Goal setting is extremely important for everyone. They help direct action toward a specific purpose.  This helps drive motivation, gives a feeling of accomplishment and hopefully success in reaching the goal.

To make sure you are heading in the right direction, let’s talk about the two type of goals: outcome based goals and process goals


Outcome goals are result oriented. An outcome goal can also be defined as a big picture goal. Here are some  examples of a outcome based goals:

  •  Lose 25 lbs
  • Run a marathon
  • Drink more water
  • Make more money
  • Spend more time with my..

Outcome goals are the most common type of goal that most people create.  They are very generic and don’t have any real substance behind it. Consider this type of goal almost like a dream. (Read the next installment of goal setting by clicking here)

This type of goal is also not entirely under your control. Too many other factors come into play that can effect whether or not the goal can be achieved.

For example, using weight loss as an example:  we set a goal of losing 25 lbs in 3 months.  While the goal is specific and does have an end date, there are factors that you have no control over that will affect whether the goal can be reached: not lose enough weight (23 lbs vs. 25 lbs), health issues, social impact, environmental factors, your body’s specific metabolic set point, exercise program, motivation for exercise, etc.

By stating I want to lose x amount of weight in x amount of time, it makes it challenging to hit that goal with so many factors coming in to play.


So what do you do to help you reach that outcome goal? Create process goals.

Process, or performance goals, are the foundation that help you reach your specific outcome goal.  Process goals help create a specific plan to keep you motivated and that you can control. Using the weight loss goal from earlier:  25 lbs in 3 months. You create a plan to put you on a path to lose 25 lbs. by writing down how many days per week you’re planning on exercising, planning out your calories during the week, etc.

Diving deeper into this example you want to write a specific plan for nutrition:

  • Eating x amount of calories (you may need to figure out specifics with carbs, protein, and fat) per day. If you need help with this, we do offer online nutrition meal plans, click here for more info.
  • Carrying a water bottle with you to make sure you are drinking water throughout the day.
  • Meal plan – create a weekly menu so you know what and when you are going to eat
  • Plan for social outings – eating out with friends or going to a party? Eat a healthy snack before you go to the party so you won’t make bad decisions when you get there. When meeting friends at a restaurant, plan ahead and know what you should order before you get there. Most restaurants have their menu’s online

For exercise:

  • How often are you working out per week? (3 days?, 4 days?, etc.)
  • Plan your strength days – what specifically are you going to do (exercises, reps, sets, weight)
  • Plan your cardio days – again, what specifically are you going to do (long slow cardio, intervals, sprints, etc.)
  • Put your workout clothes in your gym bag and put it by the front door so you can easily grab it before you leave in the morning
  • Schedule your workouts like any other meeting you have at work – make it a priority.  Don’t forget to plan how many days per week you need to go to the gym.

Athletes do this all the time. They schedule off season workouts to stay in shape, pre-season workouts to get them ready for the upcoming season, and then an in-season plan so they stay strong during the season without losing their strength, power, endurance, etc. For an athlete, this is called periodization. You can use the same philosophy to help you as well.

Remember, process goals are under your control. If you aren’t losing weight while following your plan, make some adjustments.

Not sure you were to begin? If you need help with the exercise portion, hire a personal trainer, or get some online coaching. If you need help with nutrition, ask a registered dietitian for help.

Whatever your goals are, using process goals to help you reach your big outcome goal is the way to go. It will help keep you on track as you move along the timeline you created.  Make adjustments along way as needed, get help if needed and you will be on your way to crushing your goals.

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