When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. More information? Check the footer.

The Solution to Setting Unrealistic Goals


What if your coaching client wants to set unrealistic goals? Or maybe it is you? Do you burst their or your own bubble, and focus on the obstacles? Are you willing to go for it, even though you know it is never going to happen?

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that if you aren’t sh*t scared of your dream you aren’t dreaming big enough. However I have had many clients state their goals to me, and the reality of achieving them is as likely as Christmas and Easter falling on the same day.

The Disney Model

If there was ever a person able to turn dreams into reality, it was Walt Disney. Animations, theme parks, movies, you name it – this man could turn any dream into a reality. What was his strategy?

His strategy is what is called the Disney model. In essence, there are 3 groups of people inside the Disney Model

The Imagineer

The Imagineer is a creative soul, the dreamer, the person who has their head in the clouds. An out-of-the-box thinker, with an endless stream of innovative ideas. Unicorns and waterfalls.

A good example is an NLP training and coaching certification student of mine who once told me in class that he was going to create an oceanfront wellness center in South Beach Miami, one of the most expensive real estate locations inside the United States, in only 6 weeks’ time. He hadn’t secured the money, although he was pretty sure there was a guy at his gym with a lot of money who believed in him.

The Realist

The realist explores how this dream can be turned into a reality. What nuts and bolts are needed? What specifically do we need? In what specific order do we implement? What specifically does it cost? How much time does it take?

I asked my students in class if they could launch their expertise about the wellness center in Maimi at their fellow student’s idea. We had a few financial people, someone who knew a lot about real estate on South Beach, another who had built a wellness center somewhere, and a person who knew about everything about government licensing.

The Critic

The critic does a pros and cons analysis of the outcome. Spots the problems and the gaps. It doesn’t mean that the critic gets the right to torpedo the goal. What they can do is pose difficult questions to the Imagineers. Who better to solve them after all?

You can imagine that the list of critiquing the wellness center that would go from nothing to launch within 6 weeks was a long list.

Rinse and Repeat

They circled from imagineer to realist, to critic, back to imagineer, realist, and critic, etc. Eventually, there would be a project, dream, or idea that would get the approval of the Imagineer, the realist, and the critic.

The student ended up organizing a wellness retreat with a few other students in Costa Rica.

NLP Language Patterns for Unrealistic Goals

I am going to teach you a little bit of psycho-linguistics, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP.)

The Imagineer speaks in the NLP Milton Model, which is vague and void of details. Think of statements like a successful wellness center, a healing space, full of beauty, and positivity.

How can you flip the NLP Milton Model around? To become clear, and detailed? Of course, that’s the meta-model.

NLP Meta Model Questioning

Who specifically?
What specifically?
How specifically?
Compared to what or whom?
What would happen if?
What is stopping you?

It facilitates both the realist and the critic, to run the sequence of the Disney model even better. Helping the Imagineer to be less of an Imagineer, which is a requirement to turn a dream into a reality most of the time.

NLP Technique – From Unrealistic To Realistic Goals Goals

1. Imagine a circle on the floor in front of you. And think of a time in your past when you were very imaginative, looking through your own eyes. What did you see, hear, and feel?

2. Once you feel the emotion stronger, step into the circle, and stay there for as long as you can feel your Imagineer state. Then step out, with the circle behind you – a neutral space.

3. Imagine another circle on the floor, think of a time when you felt most realistic. What did you see, hear, and feel?

4. Once you feel the state strongly, step out, with the circle behind you – a neutral space.

5. Imagine a circle on the floor once more, this is where your inner critic will live. Think of a time when you were critical, but weren’t necessarily beating yourself up. What did you see, hear, and feel?

6. Again, when you feel the state strongly step into the circle. Enjoy the moment, and then step out of the circle – a neutral space.

7. Walk back and face the Imagineer circle, and think of the unrealistic goal.

8. Step into the imagineer, and experience the unrealistic goal from this space.

9. Step into the neutral zone. Then take the unrealistic goal into the realist circle.

10. Consider the unrealistic goal, and make it realistic from the realist position.

11. Step into the neutral zone. Step into the critic, spot the gaps and the problems. And formulate questions and parameters for the Imagineer to solve.
12. Repeat steps 8 – 12 until you have a realistic goal.

Is there a More Logical NLP or Coaching Technique to go from Unrealistic to Realistic Goals?

Yes, you do a hybrid version.

1. You can draw circles of Imagineer, realist, and critic on the whiteboard.

2. Use imagineer, realist, and critic chairs to brainstorm.

3. I once had an Imagineer, realist, and critic rooms assigned during a corporate advanced NLP training.



What are the Best Goal Setting Tools Today?

Coach Training on Setting Realistic Goals?


The Imagineering Workout (A Walt Disney Imagineering Book) – The Disney Imagineers

The Imagineering Way: Ideas to Ignite Your Creativity (A Walt Disney Imagineering Book)

Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation – Dr. Gabriella Oettingen


Free Audio Product

The Goal Mastery NLP Visualization

Prime your brain to reach goals and crush obstacles with this NLP visualization. We have included do-It-yourself instructions for coaches.

Yes, please!

Free E-Book

Unlocking Your Potential

Learn 7 simple NLP techniques top performers use. Change the way you think, feel, and take action. And help others achieve the same.

Yes, please!

Free Smartphone App


With 25K+ installs, this is the most downloaded NLP software on the internet. The best of Simply Global NLP in the palm of your hand.

Yes, please!