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NLP goal setting with spatial anchoring pattern

NLP goal setting spatial anchoring

This NLP Goal setting with spatial anchoring pattern was developed inside the June 2016 NLP Master Practitioner training in Amsterdam by my students. This pattern allows for the entire goal setting exercise to take place on a timeline, giving it an additional power and structure using anchoring of emotional states. This process can be used on any goal.

The NLP goal setting with spatial anchoring pattern

In the NLP Master Practitioner training during our Amsterdam class, the pattern was executed on a student as a demonstration who wished to find a new motivational propulsion system through starting do sports again with the aim to be able to re-associate into his feelings something he disconnected from in dissociation during his time in the corporate world.

It combines the following NLP techniques:

  1. Meta modeling
  2. NLP timelines
  3. Collecting resourceful states from the past and spatially anchoring them.
  4. Goal setting
  5. Future pace using the Milton model and the clients values.

It combines both NLP Practitioner and NLP Master Practitioner tools.

Step 1 (optional):

Determining the clients values, to make the motivational guidelines and criteria for the client more clear as the foundation he stands on. This will give the entire pattern an additional power.

Step 2: Meta model

  1. What specifically are two emotional states useful to give your goal an additional propulsion system?
  2. Do you remember a time in your past where you experienced emotional state 1, what specifically what the year/date this took place?
  3. (Repeat for emotional state 2.) Now you know event 1 (furthest in the past), and event 2 (closer to the prent.)
  4. Can you identify two logical milestones specifically you would have to complete to reach the final goal?
  5. What specifically are the 3 dates of the two milestones, and the end goal?

(Gather some additional information that you would require to elicit states, or associate someone into the steps or the goal.)

Step 3: timeline

Place the client on the (time)line, and reference that in front of him or her that in front of them is event 1, event one is a very powerful circle. Elicit the state of event 1, and once the right point of anchoring comes step the client in the circle. This circle is now anchored.

Step 4: meta states

Step the client out of the circle one step forward, instruct them to put the circle in their pocket or on them for easy use later. Break state. This is a meta-location where there is no emotion. Tell the client that one step forward from there, is event 2. Elicit the state of event 2, and at the anchoring moment ask the client to drop the circle in front of them and step in to it.

Step 5: dissociation

Step the client forward, this is another meta-location where there is no emotion. The take the now more powerful circle with them in their pocket. Break state. Tell the client that another step forward is the present, they are to step forward and throw the circle down to test it.

Step 6: state elicitation

Do not break-state (so they remain in the circle, which can go with them), tell the client to take one step forward into milestone 1. Really crank up the elicitation of the circle emotion, and making the event as a real as possible. Think of using 4-tupling.

Step 7: repeat

Repeat step 6 for milestone 2.

Step 8: final goal

Repeat for final goal. Now provide a real crescendo in your elicitation, using the Milton model, your voice, speed, values etc.


This pattern was designed by using NLP Practitioner and NLP Master Practitioner skills as part of a group project (using 3 groups paired by personality type and NLP Meta program), using the step-by-step process for making a good design of new NLP Patterns. This process I developed initially for myself earlier in my career, and started teaching to my students last year. In order for NLP Master Practitioner students to easily create new designs and become developers of NLP.

A big thank you to my new NLP Master Practitioner students of the Amsterdam June 2016 NLP Training.



Coaching with NLP: How to be a Master Coach – Joseph O’Connor


NLP technique: how to set goals using neuro-plasticity


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