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Process Goals vs. Outcome Goals. Which type of goal should you set?

Most often, when setting a goal it will fall into one of two categories; an outcome goal or a process goal. The problem with focusing on an end result (outcome goal) is we forget about the process needed to get us there. For instance, before embarking on a road trip we develop a map with precise steps that will take us to our final destination. This is the same for goal setting. Small, process goals lead to the bigger picture, the end result or the outcome goal.

Typically outcome goals are out of our control. By focusing purely on an end result one may develop the wrong mindset and behaviors. On the other hand, process goals are completely under our control. They are small, objective steps that need to be adapted to reach the end result. When setting a process goal the focus should be on the mental and physical improvements that will lead to the result(s) you want.

How to set a process goal

-Work background from the end result you want to achieve.

-Focus on ideas and concepts you have control over.

-If your goal is performance related, use measurements to track your progress.

-Use the SMART goal setting process.


Specific: What exactly do I want to achieve? What are the conditions and limitations?

Measureable: Objective and supported by concrete evidence. Tracked performance.

Attainable: Is the goal acceptable to you? Weigh effort, time, costs your goal will take against other obligations and priorities in your life.

Realistic: Are you willing and able to work at this goal? Is the goal within your current abilities physically, mentally, and emotionally?

Timely: A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency.


Celebrate throughout the process! Reward yourself for achieving milestones and moving in the right direction. There may be occasional setbacks when working through the process. Don’t let this be discouraging. Pick up from where you are and continue to more forward toward the ultimate, end result!

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