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Welcome to NLP In Action. Useful tips and insights to NLP, along with practical applications for you to begin to integrate.

003 – Goal Setting and Well-Formed Outcomes

This is Episode 003 of the NLP In Action podcast. In this podcast, I cover the basis of effective goal setting and well-formed outcomes. The basic outlines I explain can be a great template for you to build upon any goal you wish to achieve.

Well-formed outcomes are a little bit like SMART goals. Except they dive a little deeper and look at the possibility and accountability elements of the goal that you want to set.

Goals are often called targets. And this is for a very good reason. Goals and targets are like destinations, and they give us something to reach for or head to.  Having no goals in life or business is a bit like jumping in a car for a drive. You go somewhere but it won’t be where you want to go, it will just be somewhere because you didn’t decide on what you wanted.

I quite like the PECSAW model for well-formed outcomes.

This is something you can do for yourself or help others with.


All goals must be stated in the positive. Say what you want and not what you don’t want, or even want more of. Just get really clear and say what it is that you actually want. The goal must be stated in the positive i.e. you decide what you (do) want rather than what you (don’t) want e.g.

What do you want?
What do are you going to achieve?


How will you know you have achieved your goal?  when you get really clear on your goal, then the evidence that will be apparent when you have your goal, will also be obvious. State this, document this make sure you know what will be present when you achieve your goal. What is the evidence that will let you know you have hit it?  this really needs to be a tangible thing. Feeling a certain way or noticing a difference is not strong enough piece of evidence. 

What will be real for you when you have done this goal?
Think sensory:  What will you see, hear, think and feel when you have achieved that goal?


How will this goal apply to your life? In what context? let’s say your goal is to be a powerful authoritative speaker, to want to be that your children? Context plays a big part in understanding the how and where you’d like to have your goal and in what context.  Some goals or well-formed outcomes are only suitable in certain areas of our lives. Get clarity on where you want to have or be or do this goal. Give it some context. phere and when do you want to have this?

Where and when do you not want this?
Where and when do you want this goal?

Self achievable

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were able to rely on others to achieve our goals? All of your goals need to be self-achievable and self-maintained. This way, you remain fully in control and in charge of your destiny and what it is you’d like to create. Having a goal that says:  “I want my wife to be a multimillionaire book author so that I can travel the world”.  This is, in fact, a lovely goal and thought to have. But it’s not within your control.  Maintaining control for your own goals gives you power.

Can you achieve this goal yourself?
Do I need anybody’s help to achieve this goal?
What’s currently standing in my way of achieving this goal?
What do I need to know or learn to achieve this goal?

Advantages & Disadvantages

Changes create changes. Sorry, this is a famous Mike sweet quote of obviousness. This really means if you were to change something, then more often than not other things change or have to change as a result of that. Take a goal of going to the gym five mornings a week.
There goes that snoozing habit that you have enjoyed for the past seven years. being mindful of all the things that we could gain or lose by aiming for a goal is crucial to check how realistic the goal is all of what is that you need to do beforehand.

What other advantages are there of me going for this goal?
What disadvantages our there?
Imagining now achieving that goal, what is it you will lose? 


Starting goals or task is usually easy. Keeping them going is the difficult thing. we talk about willpower, tenacity and motivation to follow through with goals. Therefore it’s prudent to make them worthwhile and important to you from the outset. Having a goal that is in line with your values are your beliefs makes the chance of achieving them far more likely. 

In the context of your goals:

What’s important to you?
What will this do for you?
What is the benefit of this outcome?
Why is now the right time to do this?