Stop dreaming, start focusing: achieving your goals and aspirations

Have you ever written down what you really want, whether at work or at home? Are they specific to areas in your life or are they more noble goals and aspirations you think you should have? In this article, we look at how well formed outcomes can help you focus on achieving your dreams.

It’s wonderful to have goals that are going to be enjoyable, refreshing and also involve new experiences. They are more positive than the ‘lose a stone, exercise more’ goals, which although are valid, may not be quite so enjoyable.

You might think about creating a Well Formed Outcome (WFO). Creating a WFO is a simple, yet very effective process, which gets your mind thinking about what you want and starts you on the process of creating success.

A well formed outcome is about looking at what you want; exploring, rather than focusing on what is wrong or what you don’t want. You’re stating specifically what you do want in positive terms, giving your mind something constructive to work on and motivating you to continue.

Otherwise you can get stuck in a negative mindset, focusing on what is wrong with your life, without moving on to defining what you really want. It is also easy to create a self-fulfilling prophecy by concentrating on the negative aspects of a situation. By writing a WFO, your mind looks at your hopes and positive outcomes, creating a virtuous, and not a vicious, circle.

You can do a WFO for the whole year, week, day or event, or even for a particular activity or learning a new skill. Here are some tips on how to go about it:

  • What do I want? Be as specific as possible, and write it down in positive terms, as your brain cannot process negatives. For example, write, ‘I want to be relaxed and confident’ versus, ‘I don’t want to get stressed out and feel hopeless’. Focus on both the end outcome and the process of getting there. For example, if you want to lose a stone in weight, include, ‘and I want to enjoy the process of getting fit, eat delicious food, learn from any setbacks and celebrate each step I make along the way’.
  • What will that do for me? What will I gain when I get this? It is important that you and your brain are convinced that it is worth the effort in making the changes. So list as many benefits as possible for when you achieve your outcome.
  • How will I know when I have got there? This is about giving your brain lots of signals to look out for, showing you are on the right path to success. Think about: what will I see, hear and feel that will show I am moving towards my goal? For example, if you want ‘looking for a new job’, think about seeing yourself going for interviews, seeing interesting jobs advertised, hearing yourself talking with confidence in interviews, feeling confident, wise, relaxed, etc., rather than just saying, ‘I’ll see myself in my new job’.
  • Possible blocks: What might stop me from achieving this? It is important to think ahead to possible blocks or obstacles you might encounter, so that you can take either pre-emptive action or know what to do when you face those situations.

Flexibility is crucial. People often have vague outcomes and are unclear about what they want, but behave in very set ways. The more choices and options you have in terms of courses of action and behaviours, the more chance you have of achieving your outcome. If your first course of action does not get you what you want, then try something different.

You need to be positive, clear and congruent in your thoughts, feelings and behaviour.  Develop rapport at different levels: physical, mental, or emotional. If you are in rapport with yourself, you can quickly spot when you go off piste, and take action to bring yourself back to a more centred place. Your ability to do this will positively influence the interactions you have with others. Rapport with others also occurs at different levels and will, in itself, be affected by how congruent you are.

Remember to be aware of sensing, acknowledging and responding to what you hear, see and feel. If you’re aware of what’s happening, you’ll know whether you’re moving towards and achieving your desired outcome. When you are using your senses to pick up information, then you can decide on what the next course of action is in order to achieve your outcome.

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