Process Goal vs Outcome Goal: How to Use Them for Success

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Everyone’s talking astir nan request to achieving goals and really to group goals: a semipermanent goal, short-term goal, process goal, result goal. It’s arsenic if we’re expected to group goals astir mounting goals; otherwise, we mightiness not execute anything, right?

Goal setting is an important portion of getting to nan life we opportunity we want. They are nan devices we tin usage successful building that life. As pinch immoderate tool, however, it’s important to cognize nan intent for which they’re utilized and techniques to usage them correctly.

There are a mates ways extremity mounting tin beryllium perceived. Looking from these vantage points, we get a much holistic image of really we want to spell astir achieving our life successes utilizing result goals and process goals.

Outcome Goal vs. Process Goal

With an outcome goal, we position our goals by knowing and stating intelligibly what we want. This is simply a “big want,” for illustration getting a circumstantial occupation aliases trading a house.

A process goal focuses connected really you mightiness spell astir positioning yourself for occurrence successful acquiring your “big want.” In bid to get to nan outcome, location will inevitably beryllium smaller goals, aliases milestones, you will walk on nan way. These small goals accumulate and support you going successful nan guidance of your result goal.

To show really each of these goals operates and you would spell astir reaching your goal, let’s usage nan illustration of going to college.

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The result extremity for going to assemblage is getting a degree. We specify which grade we want to gain and moreover visualize ourselves successful our headdress and gown connected graduation day, holding nan grade successful nan section of our choice. The extremity successful this lawsuit is specific and tangible.

In bid to get a degree, we person to look astatine each nan factors that spell into earning one. If we want a bachelor’s degree, we will apt request to scheme connected being successful schoolhouse for astir 4 years. Each twelvemonth is divided into semesters aliases trimesters (depending connected nan school), and successful each semester/trimester, location will beryllium a fistful of classes we person to take.

The classes will request to beryllium chosen depending connected what nan grade requirements are, and each people will person its ain requirements. As you tin see, getting a grade is simply a process that tin beryllium surgery down into smaller and smaller goals.

A process extremity is somewhat flexible. There are aggregate ways successful which you tin conception your process, but nan result extremity will stay nan same.

When to Focus connected an Outcome Goal aliases a Process Goal

Ultimately, nary determination is basal erstwhile it comes to an result aliases process goal. We request them both, and we request them to activity together.

You person apt heard nan parable astir nan unsighted men and nan elephant. It fundamentally outlines nan thought that if you surrounded an elephant pinch unsighted group who had nary thought what an elephant was, and you asked them each to picture nan elephant to you, you would get vastly different answers arsenic each of them would only beryllium capable to touch a mini information of nan animal. If you put each of their descriptions together, you mightiness person a complete picture.

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This is really we tin deliberation of process and result goals, too. The result is nan explanation of nan elephant while nan process extremity is nan sum of each nan descriptions. A process extremity will, unsurprisingly, attraction connected nan process and capacity that will thief you execute your result goal.

What Do Outcome Goals Accomplish?

“The much constraints 1 imposes, nan much 1 frees one’s aforesaid of nan chains that shackle nan spirit.” -Igor Stravinsky

This was awesome proposal from 20th period composer Igor Stravinsky that we tin use to extremity setting, arsenic well. What Mr. Stravinsky was suggesting is that we are much imaginative erstwhile we person less options.

Imagine yourself stepping down nan cereal aisle. There are dozens, possibly hundreds, of cereals staring backmost astatine you, and nan prime feels impossible.

You retrieve that your expert has conscionable told you that you request to trim down connected your sweetener intake (bummer). At nan aforesaid time, you now person a constraint that you tin usage for choosing a cereal. Now you tin attraction only connected nan cereals that don’t person refined sweetener arsenic an ingredient.

You statesman looking astatine cereals you ne'er earlier noticed! This makes it easier to constrictive successful connected which cereal appeals astir nether nan constraint you person been given, and you’re capable to do this because your result extremity was to extremity eating sugar.

Because result goals are truthful specific, they thief america explain what guidance we want to spell successful life. Without an result goal, life tin deficiency meaning. And without meaning, there’s nary logic to get retired of furniture and put pants connected each day.

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What Do Process Goals Accomplish?

Once you’re settled connected a desired outcome, you tin determine really you want to execute it. Think of it for illustration choosing a roadworthy travel destination. Once you cognize wherever you’re going, you tin past representation retired which roads you want to take.

The process extremity is little circumstantial than nan outcome, although, arsenic nan sanction implies, it sets up a process. This tin thief you debar procrastination arsenic process goals consciousness much obtainable than result goals.

Let’s spell backmost to nan assemblage grade analogy. You determine that you want to go a expert (outcome goal).

There is simply a step-by-step process to becoming a expert that outlines each of nan things you request to do on nan measurement (process). One of nan first steps is to get a bachelor’s grade from an accredited assemblage aliases university. Which assemblage will you spell to, and what will you awesome in? Those are choices you get to make on nan way, and nary prime is much correct than another.

Sometimes location whitethorn beryllium elements that are not wholly successful your control. For example, you mightiness not beryllium accepted to your first-choice aesculapian school. That doesn’t mean you can’t go a doctor; you conscionable person to use to aggregate schools arsenic portion of nan extremity mounting process. That mightiness beryllium a somewhat different way than you wanted, but nan result extremity will still beryllium wrong your reach.

Again, a process extremity is not truthful rigid. They group up directions connected really to get to your desired outcome, but your process doesn’t person to look nan aforesaid arsenic anyone else’s.

Another use of process goals is that they tin trim overwhelm and worry that could travel pinch contemplating a large result goal. Process goals break down nan larger extremity into bite size pieces. They thief america attraction connected 1 task astatine a clip while reassuring america that each measurement adds different driblet into nan bucket of accomplishing nan result goal.

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The Problem pinch Outcome Goals

Having nan expertise to perpetrate to ample goals requires immense affectional and intelligence energy. While it’s easy to determine connected an result goal, sticking to it is different story. Outcome extremity mounting is 1 of nan astir important ways to execute self-development, but if you attraction excessively overmuch connected these goals, you’ll extremity up emotion burnt out.

Regardless of what you want to achieve, whether it’s to get a degree, go a master athlete, aliases build a business, you request to beryllium alert of nan antagonistic broadside of becoming excessively centered connected your result goals.

The awesome problem result goals tin bring is unnecessary unit connected yourself. When you person a extremity that seems acold to scope aliases difficult to achieve, you’ll extremity up emotion stressed each nan clip until you execute that goal. This could return days, weeks, months, and moreover years. If you are not well-versed successful handling unit and stress, you’ll extremity up giving up.

Another rumor pinch result goals is it tin make you consciousness for illustration a failure. Outcome goals are a double-edged beard because while it sets you up for large victories, it tin besides make you consciousness for illustration you person nary direction. If you do not deed your goal, you whitethorn get an impulse to comparison yourself pinch others.

Just because you did not get nan results you want does not automatically mean you are a failure. Going backmost to nan grade goal, if your result extremity is to go a lawyer successful 5 years, but by nan extremity of your timeline, you’re still successful rule school, really would that make you feel?

Whenever you group an result goal, you request to retrieve that occurrence does not conscionable person 1 definition. It is normal to alteration your extremity aliases create a different crippled scheme to execute it.

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Why Process Goals Are Better

One of nan champion places you tin spot nan powerfulness of process goals is done video games. For example, successful nan crippled Pokémon, you commencement pinch a azygous Pokémon, and from there, you build your roster by fighting different trainers, catching different Pokémon’s, and making your squad nan champion it tin be. Each process extremity you deed makes you much motivated to purpose higher and support moving hard.

Just for illustration successful Pokémon, you don’t commencement by giving yourself nan biggest situation you tin face. You commencement pinch a mini and achievable situation that you tin easy win. Even better, a process extremity tin thief you cognize what you precisely request to do to progress.

What galore group don’t understand is erstwhile they are mounting an result goal, they are really astir to undertake hundreds aliases thousands of process goals. Instead of starting pinch thing overwhelming and emotion for illustration you request to climb up Mt. Everest, simply put 1 ft successful beforehand of nan other. Before you cognize it, you’ve already achieved nan result extremity you want.

While result goals person an important spot successful your life, and it’s captious to group this type of extremity each erstwhile successful a while, it would beryllium amended for your intelligence wellness to commencement pinch thing smaller and not push yourself excessively quickly.

Pros and Cons of Process Goals

Having clear process goals will genuinely make it easier for you to measure wherever you are and support yourself accountable. However, you shouldn’t person an unrealistic position of process goals. To thief you make nan astir of goal-setting, present are nan advantages and disadvantages of process goals.


It is easier to achieve

It’s nary concealed that result goals return a agelong clip to achieve. Meanwhile, process goals do not request overmuch subject and patience. When you spot yourself achieving your goals constantly, your self-confidence will increase.

It gives you clearer direction

Imagine if you wanted to commencement a restaurant. You don’t simply motorboat your paper and hold for customers nan adjacent day. You request to registry your business, get a team, and create your recipes. This will return months.

When you simply show yourself to build a restaurant, you don’t person a clear outline of nan steps needed to execute that goal. Without direction, you whitethorn extremity up wasting your money and time.

It’s not overwhelming

Outcome goals tin beryllium very analyzable and overwhelming. In comparison, a process extremity is simpler to execute since it’s already stripped down. Therefore, results tin beryllium seen successful nary time.

For example, joining a marathon seems unattainable for personification who is not athletic. Before your race, group realistic process goals for illustration uncovering an athletics coach, joining a way club, and moving 5 times a week. Having these easy targets is an awesome strategy to execute your goal, and possibly moreover gain a medal.


You’ll person smaller wins

While you will spot results successful process goals, nan rewards won’t beryllium life-altering, and they won’t springiness you nan aforesaid level of gratification arsenic an result extremity would. However, they are capable to push you forward.

You will enactment successful your comfortableness zone

You request to get retired of your comfortableness area to grow. However, process goals won’t situation you capable to propel you retired of your comfortableness zone. What’s worse is it tin moreover limit your mind.

No room for reflection

Another downfall of process goals is you will beryllium excessively focused connected results to woody pinch reflection. It’s either you get past your mini goals aliases not. This tin easy make you consciousness defeated. On nan different hand, result goals person much weight truthful it’s easier for you to prime yourself backmost up.

What If You Don’t Know What You Want?

One of nan biggest challenges for anyone to look is not knowing what they want. It tin beryllium astir intolerable to fig retired your process if you don’t cognize what you want your result to be.

If this is nan case, see making your caller result extremity figuring retired your result goal. Then, you get to determine connected nan process for really you want to observe what you want your result extremity to be.

Some ways to benignant done this process mightiness include:

  • Reading books and blogs
  • Writing a brainstorm list
  • Working pinch a coach aliases mentor
  • Discovering your core values

Final Thoughts

The only definite point successful life is nan uncertainty of life. And yet, arsenic quality beings, we activity toward immoderate measurement of certainty by deciding connected large goals and past filling our clip pinch accomplishing each nan small goals successful nan process that leads america to nan last destination.

Obstacles will apt arise, but arsenic agelong arsenic your process extremity allows for mini detours, you will beryllium arsenic definite arsenic you tin perchance beryllium that you will execute your wide outcome.

As overmuch arsenic it whitethorn beryllium bothersome to perceive that goals are a basal portion of life, they surely do thief america get worldly done. Perhaps it would beryllium adjuvant to announcement really you people group goals for yourself without reasoning astir it. For instance, an result extremity you mightiness person correct now is to create a occurrence mindset. Congratulations, because you conscionable completed a mini process extremity by reference this article!

More About Goal Setting

  • 8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life
  • 20 Personal SMART Goals Examples to Improve Your Life
  • How to Measure a Goal (With Examples of Measurable Goals)

Featured photograph credit: Ante Hamersmit via

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