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Outcome vs. Process Goals | What Are They And How Can They Help You Achieve Success?

You’ve all heard of SMART goals before; setting goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. These are all applicable and important aspects to keep in mind when setting effective goals. I think, however, something that simplifies this and makes it more approachable to the average person is determining your long-term goal and what actions must be taken to get there.

Outcome Goal: the end result of a behavior, usually about winning or losing.

Process Goal: a goal that specifies the process the individual wants to engage in to perform in a satisfactory manner.

In an exercise setting, the most common outcome goal is usually to lose weight. Let’s say you want to lose 50 pounds. That is a great start and a great goal, but how are you going to get there? Using this same example, a process goal would be to get up at 6am and workout or to eliminate desserts from all meals.

Basically, when setting goals, you must have a game plan to achieve them. By simply setting a goal of weight loss without any processes of how you’re going to achieve weight loss, it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll succeed.


Outcome Goal: I want to eat healthier.

Process Goals: I will track my macros perfectly. I will meal prep all lunches for the week. I will refrain from going out to eat. I will not buy junk food.

Outcome Goal: I want to hit a new PR (200lbs) on my squat.

Process Goals: I will hit my protein target every day. I will practice squatting 3 times each week. I will follow a well-designed program, so I know the reps, sets, and intensity to perform my squats and other exercises to maximize my strength.

Both types of goals are necessary; it's important to envision the end goal and equally as vital are the actions that must be taken to get there. Remember, a goal without a plan of action is just a wish. TIME TO WORK! Let me know if you need help in setting realistic goals.

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