goal setting: process over outcome

Hi everyone, in this post I’ll be exploring what outcome-based goals are, their flaws, why you should avoid them, and finally the better alternative. So what are outcome-based goals? They’re goals that focus on an outcome, the most common example being I want to lose 10 kgs. Firstly let’s go with that, say you want to lose 10kgs. Absolutely nothing wrong in having that as a goal, but it subconciously tells you that the way you are right now is not good enough. Also, having a goal that’s too far out there can be overwhelming, too easy and you feel unmotivated. The balance is hard to find.

Let’s say you somehow find the motivation to do it, you hit the gym regularly, you clean up your diet, you sleep well and drink more water. You’ve lost the weight and you’re looking good. Realistically, now without more aggressive goals, your motivation will waver. Studies show that around 90% of people that lose weight fast, tend to gain it all back. If you keep setting more and more aggressive goals, you’ll burn out. So, I want to bring your focus onto process-based goals.

It’s where you focus on a process and execution, rather than an outcome. For example, set the goal of eating under 1000 calories per day for a week, or going for a 5km run every single morning for two weeks and so on. These goals are much more empowering, as when you execute them, you’ll naturally feel satisfaction from hitting your targets, getting closer to your ultimate goals, and your repeated behaviours will help you in establishing habits. By establishing habits, success will come to you effortlessly. Maybe running 5km a day for 1 month doesn’t get you to where you want to be, so set the goal of 2 months now and see how you go. Eventually you’ll reach the weight you want, and ultimately have no issues maintaining that weight.

See I suggest focusing on process-based goals for one primary reason, habits drive your life. If you’re habitually drawn to spending 4 hrs a day behind a TV screen, a new years resolution to lose weight might keep you going for a week or two, but within a month you’ll be back where you started. Bruce Lee said it best, ‘I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks one time each, but the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.’ In consistency, and regular practice, you build strength, momentum and power. You can apply it to any area in your life, but ensure the goal centres around what’s in your power (what you can do), and set small goals initially and grow them as you achieve them.

For example, if a 5km run sounds daunting to you, which it does to me, maybe try a 1km walk every day for a month. Then depending on how you go, set the goal higher. Ultimately, these are all just tricks to get yourself to do what you need to, but it really comes down to you and your discipline. While small goals, and daily consistent steps can sound easy, you need to make sure the action gets done. Running a 5k might be exhausting for the first 3 days, but by the 20th day, it’ll be a breeze. Your habits determine your life, start building the habits you want to grow into the person you want to become. See yourself as a the ideal you one year from now, what are they do doing on a daily basis that’s different to you right now. What can you do every single day that’ll help you get there? Start slow but getting moving and stay consistent.

Catch you next time,

Anandu Pradeep

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