NLP Outcomes

“Where there is no vision, people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18

To improve your life, outcome thinking is the most useful skill and habit to develop.

If you don’t know where you’re going, it makes it hard to get there. You need to consciously decide what you want because what you think determines what you get. Before something happens in the external world, it must first happen in the internal world.

To produce the kind of results that you want, you need to know what you want. Being effective simply means producing the results you choose. So, the first step is to choose. There are, however, some tricks to choosing effectively. That’s why it’s important to develop the skill of choosing well-formed outcomes. Well-formed outcomes fit these well-formedness criteria:

Well-formedness Criteria

Question Well formed Ill formed
Positive Q: “What would you rather have?” Think of what you want rather than what you don’t want. eg “I want more friends.” Rather than “I don’t want to be lonely” which is stated negatively.
Ecology Q: “If you could have it, would you take it?” Check that you will get only the consequences that you want by asking yourself the above question and noticing any doubts. They me.any doubts. They usually start “Yes, but o Rather than overriding a consideration and regretting the consequences.
Specificity Q: “Who, where, when, what, how, specifically?” Think of your outcome as specifically as you can. Imagine the situation and describe it verbally in terms of who-where-when-what-how. eg “The next time I meet somebody new who I feel good about, I will ask them to dinner.” Rather than “I want a better social life” in which the outcome is too vague.
Evidence Q: “What will you see, hear and feel inside and outside you?” Think what the sensory-based evidence is that will let you know you’ve got what you want. Imagine it as though you see, hear and feel it now. eg “I’ll see them responding with interest, I’ll hear them agree a time, and I’ll feel a pleasant sense of anticipation.” Rather than “I’ll just know” in which how you know is unclear, tile evidence is unspecified.
Own part Q: “What will you be doing to achieve your outcome?” Think of your own part in the outcome so that it’s within your control. eg “I want to make friends with interesting people.” Rather than “I want interesting people to be attracted to me” which is out of your control.

NB This criteria of ecology implies the skill of dovetailing your outcomes with other peoples. Dovetailing Outcomes enables you to create co-operative realities, rather than competitive realities, at will. Competition creates finite cakes; co-operation creates infinite cakes! Dovetailing outcomes is taken to the limits in the NLP negotiations format.

Outcomes – Goals – Objectives – Targets.

There are many words in the English language that can be used to describe where you wish to get to, or what you would like to achieve. The PEP process focuses on Outcomes from the discipline of NLP. The main areas to be mindful of when writing down your outcome are:-

  • Positive vs. negative:
    Be sure to write down your outcome in the positive. This is a little different from ‘positive thinking’. Here the emphasis is on what you want, rather than want you don’t want. eg: Positive statement

    • “I want to be confident” rather than Negative statement “I don’t want to feel anxious”
    • “I would like financial stability” rather than Negative statement “I want to avoid debt”
    • “I want more friends” rather than Negative statement “I don’t want to be lonely”
    • “I want healthy lungs” rather than Negative statement “I want to stop smoking”
  • Size:
    The size of the outcome is important. If your outcome is not the right size for you, you will notice that the outcome doesn’t happen!

    • If the outcome is not motivating to you it could be that it is too small. Ask yourself “If I got this outcome what would it do for me?”. Move up until you relate to it as an outcome that is sufficiently large and motivating. eg: “I want to study for the exam” may become “I want to go to university”.
    • If the outcome seems overwhelming and unachievable it may be too large. Ask your self “What prevents me from getting this?” Turn the problem into smaller outcomes that you feel are still motivating and more achievable. eg: “I want to write a best seller” may become “I want to begin by getting an article published”.

Personal Ecology

Biological ecology is about organisms’ relationship to one another and their surroundings. Personal ecology is about your relationship with yourself and others. Sometimes, at an unconscious level, ‘part’ of you objects to the outcome you are setting. This can cause self sabotage.

It is useful to ask yourself “If I could have ‘x’ would I take it?” and notice if you answer yes but…….. ” (either in words or hesitancy in your voice tone). This surfaces any unconscious objections that may get in the way of you achieving your outcome. Once you have surfaced the objection decide what you would rather have (stated in the positive as above) and add it onto the original outcome. eg.

Outcome: “I want to be successful in my work” (stated in the positive)
Q: “If I could have success at work would I take it?” A: “Yes .. but my family might suffer” (negative ecology)
Q: What would I prefer for my family? A: “For me to spend quality time with them” (stated in the positive)
New outcome: “I want to be successful in my work and to spend quality time with my family.”
Q: “If I could be successful in my work, and spend quality time with my family, would I take that? A: YES! You are far more likely to achieve the new outcome as it is aligned with your personal ecology.

The Skill of Using Outcomes

If there is one set of skills worth mastering, it is outcomes. These skills can make more difference to the quality of your life than anything else. Develop the habit of thinking outcomes daily. Here’s how:

  • Aim to spend a month developing the habit of setting outcomes on a daily basis.
  • Decide on the best time of day to build in five minutes for setting outcomes.
  • Buy a notebook specially for writing your outcomes in (an outcome diary).
  • Start off with a few well formed outcomes, no more than three per day.
  • Write them in your outcome diary (NB this is part of the personal evolution process).
  • Pick the ones that seem to be the best for you (with trial and error, you’ll learn!).
  • Remember: making up outcomes is a skill and gets much easier with practice .
  • Start with where you are and build this skill one day at a time for a month.
  • A more extensive list of possibilities includes: – work – financial – leisure – relationship – family – health – habits – personal development – emotional – spiritual.
  • Keep changing them every day to find the ones that work best for you Keep checking to ensure they are well formed.
  • As a rule of thumb, choose ones that are most motivating.
  • If your outcomes are too big, and you don’t get started, make them smaller.
  • If they are too small and not motivating, pick something that matters more.
  • As the days go by, build up to seven or more outcomes per day.
  • Experiment with fuzzy outcomes (only when you have mastered specificity).
  • Read up and experiment with other ways of setting outcomes.


  • Your outcomes might be about how you feel, or the results you want to produce.
  • Notice how long different kinds of outcomes take to show up.
  • Notice how often the act of choosing an outcome is enough for it to happen.
  • Stay aware of what you have got in your current reality (present state).
  • Notice how this is different to what you would rather have (desired state).
  • Become aware of the creative tension of staying aware of this difference.
  • Learn to trust your unconscious minds’ ability to manifest outcomes.
  • Refine the skills of your ecology check to let you know when you’re on track.
  • Become more creative in applying outcomes to many different situations.
  • Allow your creative outcome orientation to become increasingly unconscious.
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