Outcome vs Behavior Based Goals

Did you miss our conversation with Alaina from Nightingale College? This week, we talked about goals.

When we talk about goals they are almost always outcomes-based, and there is nothing wrong with this, except, that we cannot always control the outcome. For example, if I wanted to win the lottery, I could buy tickets and be strategic about the lotto numbers I choose, but ultimately this does not guarantee a lottery win. So, what’s the solution? Breaking our outcomes-based goals into behavior goals that we can (for the most part) control.


Outcomes-based goals are a good starting point, we can begin with the end in mind, and they help us know what behaviors to adopt. Here are some examples of outcomes-based goals

  • I want to deadlift double my bodyweight
  • I want to get X job
  • I want to have a better relationship with my partner

Once we have our outcomes-based goals set, we can look into skills and behaviors that will help us to achieve the goal.

Skills questions might sound like

  • Do I know how to deadlift?
  • Do I have the basic skills/knowledge/experience required for the job?
  • Do I spend quality time with my partner?

Once we understand the skills required, we can work on behaviors.

Behavior-based goals look like

  • I will strength train 3x a week with an emphasis on lower body strength
  • I will take classes to gain knowledge relevant to my goal job
  • I will have a date night once a week with my partner

When we focus on behaviors, we focus on things within our control. This sets us up for success and growth regardless of if the original goal is obtained.

Listen to our interview with Alaina!

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