Outcome-Based Goals vs. Behavior-Based Goals

Most goal-oriented people are more successful, happier, and more productive. But creating and keeping goals is a skill, and like any skill, there's a correct way to do it. One helpful tip to separate your goals into behavior-based and outcome-based. There are a few differences between the two, and knowing which is which can be critical.

Behavior-based goals are typical changes you make to how you act. For instance, handling stress better, interacting more positively with others, and spending less time procrastinating are examples of behavior-based goals. This goal focuses on how you personally feel and behave, rather than just looking purely at your actions' outcome.

While behavior-based goals can play into outcome-based goals, they are not the same. When you change how you think and feel, often you'll notice a change in results. But that's not the focus; it's just a pleasant side-effect.

To make behavior-based goals, you'll need to reflect on how you feel when completing a specific task. Do you get gruff with colleagues in the mornings or feel tired when you're trying to meet a deadline? When you make a substantial effort to change your performance, you are more likely to be pleasant and productive.

Outcome-based goals are changes you make to your performance. For example, answering your emails faster, decreasing the number of mistakes you make, and completing projects on time are all outcome-based goals. Rather than focusing on how you feel about performing tasks, outcome-based goals focus on your actions' outcome.

Outcome-based goals tend to be easier to assess. You can calculate the number of emails you respond to before lunch and keep track of the amount of time you consume on a specific task. Hence, most people focus on creating outcome-based goals. Ultimately, your progress is much easier to quantify.

The real key to success is integrating behavior-based goals with outcome-based goals. Generally, you can get to the root of a problem by changing your behavior and then observe as your outcomes vary. Occasionally, it's hard to differentiate between the two, and that's all right. Just don't disregard the fact your performance is a combination of both. If you want to succeed, having the right mindset is just as important as working hard.


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