Outcome vs Behavior Goals

2
Jul

Outcome vs Behavior Goals

Turn “outcome goals” into “behavior goals”.

Generally, when someone asks about their fitness goals, most people start with the outcome(s) they want:

  • I want to lose 20 pounds.
  • I want that thin-skinned, ripped look.
  • I want to binge less often.
  • I want to deadlift double my bodyweight.

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.

Because: 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.
  • Your mom with dementia needs help.
  • You have exams at school.

And they’re influenced by physical things. Like:

  • Your hormones get out of whack.
  • You have a chronic illness. (Or even just a tough bout with the flu.)
  • You’re stressed.
  • You’re traveling a lot.
  • You’re getting older.
  • You’re having problems sleeping.
  • You sprained your ankle or your arthritic knee is doing its thing again.

You get the idea.

You can’t make your body do what you want it to. (And neither can your personal trainer.)

But you can control what you do.

That’s why behavior goals are so important: They focus on the things we dohave control over.

Behavior goals represent your commitment to practice a particular set of actions or tasks every day, as consistently and regularly as possible.

Here’s a practical example.

Client:
“I want a flat stomach.”

Coach:
“Okay, cool.

“Let’s write that down as the outcome you want.

“Now let’s think about all the little steps we can take to move you toward that outcome, and which ones should come first.

“In my experience, here’s a step that makes a huge difference, and it’s a great place to start.

“It’s very simple but incredibly effective: Eating slowly.

“I know it doesn’t seem to relate to ‘flat stomach’ right away.

“But in fact, eating slowly helps you pay more attention to what you’re eating and how. That means over time, you make better food choices easily and effortlessly.

“Eating slowly helps you eat a bit less, but still feel satisfied. It helps decrease bloating because now you’re chewing and digesting your food better, which is another plus for Project Flat Stomach.

“Would you be willing to try this first step of eating slowly, and also to track whether you practice this?”

Since eating slowly helps folks eat less, and eating less most often leads to fat loss (not to mention the benefits of better food choices and better digestion), this approach helps turn an outcome (uncontrollable) into a behavior (controllable).

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

OutcomeBehavior
Lose 10 pounds.Eat till satisfied (instead of stuffed) at each meal.
Lower blood sugar.Eat fruit for dessert, instead of sweets, at least three times a week.
Squat more weight.Squat 3 times a week at various intensities.
Sleep 8 hours per night.Create a calming pre-sleep routine and start it 30 minutes before bedtime.
Have a better relationship with partner.Have a date night once a week.

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

Source: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/fitness-goals