"What is your fitness goal?"
That's probably a question that you've heard a few times. Maybe when you signed up at the gym. Definitely if you've had consultation with a personal trainer (I hope, anyways!). Possibly on some website when you were browsing the web and clicked your way to a questionnaire of some sort. In any case, you most likely gave a quick answer like: lose some weight, build muscle, run a 10k race, or the classic––"I just want to get fit."'
"A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Dream"
These are all perfectly acceptable answers, but they don't really do much by themselves. You see, there's a reason why most people never reach their goal (actually, there's more than one, but let's just focus on this one today). There's an expression that goes, "A goal without a plan, is just a dream." That's the reason why most people don't get what they want; they spend too much time dreaming and not enough time planning. That leads me to the topic of this blog: Outcome based goals and Process based goals.
Any trainer or coach worth their salt will have outcome and process based goals set out for their clients. Anyone who's serious about getting results should do the same.
Let's get into the differences and real life applications of the two, shall we?
Outcome Based Goals vs. Process Based Goals
The easiest way to explain the differences is with some examples. The goals mentioned above are all outcome based goals (OBGs). They are targets, so to speak. The focus is the end result. Thinking like this can make the task seem overwhelming or, just as damaging, make the individual steps to get there seem insignificant. This is where processed based goal setting comes in. Process based goals (PBGs) are about focusing more on what you need to do, rather than what you will achieve. Both are important, but you can't get the outcome without the process and the execution, so it makes more sense to place more emphasis on the latter.
For example, an OBG would be; run a 10k under 45 minutes. A PBG would be: run for 20 minutes, 3 times a week for 2 weeks. Then increase the time by 10 minutes each week until you are running for 40 minutes. After two weeks of running for 40 minutes, try to increase the distance that you can run in that time frame. Rest the week before the race.
One Small Goal at a Time
You can see the difference in the two. The OBG is simply naming the desired outcome. PBGs are about developing a plan. Now that you have a clear PBG, the focus will change. Now you need to achieve a small goal, one day at a time, which is a much less overwhelming strategy.
Check Tasks (Goals) Off Your List
There is another driving force behind this. One of people's favourite things to do is to set a task and then accomplish it. With the PBG system, you will be getting that feeling of accomplishment on a very frequent basis. This will stoke your motivation and self-belief, which will in-turn, boost your desire to accomplish another meaningful task.
If you start out with only the outcome based goal in mind and attempt to run for 40 minutes non-stop and only get to 20 minutes, you may feel disheartened. You may feel like you can't do it, or that it's too hard. It is difficult to stay with a plan if you feel like the goal is too hard, or too far away. Taking a PBG mindset allows you to see the bricks that make the building. It leaves no doubt about what you need to do and helps you stay on track.
"Taking a process-based-goal mindset allows you to see the bricks that make the building."
Consistency + Effort = Achievement!
Obviously, this is not a bullet-proof concept. Consistency of effort is still needed. This just makes it more achievable.
So, next time you are setting a goal, use the PBG model. Plan out your steps. And before you go to bed at night, know what you need to do tomorrow. Then, when you wake up in the morning, you will have a clear idea and a renewed confidence in achieving the results that you want.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment here. And keep an eye out for my next blog––it will blow your socks off.
About Robbie Hannon
Robbie is a Personal Trainer originally from Ireland, now living and working in Vancouver for Team SNFC. He is an NCEF Certified Health and Fitness Coach and Thump Training Boxing Coach, with Agatsu Kettlebell Level 1, Bulgarian Bag Certification, and Olympic Lifting Basics. He trains several different kinds of clients, from all walks of life––from accountants, to housewives, to figure skaters. His focus for his clients is to have them feel and perform at their best. Although, looking good is a nice bonus!