Posted in December 2014 - written by Michael Carroll
Here we are at the close of 2014 and ready to welcome 2015
The question I ask is, Do you really want to make 2015 spectacular? and if so read on.
Being clear about what you want is an important factor in living a successful year and life. Being precise in how you verbalise your goals establishes a mental map that will promote behaviour to make achieving that goal more likely. The converse is also true and will promote behaviours that are scattered and lack direction. An example of an unclear goal would be a statement such as “I will try to lose weight” You can tell that the person is not committed to the goal.
The word ‘try’ is a giveaway on the level of commitment. There is no end goal thus nowhere to focus. It’s just a statement for losing an unspecified amount of weight. Technically the person can lose weight in one day and have achieved an ambiguous goal. A statement such as ‘I will weigh X Kilos by X date is a specific goal that sets attention on a specific goal to be achieved within a set timeframe.
The NLP process for setting goals is called ‘outcome setting’. An NLP outcome brings another dimension to goal setting by asking a series of questions to ensure the outcome is established in the optimal way for achievement and testing your commitment. I urge you to set very concise outcomes for 2015.
The outcome questions enable you to assess the level of commitment you have to actually make the goal happen. You may feel totally confident and ready to make the goals yours. This is called congruence in NLP, where your verbal expression (i.e. your goal) corresponds with your feelings. The opposite of congruence is incongruence - this is where you have feelings that do not support the achievement of your goal. I have heard people say they are committed to a goal while simultaneously shaking their head as if saying no.
This is an example of incongruence, where the body language is giving a different message than the words. The person is experiencing some inner doubt and communicating it in their body language.
There is more on non-verbal behaviour in chapter four. Fear, doubt, reluctance and procrastination are states that will obstruct goal achievement. Confidence, openness, energy, creativity and curiosity are states that will optimise your performance in achieving goals.
The outcome questions below will help you focus your attention on what you want and help you evaluate the level of commitment you have for a goal. I suggest you choose a goal and go through the questions to below to set an outcome. Make notes if you wish. Even better, get a friend to ask you the questions.
Setting an Outcome Exercise
1. What specifically do you want?
~ Say it exactly how you want it
2. When will you have it?
~ When and where and with whom. Set a clear time frame and make sure you are in charge of making the outcome yours.
3. Where are you now?
~ Present situation specified
4. What will you be seeing, hearing and seeing when you get the goal?
~ Create a mental representation of the end result with full sound track of you achieving the goal. Feel what it will be like when the goal is yours.
5. How many ways can you achieve this goal?
~ Be flexible and open to different ways of achieving what you want
6. Does this goal create more choice in your life?
~ The outcome leads to something else with more choice
7. Does achieving this goal fit with other areas of your life?
~ Make sure achieving the goal does not cause a conflict in another area of your life.
8. Test your commitment to the goal
~ The questions below help test your congruency and will also bring up any potential goal conflicts. Answer the questions instinctively rather than thinking through the questions logically.
~ What will happen if you get it?
~ What won’t happen if you get it?
~ What will happen if you do not get it?
~ What won’t happen if you do not get it?
Having gone through the questions how do you feel about your outcome goal now? Did seeing and hearing and feeling what this goal will be like help you will feel motivated to make it happen. If the questions brought up any doubts, recognise you just have to work on the doubt or maybe the goal you chose isn’t really for you. It’s important in outcome setting to select goals we really want to achieve.
State choice and and states of excellence
One key aspect of goal achievement is ‘state choice’ State correlates with the many different behaviours inherent in achieving a goal. Cognitive and physical processes interact to produce a state. We tend to label our states with words like ‘exhilarated, calm, creative’ etc. We have unresourceful states such as nervous, stuck, fearfulness and doubt. These states block high performance. Stuck states have within them stuck behaviours. If you are stuck and you change state to a more resourceful state, your performance will be significantly enhanced.
When you set an outcome think of the states of excellence that will be useful for you to optimise your performance. There are many ways to access resource states. New Code NLP has a primary focus on high performance states created through New Code Games. Below is a more classic Code NLP format for accessing historical states useful for goal achievement.
Consider the differences in your sensory experience in the ‘states of excellence’ and ‘average states’ how do you hold your body differently when in states of excellence compared with other states? What are the differences in internal sensations? How do you breathe differently in the contrasting states? Breathing and physiology are key leverage points in changing your state.
Accessing states of excellence exercise
1. Pick one of your states of excellence, and imagine your performance on a movie screen, watch the entire film track of you performing in a state of excellence.
2. Relive the experience by imagining you are stepping into the movie. Close your eyes and see the imagery as if you are there again, hear the sounds, and pay particular attention to your breathing, inner sensations and body posture. Self-anchor this state.
What are the key elements for you in the state above? Practise accessing the state until you can easily go into it. From the exercise above you know your own process for accessing a state of excellence.
I think an important aspect of personal development is, it does not have to be New Year for you to make a change or set a new goal. You can set a new outcome anytime you wish, and I wish you every success in setting multiple outcomes throughout 2015
Here are a few ways to change state
- Accessing a state from your personal state inventory
- Acting as if. Pretend you are ‘confident’ and see what happens
- Model someone; if you know someone who is good at going into a state, act like them
- Change your breathing and or posture, both key leverage points for state
- Use some of the NLP tools you will learn in this book
The expectancy effect
The expectancy effect is where an expectation acts as a filter for a self-fulfilling prophecy. An example of the expectancy effect is an intelligence test that was given to all the pupils in a primary school. The researchers then randomly selected 20 percent of the students regardless of their test results and informed the teachers that these twenty percent of students were showing “unusual potential for intellectual growth” and could be expected to “bloom” in their academic performance by the end of the year.
At the end of the academic year, all the students were retested. The twenty percent who had been selected for the research and had been labelled as “unusual potential for intellectual growth” showed significantly greater increase in the new tests than the other children who were not singled out for the teachers’ attention. This indicated the teachers expectations of the students impacted the teaching relationship and in turn influenced higher-level intellectual performance in group of randomly selected students.
Saying it another way, the ‘expectancy effect’ acted as a filter creating a belief that the group had unusual potential for intellectual growth. In turn the teachers behaved differently to the 20% and those students responded with what was expected i.e. intellectual growth. It is highly likely that the experiment would work the other way i.e. that a negative expectancy of low performance of a student would also act as a filter and in turn the teachers’ interaction with the student would create a self fulfilling prophecy.
Consider the following statements
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve” ~ W Clement Stone
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right” ~ Henry Ford
The above are expectancy statements. W Clement Stone and Henry Ford were well known for making things happen in their lives. Henry Ford lived in the same world and faced the same economic conditions as his competitors. Ford flourished while others foundered. The difference that made the difference was Henry’s attitude, his thinking, and what he expected from himself and others.
Take a moment to consider the beliefs you personally hold and how those beliefs create expectancies. Expectancies and beliefs are filters; they change your experience of the world. Do these expectancies support you or limit you?
What would happen if you could open your mind to all possibilities? It’s useful to note that beliefs and expectancies are ‘constructs’ they are only true to the extent you invest your energy in them. So you might as well take an optimum set of expectancies and act as if they are true and enjoy what you achieve. That’s how people create beliefs that in some cases they will actually give their life for.