this through Cartesian questions to ensure you have looked at all possibilities.

And there you have it. 9 easy steps to ensure you smash your goals!

How did you go? The best thing you can do with new-found knowledge is share!