Using the Well-Formed Outcome with NLP

The Well-Formed Outcome: Simply Motivating

To properly do NLP you need three things:

  1. Rapport
  2. An Outcome
  3. And a Ritual

We started with Rapport: how to establish a connection so that people care.

Now we will move to Outcomes and then Rituals, or as they are known in NLP, processes. Today we will use a blended example of outcome and ritual called the “Well Formed Outcome Process” and create an experience for you.

First, some clarity.  Goals and Outcomes are frequently confused.

Here is how to keep them straight:

  • A goal is what you do to get your outcome
  • An outcome is the result of accomplishing your goal

Confusing the two causes big problems with motivation.  People struggle and write books about motivating themselves to achieve a goal. Well sure. The goal is not what you want.  You want the result of having accomplished the goal. You do not want a lot of green pieces of paper. You want security, or independence, or happiness, or a great place to live.

It is a lot easier to motivate yourself to have what you want.  Which do you want, to take your supplements, or to be vibrantly healthy?  The first is a goal, the second is the outcome.

When you confuse the two it leads to a common source of disappointment and getting stuck in a loop.  For instance, people frequently say my goal is to increase my income, when what they want is freedom from worrying about money. They would like to experience a surplus of income above their expenses, and the freedom that promises.

If you just set a goal of say increasing your income 10%, what’s the common experience of achieving it? You increase your spending 10%, or even more, and you’re still trapped!

Instead, start with an outcome such as “I want to have freedom from financial worries”. To make it actionable we’ll state it positively, specifically enough so it can be measurable, and with a due date: “I want to have a monthly income that is 5% greater than my monthly expenses by year-end”.

Just by reframing that as an outcome, you immediately have more than one way of getting there, don’t you? Discovering more options is a big benefit of having a well formed outcome. Goals simply work better in the service of a well-formed outcome.

Using this approach helps you uncover hidden assets and clarify your desires. It increases your range of choices. And isn’t choice is better than no choice?

This approach, formally named the “Well Formed Outcome Process” is one of the most popular in NLP. The Well Formed Outcome process is a simple yet powerful process that gives you practical results with no training or experience, from the very first time you apply the process.

If you can do this from zero experience, what you will accomplish with a little practice? Interesting to consider, isn’t it?

Here is a brief simple demonstration example of the full process, and your own downloadable interactive form is available following this example.

The Well-Formed Outcome Process:  Step by Step

Goal:  State a goal, to start with. A simple one, not discovering the meaning of life or whether to move across the country. You can get more ambitious and complex after a few practice runs.

I want to take my supplements consistently.

  1. What specifically do you want? The outcome of the goal. Describe your desired outcome or state in a positive sensory-based way that’s an appropriate chunk-size and also addresses WHAT ELSE having or achieving your outcome will do for you (Meta-Outcomes).

I want to stay strong and vibrantly healthy. Just consistently taking my vitamins is a daily reminder and affirmation of my commitment to good health. This reinforces other healthy behaviors, too. It affirms that I’m taking good care of myself.

  1. How will you know when you’ve achieved what you want? Determine if the “evidence” you’re focused on is appropriate and timely (soon and regular enough).

The vitamin supplement bottles will empty at a regular rate. I’ll get daily reinforcement when I notice myself taking them.

  1. Under what circumstances, where, when and with whom, do you want to have this result? Reflect on the context(s) in which you want to have this outcome and evaluate the ecology so you can consider how achieving this result may affect other areas, aspects, or people in your life.

In the morning, with breakfast. Exceptions may occur like when traveling, and that’s ok as long as they are exceptions.

  1. What stops you from having your desired outcome already? Identify and explore any feelings, thoughts, or circumstances that seem to inhibit movement toward your outcome.

Terrific absentmindedness has stopped me. 

  1. What resources will you need to help you create what you want? Determine what resources you ALREADY have that will help you (knowledge, money, connections, etc.). Consider additional resources you’ll need to move forward.

Having reminders, or setting up my kitchen so that I have to see the bottles when I’m hungry for breakfast. A container to hold them all that I can place where it’s unavoidable at breakfast time.

  1. How are you going to get there? Identify manageable steps to help achieve your result, consider multiple options to get where you want to go, and determine the FIRST step you’ll take.

Right now taking a bowl, basket, or box and sorting and placing the vitamin bottles in it and placing that in the cupboard in front of the coffee cups.

This format is excerpted and adapted from “NLP: The Essential Guide” where it’s more fully implemented, along with dozens of other NLP processes. In the book, you’ll have examples, stories, and walk-throughs as well as access to the accompanying online resources.

Your download versions are available at the bottom of this page with no log in needed: in both Word and PDF

Getting more is easy. The “easy listening” audio book version is yours right here

Let me know how you like it, and what else you would like from NLP.



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