The Path to Success: How to Set the Right Goals
Often the biggest thing holding us back from reaching our goals typically isn’t the goals we set, but the way in which we set them. While having goals is generally a great place to start, the difference between a “bad” goal and a “good” goal really boils down to the way you establish and work towards them. After all, goals can bring a lot of value to your life.
Most of the time, when we set goals, we’re too vague or general. Like asking someone to pick up chips from the store…Um hello, what type of chips? Tortilla? Barbeque? Jalapeno? Baked? Plantain? I need you to be more specific, or Flamin’ Hot Cheetos it is!
When you set goals like: I want to tone up, make $100,000 next year, eat healthier, build a bigger butt, do a pull-up or fit into my old size 4 dress from high-shool that’s back in style again, it’s like asking someone to pick up chips but specifying what kind. (I knew I should have held onto those clothes, damn you, Marie Kondo!)
On the surface, they aren’t “bad” goals. They are specific and you can track your progress. The problem is that they are focused on the outcome you’re seeking instead of the behaviors you’ll need to adopt in order to reach them. Let’s talk about how you can turn “bad” or vague goals into “good” ones.
Outcome-Based Goals vs Behavior Behavior-Based Goals
Outcome-based goals specify what will happen at the end – hence the name outcome. But outcomes are generally out of our control, despite how much we think we can predict the future. Like how you thought you were gonna go on an amazing beach vacay but then Coronavirus hit, flights were canceled, beaches were closed and now you’re sitting on your couch in a bikini trying not to cry. (Too soon?)
Or for example, you can’t control:
* your hormones
* how much money someone will tip you
* exactly how much weight you may lose
* how quickly you’ll be able to increase the amount of weight you lift
If you are strictly focused on the outcome it’s easy AF to get frustrated, overwhelmed, or think you’ve somehow failed because you haven’t reached the endpoint you wanted by your self-imposed deadline. Because as much as we like to believe it is, progress is rarely ever linear.
Outcome-based goals also leave out mindset changes. If you’re constantly seeking an outcome to be happy, chances are you won’t be happy when you reach that goal. Losing 10lbs won’t fix the body-shame you struggle with, having a bigger ass won’t suddenly wipe away your social anxiety. If only it were that easy….
Behavior-based goals on the other hand focus on the methods and action steps required to get there. AKA how to get what you want. When you focus on behavior-based goals, the emphasis is on your actions, rather than your expectations. Because you can’t make your body do what you want it to, but you can control what you do.
Behavior-based goals answer the questions: How will you do it? What can you control? How can you pick better goals based on behaviors?
If you want to eat healthier make these your goals:
* I will eat a vegetable at every meal
* I will eat slowly and be more mindful of hunger cues
* I will avoid alcohol one day a week (or two or three….)
* I will have at least one serving of fruit a day
*I will spend my time improving my craft to book bigger gigs
* I will approach every customer even if I think they aren’t a spender
* I will spend 20 minutes every day promoting myself on social media
* I will send booking inquiry emails every month
You may have noticed both the outcome goals and behavior-based goals are trackable. But while outcome-based goals let you track if you got what you wanted, you won’t know what actions helped you get there….if you even did. On the other hand, behavior-based goals give you something to do (track) every day, creating better habits and making them more effective. And if you like crossing shit off a list, then behavior-based goals are your new bae.
Action Step: Setting Behavior-Based Goals
Now that you have a better understanding of how to set powerful boss bitch goals, let’s set some now.
1. Write down one thing that you want. If you already have goals set, great, pick one to focus on. If not, grab a pen & paper and write down one goal. Try not to overthink it. What pops into your head first?
2. Write out some of the skills or behaviors you’ll need to reach that outcome. If you’re just starting out or this all still feels a bit hard to breakdown start with foundational skills first. Those big bills, or the skills that offer the biggest return on your investment and can make a significant difference to your health, fitness, and wellness. What will make everything else possible? (For instance, if you want to save money, you need a budget.)
3. Related to each skill, write down one or two behaviors you can do today that will help build those foundational skills. This can be as simple as make coffee at home, packing your gym bag the night before, or prepping your groceries before putting them away.
4. Do that behavior today, tomorrow, and on & on & on… Reminder if you miss a day, you have not failed. Don’t let it derail you, every day is clean slate you can start again as many times as you need. Remember progress is rarely ever linear.
Hopefully, you’ve gained some insight into why simply setting an outcome-based goal like “I want to eat healthier” isn’t enough. That when your goal is too vague you may end up feeling frustrated and give up because you’re focusing on things you have no control over…(like your PMS hormones craving pizza & chocolate). But, if you take that goal and think about the little steps you can make every day, you’ll not only be able to reach your goal, you’ll realize having a slice of pizza while PMS-ing won’t derail you.