”It has been proven many times that if you do not have goals, chances are you will not be able to find what you truly want.” - Shelle Rose Charvet

It is obvious that if you want to achieve something worthwhile in your life, you need to have goals. Then, on the other hand, you will also need to be careful on how you set your goals.

”The first thing is to decide: What do I want? When the goal is well-formed it is easier to get started to fulfill it.” - Terttu Grönfors & Trygve Roos

How do I form my goals, then? What is a well-formed goal? There are five basic principles on how a well-formed outcome should be like:

1. Stated in the positive
• Say what you want and not what you don’t want. In other words – describe the desired state that you want to be in when you get there.
• Our subconscious mind can’t deal with the word “no”. If you say to yourself “I don’t want to be fat”, your subconscious mind skips the word “don’t” and instead it hears “I want to be fat.” It only understands the outcome, which is “fat.”
• Therefore, you should set you your goal, for example, as: “I want to be lean. I want to see my six-pack abs,” or something similar.

2. Initiated and maintained by individual
• Is your goal within your own control? If it isn’t, how can you make it happen? Probably you can’t!
• You have to make it so that you are the controlling power in initiating and maintaining the process of getting there.

3. Sensory specific
• Visualize how will it look like, sound like and feel like when you have reached your goal? Go in your mind to that moment when you have reached your goal. Be there fully as it is really taking place.
• Also, put a specific date on your goal. Give yourself enough time to reach it, but not too much. You want it to be a challenge, but still a reasonable challenge. (If on that date you still have not reached your goal, don’t change the goal, give it a new date and continue to work your way towards it.)

4. Ecology check
• Ask yourself: “Is this good for me and for the important people in my life (family, colleagues etc)?” and “is it going to violate the rights of others?” If the answer to the first question is “yes” and to the second question “no”, then you are on the right track
• Also ask: “How will getting this positively affect and influence my life?” and “is there anybody in my environment who can help me?”

5. Testable
• How do you know that you have reached your goal? What specific thing(s) will happen when you reach it? How will other people know that you have reached it?
• What difference will it make in your life to reach this goal?

Use this check list every time when setting goals for yourself. Having the right kind of goal gets you already half way there.

Author's Bio: 

Written by Hannu Pirilä, CEO and founder of HPA Consulting, eMBA, Licensed Trainer of NLP, Licensed NLP Coach and Licensed Business NLP Practitioner. The author is one of the leading Personal Development and NLP Coaches in Finland.