Every January a new round of “New Year’s Resolutions” come around. After a couple of months those goals you were so excited about usually fall through, leading to feelings of discouragement. How the goal was approached, or lack of motivation are often blamed, but maybe the goal itself is the issue.
The Cahoots’ Nutrition Essentials for Real Moms course provides a solution to goal setting in Module 1. After goal setting you learn about principles of good nutrition, like macro- and micronutrients, vegetables, meal prepping, and more! Module 1 is also FREE! Go here to listen to the first module for FREE!
Different Types of Goals
In Module 1, you learn about different types of goals. There are behavior goals and there are outcome goals, and not all goals are created equally. Outcome goals are, well an outcome, a result. They’re what you expect to happen after a certain time. For example, if you say “I want to lose 10 lbs. in one month,” you’re setting an outcome goal. Behavior goals are based on specific behaviors. Saying “I want to exercise 3 times a week” is an example of a behavior goal. We may be inclined to make outcome goals, but behavior goals are often more effective.
Why Don’t Outcome Goals Work?
Why shouldn’t outcome goals be the go-to for goal setting? For starters, there are a lot of factors that can affect an outcome, and some of these factors are outside of your control. Because of all those factors, it can be overwhelming setting an outcome goal. Let’s use losing weight as an example. You set a goal to lose 10 lbs. by the end of the month. You start to plan what you’ll need to do: go to bed early, drink lots of water, exercise, eat more veggies, cut back on sweets, etc. It’s overwhelming trying to make all those changes. Maybe you feel overwhelmed and don’t do as well as you hoped, or maybe do everything as you planned. At the end of the month, you weigh yourself and you haven’t reached your goal. Maybe you feel guilt because you don’t think you tried hard enough, or maybe you feel hopeless because you did your very best and still didn’t achieve your goal.
Choosing a Better Goal
Instead of an outcome goal, try behavior goals. Your behavior is in your control and you feel empowered when you develop those behaviors. Instead of feeling like you have to do everything, you’re able to start small. Gradual change is more effective than trying to do everything at once.
Take some time, pick an area of your life where you want to improve. Pick something that matters to YOU, not what you think other people want you to do. What is ONE behavior you can change to make the improvement you want to see. Choose a goal that will make you feel healthier, don’t worry about the numbers. Instead of waiting weeks to maybe see results, you get to celebrate every day, every week that you complete your goal. Maybe you’ll lose weight, maybe you won’t, but no matter the outcome you’ll be making healthy choices and feel healthier and better.
You’ve got this! A healthy and happy lifestyle is possible without feeling overwhelmed or discouraged! Just take it one step at a time and celebrate each new healthy behavior!
- By Jessica Stein, Movement Preschool Instructor
If you want more information about outcome vs. behavior goals, listen to Module 1 of the Nutrition Essentials for Real Moms course for FREE.