Behaviour vs Outcome Goals

Commonly, when someone sets their health and fitness goals they start with the outcome they want:

  • I want to lose 5-10 kgs
  • I want 6 pack abs
  • I want to snatch 100kgs

Outcome goals describe how we want things to be at the end of the process. There’s nothing wrong wanting things. Or talking about what you want. Or starting with the end in mind.

But we can’t stop there ...

Wanting things isn’t enough. Even if you really, really, really want them. However, we often can’t control outcomes. Outcomes are affected by environmental things. Like:

  • Your job gets crazy busy
  • Your kid gets sick
  • Your gym closes for renovations
  • You have exams at school

They’re also influenced by physical things:

  • Your hormones.
  • You have a chronic illness. (Or even just a cold or flu.)
  • You’re stressed.
  • You’re traveling a lot.
  • You’re getting older.
  • You’re having problems sleeping.
  • You tripped over your dog and sprained your knee.

You can’t make your body do what you want it to. But you can control what YOU do.

That’s why BEHAVIOUR GOALS are so important —They focus on the things we do have control over. Behaviour goals represent your commitment to practicing a particular set of actions or tasks every day, as consistently as possible.

Here is how:

  1. Write down the outcome you want.

  2. Think about all the small steps you can take to move you toward that outcome, and which ones should come first.

Here are a few other examples of how we can turn outcome goals into behaviour goals.

Outcome: Lose 5 kilos
Behaviour: Eat till 80% full at each meal

Outcome: Lower blood sugar
Behaviour: Eat low calorie fruit for dessert, instead of sweets

Outcome: Squat more weight
Behaviour: Squat 3 times a week at various intensities

Outcome: Sleep 8 hours per night
Behaviour: Create a calming pre-sleep routine and start it 30 minutes before bedtime

Outcome: Have a better relationship with partner
Behaviour: Have a date night once a week.

Notice how both outcome and behaviour goals are trackable. However, behaviour goals are usually more effective because they give you something to do (and track) each day.

Setting powerful behaviour goals

  • Write down one outcome you want. Name the thing you want most right now.
  • Write down some of the skills you think you’ll need to get that outcome.
  • Related to each skill, write down a behaviour you can do today that’ll help build those skills. 
  • Do the behaviour today, and tomorrow, and the next day. Keep in mind, if you don’t practice that behaviour on a particular day, don’t let it derail you. Each day is a clean slate. Start again the next day.