28 December 2021
Guest post by Max Roger
This is the time of the year when most people set some New Year’s Resolutions. Another word for these is ‘goals’. However, by the end of January 2022 nearly every single one that is set, and set with great intentions, will have been failed and forgotten. So, what can you do to make sure that you aren’t one of those people? How can you achieve your goal?
This article will look at just that, covering: the 3 different types of goals, the importance of a date, and breaking it down into baby steps.
Firstly, it’s important to understand the 3 different types of goals so that you can then bear this in mind when making yours to ensure that you pick the best type (yes there is a best type). The 3 types are: process, performance, and outcome.
An outcome goal is what most people go for – and that’s a big reason that most people fail with their goal. It’s where all you think about is that end goal. Examples of outcome goals are; ‘losing 5kg of fat’, or ‘getting a faster 5km time’. There’s no detail here at all, and certainly nothing controllable.
A performance goal is better. It’s where you have a metric that you’re measuring that will contribute towards your outcome. For example, ‘I’ll run slightly faster than my last race in this next one for 4 out of the 5km’. Whilst that’s likely to get you a better 5km time, it’s still focused on the outcome and not detailed enough to make a difference to you. There’s also very little that is controllable there.
Having a date puts some pressure on you, as you know that if you do let things slip, you’re making it harder and harder to achieve your goal with that impending deadline looming.
The 3rd type of goal is the process goal. (This is the best one that I mentioned)! A process goal is one where you focus on the things that you can control (the ‘controllables’) that, if completed, will get you to achieve your goal. An example is ‘doing 3 training runs per week at the prescribed pace’, or ‘completing all programmed sets in the gym each week’. If you consistently do these things, that is what will make the difference and get you a faster 5km time.
Now that we know what type of goal you want, it’s important to add an end date to it. A date helps to keep you accountable to your goal. Without it it’s far easier to let things slip, saying things such as; ‘I’ll do it tomorrow instead’, or ‘another mince pie won’t matter’. However, having a date puts some pressure on you, as you know that if you do let things slip, you’re making it harder and harder to achieve your goal with that impending deadline looming.
The date shouldn’t be so close that it’s impossible to achieve, or so far that it seems distant and unimportant. It’s about finding that sweet spot where it’s challenging but possible if you perform your controllables.
That ties us into the third section: baby steps. These are the small goals along the way to your bigger one, that if you do focus on the process and the things that you can control, you will achieve. It’s important to have these as often a big goal can seem daunting. If it’s too daunting, then when things are really getting tough (and you will go through phases of this when you pursue any goal) it’s much easier and more likely that you will quit. However, if the focus is on the next baby step – the next small process goal – then that is a far less daunting task, so when the going gets tough making progress still seems achievable and so you keep putting in the required hard work.
Now that you understand the sort of goal that will give you the best chance of success (keeping it process focused, with an end date, and broken down into baby steps) it’s the perfect time to make your own. Write them down and put it up somewhere that you’ll see every day. Good luck!
If you want help in designing them, or what the process can look like for your big goal, then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org