Easy Steps to Setting Goals and Intentions (Tried and Tested Through NLP)

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

This could just be your year of positive thinking and change

Text: Lynda Williams

Is the new year of 2021 compelling you to think about bringing on a whole new you? Have you made a list of totally unattainable new year’s resolutions as long as your arm? We at ishonest sincerely hope not. We think you’re great the way you are and God knows we don’t need any extra pressure on us right now. This year we’re scrapping the old-skool idea of resolutions for more achievable intentions and goals we know we can stick to through neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques.

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Despite 2020 being one of the crappiest years on record for many, it has also brought us the luxury of time. It has given us the opportunity to pause, reflect, re-evaluate life and at what we have now in the present moment (intentions) and to look forward to the future (goals) are focused on the future. Are we happy in our current set up — our careers, relationships, where we live? What do we really want?

From speaking up at work now to get that promotion in the summer, to creating a gratitude journal now to boost your mood moving forward, or getting your butt back on the yoga mat for toned abs by the time we can travel again, intentions and goals can be big and small and come in all shapes and sizes.

NLP uses specific perceptual, behavioural and communication techniques to make it easier for people to change their thoughts and actions and get what they want. To help you figure out what you do want in life and to ensure plans don’t slip, we recommend one of our favourite NLP techniques, the SPECIFY model. Using this technique will ensure you come out with a well-formed and nail those new year goals.

1. Sensory specific

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Close your eyes and imagine what the outcome of your intention will look like, sound like, and feel like, when it has been achieved. How is it? Freeing or limiting? Positive or negative? Relief or regretful? In NLP lingo, this is called a VAK - Visual (what it looks like), Auditory (sounds like), and Kinaesthetic (feels).

2. Positive thinking

Make sure your new goal or intention is positive. So, if you hear “I don’t want this or I don’t want that” ask yourself “What do you want, instead?”

3. Ecological

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Make sure your goal isn’t going to harm anyone. Are there other people who will be affected negatively by it? If so, what will they think about it?

4. Choice increasing

When you’ve achieved your outcome, do you have other choices in your life? For example, if you want to travel overseas will working anywhere in the world give you more time to see family? Does being physically fit mean you can go hiking with friends? Does reducing your alcohol intake mean you will sleep better?

5. Initiated by you

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All goals need to be focused on you and not about other people — you can only change yourself. You can have goals that involve other people, but you must be 100% responsible for them. If you have an intention to spend more time with your partner, you can’t blame them for not participating. You have to explain to them, put plans in place and work on it.

6. First step identified

Now you have our intentions and goals in place, identify the first thing you can do to get the ball rolling right away. Make a decision, and start with a small action to get going.

7. Your resources identified

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We all have various levels of resources available to help us achieve our outcomes, from brave, resilient personalities, to financial acumen and super organised with scheduling. We may also have resources that we’ve used in the past and can resurrect. Aside to this, make a list of other resources you will need. This can be help and support from friends, family members and mentors, or facts and information from books, videos and online. Get them down on paper and make a plan. Remember, any new state, change to be made or new life starts in one place, and that’s within you.

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