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Lesson: Outcomes Vs. Behaviors

Focus on the process, not the product.

If you want to make big changes, it will require small, consistent behavior. Stay focused on what you can control: That is, changing daily behavior, rather than worrying about future outcomes.

Behaviors vs. outcomes

The world is mostly 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 real estate market.
  • If you want to have a nice picnic, you can pack a basket and blanket and plan your route to the park. But you can’t control the weather.
  • If you want to lose weight, you can eat well and stay active. But you can’t control your fat cells.

You can’t make your body lose 20 pounds on command any more than you can make your house worth a certain amount when you sell it.

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

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

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

Behaviors are HOW you’ll get there. Behavior goals give you an action plan.

Set behavior goals

Here are a few examples showing the difference between outcome and behavior goals.

Outcome goals

  • Run a 5K race in 23 minutes.
  • Lose 10 lb.
  • Squat 80 lb.

Behavior goals

  • Run for 20 minutes three times per week for the next month, gradually increasing the duration and speed.
  • Practice eating slowly at every meal.
  • Show up every day and do coaching practices consistently.
  • Start giving piggyback rides regularly, like Helen, who worked up to squatting her kids:

Behavior goals are a commitment to do a specific set of actions that lead to the outcome you want.

Behavior goals are also,

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

You can’t control the outcome. You can control the behaviors that, when done consistently, will move you in the right direction.

The 4 Circles

In the first circle, identify what you want the outcome of your coaching program to be.

In “this month”, “this week”, and “today”, write what you will do to get to that outcome.

Notice how what you do right now—and in the near future—contributes to the outcome you seek.

Set yourself up for success

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

It’s better to start small and succeed than go big and feel like inadequate for “failing”.


Write your Owner’s Manual

This space is for you to reflect. Be sure to reach out to us if you want specific feedback.

What do you want the outcome to be at the end of your program? What’s your final destination?

OK, good. Now let that outcome goal go and focus on these:

What can you do this month to work towards that goal?

What can you do this week to work towards that goal?

What can you do today to work towards that goal?

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