In this blog I was going to share with you the SMART goal setting system, which is one system that you can use to fine tune and test your goals, but then I realised that everyone else is already sharing that system. So I decided: why not share something a little different? 

It’s a system I’ve been using for almost two decades now. It’s called P.R.I.E.S.T, which admittedly  doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as “SMART”.

But in my opinion it does a thorough job of helping you to test your goals, and make necessary revisions before you commit to them…

What does PRIEST Stand For?

PRIEST is a mnemonic that stands for:

  • Positive
  • Resourceful
  • Initiated & Maintained by Self
  • Ecological
  • Sensory
  • Timed

Now that we know what each letter in PRIEST stands for, we can now break it down further and take a look at each individual step in more depth.


Rather than thinking in terms of what you don’t want, e.g. “I don’t want to be late for work” you reverse it into “I choose to be early for work.”

This is important because the subconscious mind doesn’t think in terms of negatives, and if you keep thinking about what you don’t want you end up getting exactly that!

If I say “Don’t think about being late for work”, what do you do? Exactly! You think about your problem more. Instead, reverse it into a positive, “I choose to be 30 minutes early for work.”

And remember: the same part of the brain that is said to be “lagging behind” when you have ADHD – the Left Prefrontal Cortex, LPFC, or Inner CEO – responds to clear, specific instructions. By thinking and wording your goals in positive terms, you activate your Inner CEO! 


  • What resources do you have at your disposal to help you achieve your goal?
  • What resources do you have (within yourself or outside) that could help you achieve the goal of improving your time-keeping?

For example, maybe it’s strategies and information gleaned from a blog like this. Maybe it’s a book on time-keeping. If you don’t have one, maybe go look for one in your local library.

Maybe you have other resources like a computer, a car, savings, a qualification or skill, that could help you move towards your goal.

Or maybe it’s a person that may be able to help you. Maybe you could help yourself. On those occasions when you were early, however rare that might be, what did you do differently? If you can do it once, maybe you can replicate those conditions to do it again!


If you think “If the bus were to be on time, I would be early” that means you have to rely on the bus being on time (on an external).

Instead, you need to think in a way that puts YOU back in control, not the bus! “What can I do about the bus being late?” Maybe you could aim to leave even earlier to catch the bus before the one that is often late.

It’s rare, but I have had some clients talk about becoming rich by winning the lottery. Yes, they can go out and buy lottery tickets, but the chances of winning are low. That’s disempowering. 

Instead, I’ll get them to think about ways they can increase their finances that do not rely on luck or chance, but rely upon them taking different daily actions that will lead to more financial abundance.


Ecology is about checking whether you really want the goal or not. Whether there is anything internally that may be trying to stop you?

That might seem strange at first, especially if your goal was for something that seems obviously desirable or positive, but you’ll be surprised how often we tend to sabotage ourselves.

For example, maybe your goal is to be early for work, but it means sacrificing the time you spend doing something you enjoy beforehand, or means getting up earlier.

Maybe you’d like to increase your finances and you have an idea to set up a business. But a part of you doesn’t like the idea of the effort and commitment involved in getting the business up and running.

Be 100% honest with yourself. How much do you really want X and are there any parts of you that would object?

It’s also about honesty with other people. For example, how would you having your goal affect other people around you? Could it change your interaction with other people for better or worse?

For example, if you were early for work for a change your boss would love that, but if you were to begin earning a lot more money, maybe some other people in our lives would object.

Now we can’t control how other people will react to us, but sometimes we will subconsciously sabotage our own desires because part of us fears how others will react. Being conscious of that and thinking about how you will deal with that helps.

If we don’t troubleshoot in this respect, and leave these stones unturned, we may create subsconscious internal conflict leading to sabotage.

Just acknowledging honestly what is true for us and having a plan of response may be enough to “clear the deck”.


Sensory simply means imagining your outcome in as much sensory detail as possible.

  • What will I see when I’ve achieved my goal? What will it look like?
  • What will I hear?
  • What will I say to myself and/or what might a significant person say to me?
  • What will I taste? What will I smell?
  • What will I feel when I achieve my goal? Where does the feeling come from in my body?

Go into as much sensory detail as possible. Imagine it as though it’s already happened.

In reality it may not happen this way exactly, but imagining the outcome certainly awakens your subconscious mind and its ability to help you make your goal a reality.


Finally, put a date on it. When will your goal happen?

In truth reaching your goal is actually a process, not a destination.

Having a goal just gives you somewhere to aim for, a direction and focus.

But your goal doesn’t have to be set in stone. It can be seen more as a work in progress. If you don’t reach it by the date you give it, that’s okay. You can revise and reassign another date to it.

Don’t think of it as a “deadline”. Think of it as being more of a guideline.

Now you may be ready to go and put your Goals through this troubleshooting system, to test your goals and see if they are truly what you want and clear enough.

Remember to answer all questions and write them down on a sheet of paper or in your journal.

Remember that you don’t necessarily have to read back your PRIEST troubleshooting every day – instead read your One Page Miracle, as explained in the previous article:

The PRIEST is more like a system of “checks and balances” to make sure your final goal is well formulated and doesn’t have any “holes” in it! To make sure you thought about it properly, before you create your OPM!

If you don’t yet feel ready to go ahead and test your goals yet, I will finish by offering you an example of how to do a PRIEST troubleshoot below…



PRIEST Troubleshooting Example

The following is an example of someone setting a goal for “better time keeping”, to help you understand how to apply the PRIEST system to test your goals…


“I choose to be 30 minutes earlier for work.”


“I have a coach who can help me with my time-keeping.

I have an app on my phone which lets me know the time when the bus is going to arrive.”


“My 1400 bus often turns up late but that is out of my control.

I will leave half hour earlier at 1330 instead. That bus is more reliable, and either way my chances of being on time will be increased.”


My boss and colleagues will be happy if I turn up earlier for work!

I still want to be able to go to my gym class before I leave for work. Having to leave earlier is annoying, but if I just get up half hour earlier then it’s a win-win.


Seeing – “I will see myself turning up early for work, seeing the clock indicating that I’ve arrived on time. My boss will be smiling…”

Hearing – “My boss will say ‘You’re early today’ in a positive voice.”

Feeling – “I will feel a good feeling in my chest. Instead of feeling rushed and nervous, I will feel a sense of calm.”


“I will notice improvements by the end of this week, February ?? 2019”

Leave a Comment