Outcomes vs. Behaviours - What Really Works

posted Mar 9, 2015, 2:12 PM by Rebecca Smith
If you’ve been a part of our family for any amount of time you've probably noticed some small — but significant — changes in your habits already.

Maybe even a little progress. Perhaps you're feeling better. Moving better. A little more confident.

Change is happening. Slowly.

Today, we’re going to look more at the process of change in a bit more detail.

Making change is a skill. A skill you can practice. And improve.

And if you want to make big changes, you have to take small, consistent daily actions.

In fact, your behaviours are the only things you can control.

So make those your goal.

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 real estate market. 
  • If you want to play a few rounds of golf, you can buy some pricey clubs and get decked out in your fanciest duds. But you can’t control the weather. 

You can’t make your body lose 10kg of fat, gain 10kg 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”, focus on setting “behaviour goals”.

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 100kg.

• 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 my trainers habits into your daily routine, one by one.

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.

The 4 Circles

Here’s an exercise that will help you see how outcomes are connected to behaviours.

Take out a piece of paper and draw four circles.

Label them:

1. Outcome: 12 months time

2. This month

3. This week

4. Today

In the first circle, identify what you want the outcome of your Difference Personal Training journey to be.

In “this month”, “this week”, and “today”, write what you will do to get to the “12 months time” 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.

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. 

Personal Trainer Narellan
Difference Personal Training Narellan and Camden