With Covid and Odette, it is really hard to get into the groove again. Like most people, I like to begin my year by setting goals and laying down my plans.
But somehow these twin tragedies dampen our mood and resolve to set our sights on our dreams once more. Yet, there is no other way but to pick ourselves up and move forward, reframing our desires for the future.
So, where do we go from here? Let us apply Neurolinguistic Programming, particularly the use of Outcome Frame, to enable us to have clarity over our thoughts. It is a set of questions that orient our thinking to maximize the possibility of getting what we want and being glad that we got it.
These steps lead us to setting our directions again. Follow these seriously and I guarantee you that the outcome will be to your favor.
Step 1. What specifically do you want? It appears obvious but sad to note that so many people do not really know what they really want. Here, you must know Exactly what your problem, goal, or desire is. Your goal must be stated in positive terms, chosen by you and within your control, described in a sensory specific way, and have a manageable size or scope.
So, what do you want this year? To be happy? To fix your damaged house? To rebuild or remodel your business? To be able to live simply in faith? Or treasure relationships more?
If any of these is your goal, it is important to remember you state it positively because the brain finds it harder to process negatively stated propositions.
For instance, if you choose relationship, perhaps you can say, “I am growing in a loving relationship with my children.”
Second, although there are factors outside you that affect your relationships, you need to convince yourself that it is still largely within your control and you really want to have it.
Thirdly, it is important that you fine tune what growing in relationship means is in specific, sensory terms. To do this, you need to ask yourself, “What will I see, hear, or feel when I am growing in relationship?”
Your answer needs to be specific as possible say, “When I am growing in loving relationship, I am relaxed, enjoying every encounter with my kids. I am present and engaged in their world.”
Step 2. How will you know when you have it? When your goals are clear and refined, it is easier to answer this. This question requires you to create evidence.
Hence, using our example, a satisfactory answer can be, “I am more attuned to the needs of my children, listening to them with empathy, and seeing them more relaxed and confident in my presence. And this will begin to happen this month.”
Step 3. Where, When, and with Whom do you want it? This question determines if your goal is “Ecological”. Many people find themselves pursuing all sorts of goals from the small to the lofty only to find themselves beating around the bush because they were too vague or abstract, and not aligned to their values.
I believe this pandemic and Odette taught us what kinds of things truly matter. We realized that our hedonic illusions of security, health, and wealth, the very things we worked hard for, can go poof in a blink. Perhaps, this year, we can achieve them again, but in a simpler, specific, practicable, value driven way.
There are three more steps. But we will reserve them for next issue. For now, to move forward, you need to clarify what it is that you really want in specific terms, know when you will have it, and understand if your goal is ecological by asking where, when, and with whom you want it.