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Outcomes or Process?

In this article, we share the difference between outcome related goals and process related goals and what could be right for you.

By Stuart Perry, Personal Trainer at Bangor

When beginning a health and fitness journey, often, we’re quick to jump to outcome related goals. You may find yourself chasing and end point, as if to say “when I do this, I will be happy”, or “when I am this weight, I will be confident”.

When beginning any health and fitness journey it is often because we are unhappy with our current state, so picking an outcome related goal such as weight or level of fitness is a reasonable place to begin.  

However, as the closer you get to the achievement of your outcome related goal, you may start to realise it may not be exactly what you wanted. This is because sometimes, it really is just a “number” or “endpoint” that you thought would make you happy when you first began. At which point you were in pain and would be happy to be out of pain.

To properly set a goal, it’s important to stop and reassess what you want not that you are out of pain and with a clear mindset. Every goal has a cost and the greater the achievement, the greater the cost. Something that sounded worth it when you were coming from a place of pain and unhappiness, might not be worth it now that you are in a better, more confident place.

As you can see constant reassessment is crucial to making sure your goals are relevant and truly matter to you.

Do you as an individual need to set outcomes as a goal at all? Or would you be better off setting a process goal?

A process goal allows you to stick to a process you know will result in achieving an outcome, but the focus is the process not the end point. This treats goals as lifestyle shifts that are sustainable, instead of changing your habits to reach and outcome and then stopping or reverting back to old ways – which can often happen with outcome related goals.

Of course, everyone is different and it’s about finding what time of goal setting works for you.

Most of the challenging times when it comes to achieving goals, is once you’ve achieved them, then what? A process goal addresses this issue but keep you engaging in process/lifestyle change. Often this allows you to progress further then you might have if you only set the outcome as the goal.

I would strongly suggest giving it a go to find out how you best operate.

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