We all know goals provide focus. With no plan to guide you, people tend to drift. But there is more to goals than you might think.
Setting and keeping goals is a skill, and like any skill, there’s a right way to do it. One thing you might find helpful is separating your goals into behavior-based and outcome-based models. There are a few differences between the two, and knowing which is which can be key.
Behavior-based goals are typically changes you make to how you act. For instance, handling stress better, being nicer to others, and spending less time procrastinating are all examples of behavior-based goals. They focus on how you personally feel and behave, rather than just looking purely at the outcome of your actions.
Behavior-based goals play into outcome-based goals, but they aren’t the same. When you change how you think and feel, often you’ll notice a change in results. But that’s not the focus, it’s just a pleasing side-effect.
In order to make behavior-based goals, you’ll need to consider how you feel when you’re completing a certain task. Do you get cranky with your kids in the mornings, or feel tired when you’re trying to meet a deadline? Focusing on the way you feel when you aren’t performing well, then making a concrete effort to change can help to make you more pleasant and productive.
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
Henry David Thoreau
Outcome-based goals are changes you make to your performance. For instance, answering your emails faster, increasing your client enrollment rate, and getting projects done on time are all outcome-based goals. They focus on the outcome of your actions, rather than how you feel about performing your tasks.
Outcome-based goals tend to be easier to quantify because they are generally practical and task oriented. You can count the number of emails you respond to before lunch, and you can keep track of the amount of time you spend on a certain project. For this reason, most people focus on making outcome-based goals. After all, your progress is so much simpler to quantify.
The real key to success is merging behavior-based goals with outcome-based goals. Although it is sometimes hard to differentiate between these different goals, being aware of how each type of goal relates to the other is important. Your performance, and how you achieve your goals is a mix of both of these styles. Having your head and heart aligned is just as important as working hard if you want to achieve your goals.
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