by Robert Knowlton
The problem with most goals is that they are usually vague and general.
We don’t clarify our outcomes in detail and then determine exactly how we’re
going to get there. To get what you want, you need to know what you want
and you need to know what you want before you can communicate it. Take
time to answer the following questions in detail so that your goal, or
outcome, is well-formed in both your mind’s eye and in your heart. This
format will assist you in transforming your dreams and desires into
achievable goals. For best results, your goal should be thought of in a
1. What do you want?
Your goal must meet certain criteria for you to achieve the best results.
It must be stated in the positive (not what you don’t want). It must be
something initiated or controlled by you (not, I want someone else to do
X). It must be as specific as possible (make an additional $500/week above
my current level vs. more money.
2. What will having that (your outcome) do for you?
Ask this question for #1 (What do you want?). Ask it again of the first
answer you just got to question #2. Ask it again of that answer. This
will give you the “meta outcome” behind what you want (at this point you
can adjust what you want, or not.)
3. How will you know when you have it?
Describe what you will see, hear and feel upon achievement. Be very
specific here and fill in as much detail as possible. Describe a movie of
4. How will I know when you have it?
Describe what an outsider would see, hear and feel (e.g., they will see me
stand taller and move with deliberation). What will they notice different
about you (when you have your outcome)?
5. Where, when, and with whom do you want it?
Have a clear context for your goal. Be specific, and describe in detail
where, when (time frame), and with whom (who will be there with you?).
6. What stops you from having it already?
This will help you identify the barriers to your achievement: the areas to
be aware of and that must be handled in order to achieve.
7. How will your desired outcome affect other areas of your life?
This is a part many people overlook. It reflects on the “ecology” of your
life. How will this outcome affect the system that is your life? Note
both positive and negative consequences of achieving this goal.
8. What resources do you already have that will contribute to getting your
Take stock of what you already have available to assist you (experience,
friends, tools…) in your quest.
9. What additional resources do you need in order to get your outcome?
What else do you need? Step back and be specific. This will give you fuel
for action, and resources to pursue.
10. How are you going to get there?
Is the first step specific and achievable? Is there more than one way to
get there? Be creative. Take the time necessary to take your goals through
this process. This works great on changing unproductive behaviors as well!
Work it, the rewards will be worth it.
Submitted by Robert Knowlton, Success Coach and NLP Master Practitioner,
who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visited on the web at