A goal properly set is halfway reached. – Zig Ziglar
- A process goal is an outcome that is based on specific actions & tasks that you complete
- Process goals are by definition controllable, outcome independent tasks
- They not only guarantee progress but also provide you with clear and simple to-dos
- If we don’t know the how, the easiest and best way to find it is to emulate the actions of people
- Once you answered the how, you can derive process goals from them
- In the beginning, you want to focus on getting started: Aim low, start slow, and have little or no expectations
Everyone likes goals, and everyone has a few ones.
Unfortunately, too many great ambitions fail. That’s due to various reasons, such as a lack of
motivation, too little clarity, improper goal setting, and inhibiting environments.
What if there’s a methodology to circumvent these issues? If it’s so simple that everyone could apply it? Would you dare to try it out?
In today’s article, I will write about process goals: What is this goal setting method all about? Why is it superior? And how can you apply it?
Outcome vs process goals
The most typical goal people pursue is an outcome goal: I want to lose 10 pounds. I want to get an A in my next exam. I want to make 100k by 25. I want to buy a BMW in three years.
Everyone likes them: It’s glamorous and feels great to say “I’m going to run a marathon next year”.
Contrarily, setting yourself procedural objectives to make this ambition a reality seems pretty boring and barely exciting: Going for a 60 min. run three times a week; eating 3000 kcal and 1 kg of vegetables per day; sleeping eight hours per day.
Process goals are all about the process – the how: What you will actually have to do, step-by-step to achieve an ambition? A process goal is an outcome that is based on specific actions and tasks that you complete. Setting a process goal means you have to identify what you actually have to do and how you do it. Your focus is on the actions, not the outcome, but as a side effect, you will also achieve a desirable outcome.
Which method sees better results? Which one provides more clarity, control, and a long-term outlook?
The key advantages of process goals
Continuing with the example ambition of weight loss, you might make a process goal walking 15.000 steps every day. That’s easily measurable and doable; you are totally in charge of whether or not you reach your process goal.
Process goals are by definition controllable, outcome independent tasks.
Whereas, outcome goals can be made up of many factors, some of which are completely out of your control, and they also don’t always come evenly and consistently: You don’t know how long it will take to lose 10 pounds of body weight, and you don’t know how much it will take until you’ll have losen the body fat.
Process goals also help you to reduce your daunting ambitions into something easier for you to understand and implement. They’ll make you contemplate what you actually have to do in order to achieve your ambition, acting you in the right direction so you can be a lot more effective in reaching it.
As you might have already experienced a lot of times: There’s nothing more deflating your motivation than not getting ahead. Progress, though, is the best fuel for motivation. Process goals not only guarantee progress but also provide you with clear and simple to-dos that’ll eventually make your ambition a reality.
Outcome goals make us solely focus on the results we want and forget about the process that will get us there. The thing that initially motivated us to take action can end up putting us in the wrong mindset.
Every day you work to get better is a successful day. Instead of waiting to celebrate until you achieved your results, process goals allow you to celebrate every time you follow the process.
Moreover, they don’t tie your emotions to results. It doesn’t matter whether how fast or how slow your 60 minute run was, as long as you keep running multiple days per week. Slowly but surely you will progress.
Ultimately, processes can go on for long after a particular outcome is reached, making them great goals for long-term life changes. As the process goals becomes habit, we can set additional process goals, making our ambition even more worthwhile.
Typical process goals & application of this concept
When looking at a big ambition, it can be overwhelming: How am I going to accomplish all that?
But that’s the right question: how. The how is by breaking the big goal down into more easily tackled chunks.
Often we know what we have to do to make an ambition a reality:
- Lose weight and get in shape:
- Improve your performance as a sales associate: Have more customer interactions & improve your sales pitch
- Practice a new language: Learn vocabulary & grammar, consume media in foreign language & talk to native speakers.
If we don’t know the how, the easiest and best way to find an answer to this question is to emulate the actions of people who’ve already achieved what you desire. In order to tap this knowledge:
- Talk to them and simply ask
- Read books or articles of them
- Consult with people who’ve already faced the same issue
Once you answered the how, you can derive process goals from it:
- Eat healthy & do sports: Exercise 3 times a week; eat 5 portions of vegetables a day; eat candy & sweets once a week.
- Have more customer interactions & improve your sales pitch: Call 5 prospects every day before midday; gather feedback on your sales pitch from 3 colleagues every week.
- Learn vocabulary & grammar, consume media in foreign language & talk to native speakers: Learn 10 new words every week; study grammar 30 minutes 3 times a week; talk to a friend in the foreign language for 20 minutes once a week.
In the beginning, you want to focus more on the effort you put in. Take it easy: Aim low, start slow, and have little or no expectations. Once you get started, you can built on your process goals, but at first, your only goal should be to get started.
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