The Magic of Process Goals

agility ladder work at Knockout Training ClubIn health and fitness we get hung up on outcome goals.  We set weight/fat loss goals, distance goals (5K, marathons), and lifting goals (deadlift my bodyweight).  Outcome goals can be great for some people some of the time, but many of us don't have specific goals and honestly outcome goals often backfire. 

Let's say you are a normal awesome person and simply desire to look & feel your best.  Great, you have 2 choices...focus on the outcome or the process.

The outcome would be a certain number or size. If you are like most people focusing on this outcome it will lead to obsession and inconsistency.  You will likely start weighing yourself excessively, go from crash diet to diet and feel unhappy until that result is met. You will go on a roller coaster of emotions and scrutinize everything you do and how it could potentially impact your goal, all the while not really having much control over the result.  (For example, two pounds lost or gained from week to week may or may not be a result of your behaviors)

The other option is to focus on process goals.  These are things you have control over and can turn into habits.  The process is doing things you set out to regardless of the outcome because you know they will lead to success in the long run.  This means setting frequency goals for exercise and activity.  Setting a goal to train 3 days per week or to walk 10 minutes a day are both measurable and doable.  You are in charge of achieving your goal or not.  Process goals put the power back in your hands.  Yes the process will take time, but that is simple the reality of change.  

Being outcome focused can prevent you from making longterm sustainable change.  Often when you are focused on the outcome you don't stick with anything long enough to truly measure it's effectiveness.  

The key is to measure results after enough time has passed that you can actually draw some conclusions about what is or isn’t working. Honestly this can take months and years.  Heck the time will pass anyways, so might as well focus on the process and making progress daily.  

What do you need to work on to improve your health & fitness? Exercise frequency, daily activity, sleep, nutrition? Figure out which area needs some attention and set process based goals for it.  The awesome thing is you can base your success on your actually behaviors vs some arbitrary number that you don't have 100% control over.