Goal Setting That Sticks Every Time

This goal setting anecdote was written based on the experience of an iNLP student.

I sat at the dining room table on the day after Christmas, loathing myself for being 60 pounds overweight. Then I loathed myself more for loathing myself. Vicious cycle. I said to my wife, “I don’t know why I bother with goal setting around losing weight. I can’t do it! I know it will never happen, but here I am. I need to lose 60 pounds, but it is impossible. I should just accept myself the way I am and if I die 20 years early, so be it.”

Susan started in. “Of course you should accept yourself the way you are. You are wonderful. And there also is no reason why you can’t do goal setting in a way that works for you. You have a great mind and you are an experienced NLP student, but you are not applying one of the most important goal setting principles to this core issue.”

Over the next 15 minutes Susan reminded me of the key factor that makes goal setting work and helped me apply it. Amazing. I completely recovered my confidence that I could achieve my ideal weight, and without a struggle. I was more motivated than ever and actually excited about my new plan. Here is the key.

NLP Chunking and Goal Setting

The outcome of my mini goal setting session with Susan was this. I changed my goal from “lose 60 pounds next year” to “lose five pounds next month.” That’s it. I’ve learned through months of NLP training to chunk down my goal setting to manageable pieces. I know I can lose five pounds in a month. I know it. And I am up for that challenge. I absolutely did not believe I could lose 60 pounds in a year, however.

One month at a time. Slow and steady wins the race. It is so simple. Break all goal setting endeavors down into bite size pieces and reasonable time frames.

Make an extra $5,000 next year becomes Make an extra $417 per month.

Organize the house next year becomes Organize one area of the house each month. I will organize the den in January.

Become a more thoughtful partner becomes Do one special thing for my partner every month.

Quick Goal Setting Exercise

Apply chunking to your goal setting efforts by using the following simple questions as prompts to break down your goals into manageable pieces.

1. What is your larger goal?

2. How does this goal divide into 12 (or fewer) concrete and manageable pieces?

3. How often is it reasonable for you, given the reality of life, to accomplish each piece?

4. What is the goal for the next month?

Goal Setting Notes

The end result of this goal setting quickie is that you feel two things: relief and motivation. The relief comes from the absence of pressure caused by the old, overwhelming goal. You are refocused on a more manageable chunk. The motivation comes from focusing on something you can reasonably accomplish in the next 30 days. Your new goal setting strategy is taking you in a new and exciting direction!

If This Goal Setting Tactic Doesn’t Work, Look Deeper

Some people don’t experience relief and motivation, however, even when their goal setting chunk sizes and time frames are very reasonable. Why not? Most often there is a personal ecology concern, an NLP term for an unconscious issue that inhibits change. Ecology concerns are doorways into a deeper self-understanding and change.

For example, if your goal setting efforts have lead you toward weight loss and you still feel pessimistic, hopeless and unmotivated even though you have a reasonable goal, you need to look at the reasons why you are hanging on to the weight. What purpose does it serve? How can you preserve the positive purpose of the weight as you reduce?

It is tough to diagnose own ecology concerns, as we are often unconsciously engaged in keeping them from consciousness. Most people, even the highly self-aware, need an experienced outside perspective to get to the root issue. Suffice it to say that if what “should” work – reasonable goals in reasonable chunks in a reasonable time frame – doesn’t, in fact, work, then there is a real ecology concern in play. Discover it and free yourself to pursue successful goal setting.

If these ideas are exciting to you, then you are a great candidate for our small group NLP practitioner training. We are starting a new class in March of 2012, all online and via Skype video conferencing. We would love for you to join us. Click here for more information.

Please enjoy our free mini-course Three Soul Stirring Questions that will Reveal your Deepest Goals by filling out the form below.

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