Focus on the process, not the product.
In this coaching article, we're going to look more at the process of change. 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 dapper best duds. 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”.
Here are a few examples showing the difference, just so you get the picture:
• Run a 5K race in 20 minutes. • Bench press 200 pounds.
• Eat better.
• 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 right 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: Your goal
2. This month
3. This week
In the first circle, identify what you want the outcome of your journey to be.
In “this month”, “this week”, and “today”, write what you will do to get to the “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-ve yourself when it happens.
What To Do Today
1. Review your outcome goal. Now, recognise that you can't fully control that outcome.
2. List your behaviour goals. 3 behaviours that — if done consistently — are going to get you to your outcome goal.
3. Keep it simple. Focus on a few small, concrete, daily actions that will get you to your goal. Then do them. Today and every day. Consistently.