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They'll all fall

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

NLP: Using POSERS to create good goals

Design has just published a list of goals for the new year. For somebody doing life improvement through pickup training, most of these are good goal ideas. However, most of them are not well formed goals.

What do I mean by well formed goals? It is an NLP term. A well formed goal follows POSERS - shorthand for being Positive, having an Own part, being Specific, having well-known Evidence, having the Resources available, and being of the right Size. In addition, it is common to do an ecology check.

Did that tell you much? Maybe, but it's probably still not concrete enough to be really useful. Let's try applying it a few times, going through Design's goals with the checklist:

"Get in shape (dude, how am I supposed to fuck the shit out of a hot babe when I get winded 5 minutes in?)"

Positive: This is a positive formulation. It is something you want, instead of something you're trying to avoid
Own part: Yeah, you have influence/control of whether you get in shape
Specific: This isn't really specific - "in shape" is a very general statement. It's specific in that it has a timeframe, and that's good, but the rest is also necessary.
Evidence: No evidence for goal completion. What will your senses tell you when you've reached the goal? E.g, "I will be able to walk up five floors and not be out of breath afterwards" or "I'll be able to have sex for at least half an hour and still be full of energy" or "My thighs will be all firm on the inside, up against the scrotum". Be specific in these, and use the feedback for checking this to reformulate the goal.
Resources: What resources do you need in order to reach the goal? For the goal above:
- A training plan
- Motivation
- Training equipment
- Knowledge
- Maybe a partner?
Size: Is this goal the right size? Do you need a larger goal for motivation, or a smaller goal to make it easier to achieve? For the specific case here, I'd say the goal is too fuzzy to really be possible to measure as to size. It is clear that you'll need to do a stepdown (create subgoals) in order to achieve the goal, and I'd just set this as a long term goal to be source of motivation, and then create clearer subgoals.
Ecology (sorry, no place in the keyword for that): How does this fit with your other goals? Are there any negative interactions from it? For this case, I think the ecology should be fine - this really is a stepdown from general life improvement, and seems quite reasonable. The only issue is that the non-specific version may have a time competition with the other goals, which could be an ecological problem. The more specific versions will probably fix this.

"eat better"

Positive: Yup.
Own part: Yup.
Specific: Nope. So you'll need to step down to get something specific.
Evidence: Missing.
Resources: Knowledge about what is healthy and not, eating plan (mental or written down), the various supplements to use in this (if applicable) - e.g, protein powder, omega 3 source(s), vitamin/mineral/antioxydant supplies (NOTE: There are tremendous quality differences here), recipes for making the kind of food you want to eat, etc.
Size: IMO OK as a motivational, but need more concrete stepdowns to be useable in practice.
Ecology: Should be good, though there may be an interaction against the economy goal (supplements cost...)

For the remaining ideas, I'll just comment on the checklist factors I think there may be issues with.

"Make at least three guy friends who I really respect (including at least one PUA)"

Specific, Evidence: I'd try to define "really respect" carefully. The evidence should be obvious. I'd also try to list out resources that would be useful for this (e.g, an arena for meeting said people, some way to evaluate them) and do a step-down based on that ("Get into the local LAIR" or "Learn to talk to people that look like PUAs while sarging").

"Get to the point where I never see a girl I'm attracted to who I don't open"

Positive: This is a double negative. Reformulation: Get to the point where I always open any girl I see and find attractive. Should be resource and size mapped; the goal is fairly ambitious, I think. I don't know whether even the master PUAs do this.

Write another book
Try at least five new activities (snowboarding, sky diving, paint ball, etc.)

These seems OK with regards to the checklist; resource mapping necessary to make the stepdown goals, of course.

Watch less TV / read more than I watch TV

The first formulation is a negative. The latter is OK, and seems a good goal. My own variant of this, which I have followed for many years now, is "Don't watch TV at home." I've kept this since 1997.

Improve my fashion sense

Could be more specific, lack evidence, needs resource/subgoal stepdowns.

Keep posting to this blog at least once a day

Good goal; ambitious, though. Ecology check makes me think of it as a possible time conflict.

Develop my alpha characteristics

Needs stepdown to give concrete goals (specific, evidence)

Find a hobby other than Pick Up


Sarge at least five times a week, three sets per sarge

Nice specificity. Evidence is fairly obvious. Might be a resource problem, and a size problem (the goal may be too specific and need to be linked to other goals in a step up to achieve motivation). Time ecology is a definite issue here. (I know that 5 times a week with 3 sets is more than I'd be comfortable with at the moment, at least.)

Decide what I want to do with my life and make significant strides towards doing it

Evidence? This looks like two goals, and one of them is ill-defined before the first one is done.

Be able to define what kind of girl I'm looking for for a long term relationship

Looks good, though again missing evidence for completion. Define "define".

There - I hope you all find this useful. The checklists become fairly automatic to use over time, and the goals you make become better - easier to achieve, giving more satisfaction when achieve, more motivating, etc.


  • Found this on a Google search for "NLP+POSERS" I am researching NLP, and in particular well-formed outcomes, for a course I am running, so this was useful to me. Thanks for posting.

    I liked the quirky, but real-life-sounding examples :-)

    By Anonymous Tobias Mayer, at 11:40 PM  

  • You lost me with the horrible potty mouth comment. I find it offensive. Ended my interest right there.

    By Blogger smh, at 6:44 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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