Not knowing where you are heading is like a ship just floating on the sea, you will end up wherever the outside forces push you. Life is like that. If you don’t have a direction you will just drift along at the mercy of outside forces. In other words you are not in control.
When I work with clients they usually tell me they have some problem. My first question is what do you want instead? Many don’t know. For instance, someone came in for sadness. When I asked what they wanted instead they said they didn’t want to feel sad. Right, but what do you want to feel instead? Most people would think that’s an easy answer but to a person stuck deep into sadness they just want out of their hole. Each person is unique. Some may want happiness, others might want contentment, peace, joy, motivation, energetic, calm, enlightenment, or a myriad of other possible emotions.
What does it matter? Having a destination, outcome, or goal defined gives a person a point to move toward which gives motivation until the goal is achieved. While moving away from something has motivation as well that motivation decreased as you get further away from it. Therefore toward motivation is a more reliable force than away from.
Another component of knowing your outcome is having an evidence procedure. If your outcome is to be happy how will you know you have arrived? In this case the opposite is acceptable if not preferred (during a therapeutic intervention). For instance if the person is currently sad I may say pick a particular event that you especially sad about right now and get in touch with that sadness. Take a mental snapshot of that. After doing any intervention or whatever they are doing on their own where they say they have reached their destination it is time to go back and check that snapshot. If it has changed there was success. Seeing the evidence also reinforces the change.
In conclusion, knowing your outcome will help motivate you and keep you on target and having an evidence procedure will ensure success and reinforce change.