Well-planned goals keep you focused and motivated. They provide a road map for change. But not all goals are helpful.
For example, overly aggressive weight-loss goals can undermine your efforts to feel the necessary sense of accomplishment to keep going. Usually, our unsuccessful goals are formed as outcome goals such as “I want to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks.” This goal specifies a desired outcome, but not how you will get there.
Process goals, such as “I will bring my lunch to work Monday through Friday instead of eating out,” are the antidote to outcome goals. Process goals identify the how.
The most effective process goals are those involving an emotional element. Find out what your personal motivation or hook is by uncovering the deepest why. For example, why do you want to bring your lunch to work? What meaning or significance does that hold for you?
Identify your process goals first, and then figure out what the outcome will be—and notice where the why fits in. The why is what makes a goal stick.
Goal setting has been treated like an over-the-counter medication when it should really be treated with more care, as a prescription-strength medication.
-Adam Galinsky, author of “Goals Gone Wild”
Changing your approach, from outcome to process goals, can be a challenging mindset shift. Use this helpful resource to consider how process goals prevent the common problems many of us experience when our goals are focused on the outcome.