Behavior vs. Outcome-Based Goals - Which are best?

Behavior vs. Outcome-Based Goals - Which are best?

goal setting

Can we agree, it seems that goal-oriented people are always more successful, happier, and more productive. All of the books from successful entrepreneurs and people who have conquered huge challenges, they all say that clarity of vision comes first – direction and purpose then follow.

But let’s be honest though, how many times have we sat down to write a bunch of goals, only to find we struggle to make them a reality. The truth is, setting and keeping goals is a skill, and like any skill you want to develop, there’s a few right ways to do it and many wrong ways.

Over the years I have learned that one of the best ways for me to define goals, is to separate them into behavior-based and outcome-based ideas.

Behavior-Based Goals

Behavior-based goals are typically changes we make to how we act.

For instance, handling stress better, being nicer to others, and spending less time procrastinating – these are all examples of behavior-based goals. They focus on how we personally feel and behave, rather than just looking purely at the outcome of our actions.

Behavior-based goals play into outcome-based goals, but they aren’t the same. When we change how we think and feel, often we’ll notice a change in results. But that should never be the focus, it’s just a great outcome.

In order to make and keep awesome behavior-based goals, we’ll need to reflect on how we feel when we’re completing a certain task, being with certain people or when we find ourselves in certain situations. Do we get snappy with the family in the mornings, or feel exhausted when we’re trying to meet a deadline? If we have a focus on the way we feel when we aren’t performing well, then make a concerted effort to change, can help us to approach our goals with a totally different attitude and achieve what we set out to achieve.

Outcome-Based Goals

Outcome-based goals are changes we make to our performance.

In particular, reducing the amount of errors we make, answering customer communication and getting projects done on time – these are all outcome-based goals. They focus on the outcome of our actions, rather than how we feel about performing our tasks.

Outcome-based goals tend to be easier to quantify. We can count the number of customers we respond to before the end of the day, and we can keep track of the amount of time we spend on a certain project. For this reason, most people focus on making outcome-based goals. After all, our progress is so much simpler to see when it’s easier to measure.

Making Behavior-Based Goals and Outcome-Based Goals Work Together

Often we can get to the root of a problem by changing our behavior, and then watch as our outcomes change. It’s first about us, our mindset and our attitude  than it is, changing what we are doing. Greater success comes from blending the approach we have to behavior-based goals and outcome-based goals.

Sometimes it’s hard to separate the two, and that’s ok. Just don’t lose sight of the fact that our performance is a result of mixing both. Having the right mindset is just as important as working hard if we want to succeed.

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