In this season of "resolutions" and goal setting, if you're like me just about now you're completely frustrated and utterly fed up with yourself and your lack of follow-through, stick-to-it-iveness, and personal resolve. Well, I finally know why goals don't work...
We've been setting the wrong ones.
- I want to lose 10 pounds.
- I want to produce $4000 / day.
- I want a new car.
These are "Outcome" goals: This is what I want so this is my goal. The problem is the goals are not within our direct, immediate control and so we generally fail at attaining them.
The goals we should be setting are "Process" goals: Behavior or system changes that are within our immediate control every day. These are the type of goals used by elite athletes and successful business people. They know that if it's within their power to influence it, they can impact it and very likely, attain it.
To shift from "outcome" to "process" goals, we need to have a measurable behavior that we can directly control. Let's take one of the examples above:
Outcome Goal: I want to lose 10 pounds.
Process Goal: When I eat I will put my fork down, sit back, and take a couple of breaths. I will stop at least once during my eating experience and increase to four times over the next two weeks and begin to notice when I'm feeling full and satisfied. I will stop eating when I feel full.
Specific, small, measurable, and most importantly: effective.
Process goals focus your energy and your efforts on what you can change. Outcome goals are fine but those alone do not have the ability to directly influence behaviors and that leads to feelings of frustration and disappointment.
So, take out those resolutions from a few weeks ago, and rewrite them from "outcomes" to "process"... and let the change and empowerment begin!