How to do things better – the New Behaviour Generator

Applications: this is a great NLP technique for being able to do something better, or finding new ways to handle challenging situations. It’s like positive mental rehearsal on steroids!

NB. If you are already an NLP practitioner and you covered this on your practitioner training, compare this version of the process with the one you know. I’ve simplified it to its essentials.

1. Describe a behaviour you would like to be able to do, or how you would like to be able to do something better. Start from a belief and internal dialogue of ‘I can do this’.

2. Create a mental ‘movie’ in which you see yourself doing the new behaviour the way you want. Make sure the picture is big, bright and vivid. Add sound so that you see and hear yourself. Adjust the movie until you are satisfied with the new behaviour. (Extra tip: for most people, looking up and to your right as you do this will help. For a few people – usually if you’re left-handed – looking up and to your left will work better.)

3. Step into the ‘movie’ and check how this feels. Make any further adjustments you need to until you feel the way you want. (Extra tip: for most people, looking down towards your dominant hand will help you get in touch with what you are feeling).

4. Imagine seeing yourself use the new behaviour in 3 or more opportunities in the future to generalise the new ability out. Again, looking up will help you to visualise.

Some extra refinements:

A) Use a role model: In steps 2 and 3 you can use a ‘role model’ who you know can do the desired behaviour well. Run a movie of that person performing the behaviour (Step 2) and then ‘become’ that person in Step 3. Then repeat Steps 2 and 3 with yourself in the movie, making any changes you need to.

B) Use resources from your past: if you have dealt with similar situations well in the past, see yourself doing that and then transfer that skill into the new situation.

C) ‘Chunk’ the behaviour down: if you need to, break the desired behaviour down into smaller steps and run through Steps 2 and 3 on each.

D) Use a timeline: lay a timeline out on the floor, from past to future. See yourself enjoying the results of the desired behaviour and place this goal on the timeline. Step into it, get the good feelings, and notice the steps and any new behaviours associated with them leading up to the successful achievement of this goal.

Step off the timeline and notice where each new behaviour step is on the timeline. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 for each new behaviour. Finally walk up the timeline from now, associating into each step, until you reach your goal. Store your goal and the new behaviours associated with it wherever feels right for you.

E) Create alternatives: at Step 2 ask your unconscious mind to create at least 3 options for new behaviours. Try out each and select the most appropriate.

Let me know how you get on!

Note: as far as I know, the New Behaviour Generator was originally developed by Richard Bandler – although I could be mistaken.

Credit: photo by wia-tirol at sxc.hu

© 2010, Andy Smith. All rights reserved.


  1. Rosie O'Hara

    That's neat Andy, we have used your version on our courses for a while now, I like the new improved version

  2. Tips for people who "can't visualise"

    […] imagine what it would be like to be them (I’ve written about this in more detail in “The New Behaviour Generator” article on my web […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.