Behaviours vs. outcomes

The world is pretty uncontrollable. Life happens.

  • If you want to sell your house for a good price, you can renovate it and give it a fresh coat of paint. But you can’t control the housing market.
  • If you want to play a few rounds of golf, you can buy some pricey clubs and get decked out in your dapper gear. But you can’t control the weather.


You can’t make your body lose 20 pounds of fat, gain 20 pounds of muscle, heal from an injury, and/or improve your cholesterol numbers on command… or on a specific timeline.

In other words, you can’t control the outcome.

But you can control the behaviours that lead to the outcome you want.

Outcomes are WHAT you want. But outcomes don’t tell you what to do.

Behaviours are HOW you’ll get there. Behaviour goals give you an action plan.

Set behaviour goals

So instead of setting “outcome goals”, set “behaviour goals”.

Image result for outcome

Here are a few examples showing the difference, just so you get the picture:

Outcome goals

  • Run a 5K race in 20 minutes.
  • Bench press 200 pounds.
  • Eat better.

Behaviour goals

  • Run for 20 minutes three times per week for the next month, gradually increasing the duration and speed.
  • Get coaching on bench press technique, and focus diligently on a targeted bench press training plan.
  • Gradually incorporate the 4D Coaching habits into your daily routine, one by one.
Image result for behaviours

You get the idea.

Notice how all of the behaviour goals are a commitment to do a specific set of actions or tasks that lead to the outcome you want.

Also, notice that:

  • behaviour goals are things you do consistently and regularly;
  • behaviour goals are small, manageable tasks that are within your control; and
  • behaviour goals are often things that you can do right now, today or in the near future.

Again: You can’t control the outcome.

But you can control the behaviours that, when done consistently, will move you in the right direction.

Set yourself up for success

Be realistic with what you can do. For now, under-estimate your capacity.

Better to start small and succeed than go big and feel like a schmuck for “failing”.

Focus on doing one small, achievable behaviour at a time. Then high-five yourself when it happens.

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