6 Simple Steps to Set Goals the Right Way

Setting goals isn’t enough – doing it the right way makes all the difference.
Most people have never been taught how to set goals effectively.
This is how you do it...

How to Set Goals the Right Way: 6 Well-Formedness Conditions for Goal-Setting

Never heard of it, right?

Well-formedness conditions for goal-setting.

But it’s true. Setting goals isn’t enough – doing it the right way makes all the difference.

Most people have never been taught how to set goals effectively.


According to Meta Dynamics™, which is created based on Neuro-Linguistic Programming, there are certain goal-setting conditions to be met each time you set a new goal.

Studying human behaviour closely, the founders of NLP concluded that successful people think differently when making a decision.

They consider various conditions and dimensions of a goal before deciding to pursue it.

For starters, they meet conditions that avoid unintended costs, consequences and internal resistance to achieving these goals. According to the book Frogs into Princes, Bandler and Grinder call this a “high-quality outcome that is more than a vague wish or goal”.

So what are these well-formedness conditions for goals and outcomes? Let’s look at them.

1. State your goals in the positive:

State what you want, not what you don’t want to achieve.

The big question is “What do you want”? The problem is most people don’t know what they really want.

Imagine trying to achieve something but you don’t know what it is.

To quote the Cheshire cat; "you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter which road you take. You might end up somewhere you didn’t want to go, or never get to where you wanted to go."

So the first step is to “language” it properly. Because what you can’t put in specific words, you can’t achieve.

2. Set your goal in specific sensory-based description of outcome

When you set a new goal, you want to know how you’d know you have achieved it.

In other words, you want to practise sensory acuity – knowing what works, and when.

You also want to engage all your senses in specific terms of what you’ll see, hear, feel and tell yourself should you achieve the outcome successfully.

3. Ask: Is it ecological?

This sums up the intended and unintended consequences on you and others should you pursue (and achieve) this goal.

You might think it’s a great goal to achieve, but it could yield very different consequences.

Let’s say if you attend one of The Coaching Institute’s weekend events, such as Courage to Be You. You might have a breakthrough, like many people who attend this event do, and expect your partner to be happy for you.

But if you both are on different levels of personal growth, they won’t “get” your progress. Be prepared to face such a situation should it arise.

Ask: Do I feel a sense of congruency and commitment toward this outcome? Am I in alignment with it? Is it good for me, my relationships, my business, finances, health and for the greater good?

4. Ask: Is this goal achievable and possible?

If your goal is to write a best-selling debut novel, you may want to break it down into smaller goals that are achievable and realistic.

Far too many times, setting a big hairy goal can overwhelm you, leading to feelings of failure even before you’ve tried.

Reflect on how you can achieve this goal – one way is to model other debut best-selling authors and study how they did it.

To achieve a desired outcome, you need to think about how to make the first step specific and achievable. This is your next best possible step.

If you face any negative thoughts, ask what could be causing these emotions. You can learn by looking back at your reference points.

These are past experiences from your own life as to what has worked and what didn’t, and adjusting the course accordingly.

5. Make sure it is self-initiated and self-maintained:

The outcome should be in your power to be initiated and realised.

In other words, do you have to rely on some external non-determinable factor such as luck for this outcome to take place?

Do you heavily rely on someone else to maintain the expected processes and behaviour?

Or is it in your complete power to initiate it and take further action steps toward it?

6. Ask: Does this goal/outcome increase choice?

An outcome that you’re aiming to achieve should ideally increase your choice and not limit you.

In short, there should be more than one ways to achieve the same outcome. There’s freedom in choice.

Having only one way to do it is rigid. Two choices is dilemma. Having multiple options is freeing.


How Do You Set Goals?

What’s your preferred goal-setting method?

According to CANI (Constant And Never-ending Improvement), there’s always a better way. If you could make one change to set goals, how would you go about it?

Leave a comment below below.

Remember, do your best to share as much detail as you can because thousands of amazing readers come here for inspiration each week.

Your story may just be what they need to have a breakthrough, overcome a negative thought or develop courage to achieve their goal.

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