Photo: Steven Depolo


Everyone talks about setting and achieving goals. But I’ve been thinking lately that the goal-setting process is getting a bad rap. It’s becoming like flossing your teeth or creating a budget or “creating an eating plan.” Boring.


No! Goals are the juice of life!


Goals don’t have to be only the shoulds/obligations/responsibilities/burdens. Goals aren’t only about fixing what is broken or getting what we lack.


When we set a goal, we’re saying, “Hey! I came to this planet to be something! I am a unique expression of life! Here’s what I’m about and here’s what I will create!


Pardon all my exclamations points – but life can be like that. Exclamation points! Excitement! Passion! Fun!


Goals are aspirations. Becoming more than we are now. Reaching above and beyond. So it’s not just about “getting there.” It’s about the process we go through as we’re on our way and who we become. As I often say, “Whoever you think you are, you’re more than that.”


And that’s where Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) has made such a difference to myself and my students and our ability to achieve our goals. Using the techniques of NLP, we are able to become the person for whom this goal is achievable.


Let’s take an example. Say, I want to be wealthy and I’ve defined that as making over $200,000 per year. I’ve written out my goal using the SMART acronym, and determined that it will happen one year from now. And I start taking massive action toward it. Great!


But if underneath I continue to perceive myself as someone who is unworthy of making that kind of money, somewhere along the way, I’ll sabotage the process. I’ll miss the meeting, forget to make the phone call, not see the prime opportunity – I’ll do something to make sure that my external world stays in tune with my self-image. As that old comic strip, Pogo, said, “We have met the enemy and he is us!”


However, what if I become more confident? What if I believe that making $200,000 is not only possible, but in fact natural for me? What if I walk around feeling certain that opportunities are waiting for me and that I’m fully prepared to take advantage of them? Can you see how that person has a much better shot at success with their goal?


The power to achieve what you want to achieve is all in the mind, specifically the subconscious. If your subconscious holds a belief that is in opposition to your goal, you’ve got an uphill battle and will likely miss whatever target you’ve set. But once your subconscious is on board with your goals, you’ve got a powerful ally who is fully motivated to see that the external world conforms to your new self-image. Pursuing your goal is no longer drudgery or a battle, but it actually becomes fun!


NLP works to bring your subconscious on board with your goals in a couple of ways: First, to eliminate limiting beliefs and decisions that hold you back from achieving our goals. And second, to instill the natural behaviors, feelings and beliefs that make your goals accessible. Using the language of our minds, NLP allows us to consistently achieve our specific and desired outcomes.


It’s like preparing for a great garden. First, you eradicate the weeds and pull out the rocks and any bad dirt. Next, you prepare the plot by adding in fertile garden soil. Only then do you throw the seeds down and plant seedlings. And if you skip the first steps? Well, you might grow something, but odds are that it won’t be the lush garden you had envisioned.


To have what you want to have, and do what you want to do, you must first become who you need to become.


Dr. Matt