Process- and outcome- oriented goals

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“One of the problems with specifying your goals is specifying your failures.” -Jordan Peterson

As soon as we set specific goals- we are giving ourselves a clear metric for success or failure- which can be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective.

If you have a fixed mindset and don’t see any opportunity for growth then failure can be devastating- “see I’m not good enough, I can’t do it…”

If you have a growth oriented mindset you create the ability to see failure as a part of the process- okay- why did I fail? What went wrong? What can I learn from this so I can move closer to my goal?

Same outcome- failure- with very different takeaways depending on how you choose to look at it. 

We can use two different types of goals in our goals setting process: outcome- and process-oriented goals both described in detail below.

Outcome oriented goals: describing the actual thing you want to achieve⁣

It is very important to remember that outcome oriented goals are not necessarily under our control (where as process oriented goals- described below are 100%)⁣

Examples of these types of goals are what you typically think of when you think of goal setting:⁣

Snatch 185 pounds⁣

Back squat 300 pounds⁣

Run a sub 5:00 mile⁣

Get your first strict pull up⁣

Lose/ gain ‘x’ amount of weight⁣


Process oriented goals: ways to quantify the consistency of your effort⁣

In order to come up with examples, think about all of the things that you need to do consistently in order to accomplish your outcome-focused goal⁣

Training examples:⁣

Sleep at least 8 hours/ night⁣

Hit macros consistently (depending on your goal, this might even be not tracking macros for a while)⁣

Take supplements consistently⁣

Remain focused during training (maybe put phone on airplane mode/ do not disturb/ etc)⁣

Commit to 3 mobility sessions/ week⁣

Commit to 3 accessory sessions/ week⁣

Work examples:⁣

Write/ read for 30 minutes/ day⁣

Leave phone in another room during certain work hours⁣

Make a daily list of tasks (time block day)⁣


You can see the difference between the two types of goals and how- arguably- they are both important to forward progress.⁣

In my opinion, outcome goals without process-oriented goals are relatively useless because you have no road map for yourself- you’re just saying- I’m going to do this thing… if you have a road map- and you don’t achieve your goal on your first attempt, then you have a map you can adjust so you can create a different path forward for next time. If you don’t have a road map- you might just think- see, I can’t do it (hello fixed mindset ) and give up. ⁣

I think outcome-oriented goals have a place, but personally I don’t place much stock in them. I have always had lots of performance anxiety, so I do much better by focusing on the task at hand day in and day out and allowing the outcome to be an expression of my work. If I don’t like the outcome, then I adjust the process for the next time. ⁣

Do you prefer outcome oriented or process oriented goals??⁣

Let me know in the comments! ⁣




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