Are you great at goal setting? Do you regularly achieve your goals?
We are often told to create short term (which can be today or for this week), medium term (which can be for this month or this year), and long term goals (which can be this year or over the next 15 years).
Over the years I have regularly created lists of goals; put them away and then forgotten about them. Then, something will remind me and I will create some more. Down the track I might stumble upon those goals I have written down and contrary to all expectations we have been given which is, if you write your goals down they will happen.
And yet, when I chance upon my writings and it could be years later, I review what I have written and, I have to say, nothing has changed. There are things on my lists that I still want to achieve or have.
So what am I doing wrong?
After much thought and investigation I discovered that writing down goals isn’t really the answer for me. I’ve discovered that a goal is something I have identified that I want to achieve and it generally has an external focus or is an external thing. Which means that there is something external to me that I want. That could be something like more money, a promotion, a new car, a new house, a thriving business or anything else that I might identify.
So what’s the answer? Well, I need to create outcomes, not goals.
When someone talks about an outcome they want to achieve, they have to determine what the neurological outcome is that they have to participate in to achieve it. It has to have an internal focus. Now that’s a bit of a mouthful but simply means we have to be the person internally who can achieve that outcome.
For instance, someone may say that they want to be promoted. Being promoted is actually the goal - this has an external focus. Their outcome is to be promotable, someone who can be promoted. Which means that neurologically they have to be the type of person who is promotable therefore internally ready and prepared to step up to that next role.
Someone else might have a goal to own a Ferrari. However, until they are neurologically prepared internally to feel as if they are a Ferrari owner, they probably won’t reach that outcome.
Working to reach outcomes means preparing yourself internally so you have a full body experience about what that outcome means to you and a full understanding of who you need to be to reach that outcome.
Outcomes can be used for small as well as large changes that someone wants to put in place and achieve.
A well formed outcome should be tangible and sensory specific and comprise the following:
1. What do you want to achieve, is it stated in the positive (what you do want, not what you don’t want)?
2. The outcome must be able to be self initiated and self maintained (i.e. are you reliant on other people to help you achieve this - if so you may need to change you outcome so you can rely on yourself and your own resources to achieve it)
3. Use sensory based language to describe experiencing achieving this goal. Imagine that you have achieved your outcome:
What do you see? Close their eyes and imagine that your outcome has been reached. What are you seeing around you, what are you doing, and what are other people doing?
What can you hear, what are other people saying and what are you saying to youselves?
What are you feeling?
What can you taste or smell with this achievement?
4. How will you know that you’ve achieved this outcome, what evidence do you need to have to support the belief?
5. For what purpose do you want to achieve this outcome? (ensure you answer with ’so that…’. Keep repeating this question until you really reach the highest and best purpose for achieving this)
6. What are the consequences of achieving this (e.g. will there be any issues with friends expectations and the way you were, compared to how you will be when you achieve it)
7. And is there a first step in achieving this? Is the first step achievable? Identify the first thing you can do to move them in the right direction towards your outcome.
8. Is the outcome ecological? This means that it will do no harm if you achieve it to self, others or the environment.
Once these steps have been completed, finally ask yourself to step into the future and describe your experience as if you had achieved this and you’re talking to yourself now here in the present telling all about what it’s been like since achieving this.
Outcome oriented conversations take a person’s thinking from the now (present) and into the future. Focussing someone on where they are now and where they want to be in the future is much more effective than focussing on past events or making a list of things that they want.
The whole purpose of for creating well formed outcomes is to move someone from where they are presently to where they want to be. When I am working with someone and asking questions to create a well formed outcome I will watch and listen to ensure that they aren’t dwelling on the past and coming up with reasons why they can’t, or won’t, achieve or do something.
To make any change, you first have to be whatever that change is internally. To be a red Ferrari owner, you must first be a red Ferrari owner in your mind.
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” - Albert Einstein
As you probably know that we’ve launched iCalendar feeds for goals and tasks. We had a few problems in integration with Google Calendar recently, but now they’ve been resolved.
To sync with Google Calendar, simply copy and paste the webcal link to the “Add URL” prompt in Google Calendar app. Here is how to do it.
Step 1. Copy the webcal link for your goal from your “Goals” page:
Step 2. Find the “Add by URL” menu in Google Calendar:
Step 3. Paste the webcal link and click “Add Calendar” button:
Then you should be able to see your goal’s tasks in Google Calendar. Let me know if you are having any problem with this.