Goals based on an outcome or result can really cause harm.
For the last few months I’ve been trying to grow a new product. In the beginning, the prospects were great and I felt, as any business person does in the beginning, I felt positive.
I set a goal of 100 new clients by December. I even had a breakdown of the time I had remaining and the effort I thought was involved.
This is what I think of as an outcome goal. Something you don’t have any control over. I did not anticipate or give enough time to user readiness. Current competitive landscape. Messaging. Customer profile or any other really important aspect.
I simply took feedback from my coaching interactions as ‘enough’ evidence of a need and built out from that.
Now my reason for moving so quickly is simple. I have a lot of technical experience so building out a product isn’t a lot of work for me but taking that idea to a new market is always more work than I expect.
Today, I can honestly say that in comparison to the goal I’ve set, I’ve come way further than I had expected. Only, I haven’t signed a single customer. Not 1.
That’s because with the outcome goal, I stood back and said,
So I changed my goal
I set new goals such as,
- Use this to learn AI technologies,
- Write more articles with the purpose of getting ranked on Google.
- Use AI to help you write.
- Use Facebook ads to learn more about the product offering
- Use traffic from ads to learn about your landing page messaging.
After 3 months, take this knowledge and decide your next 3 months.
The first set of goals really only focuses on an outcome and can be really stressful. The second was more about my own growth and helping myself learn more.
Now of course I do have a bigger financial motive but unless I build something that is useful to people, I’m never going to help anyone, and I can’t build that unless I’m building up new knowledge.
This works not only for things like business but can also relate to things like fitness or eating habits.
I’ve used this in my Fitness and Eating Habits
When I was way above my ideal weight, I didn’t set out to “lose 12 kilograms”, I strayed out with “eat out of a smaller plate”. I still ate the same food just less of it. Once my body got used to that I started asking questions like, “From the stuff I’m eating, which one should a rat less of”.
The answer to that was rice.
So instead of some crazy eating plan that only lasts a few months, I’ve been able to apply small steps of continuous learning to not only lose the weight but to keep it lost.
I used this method again when I wanted to exercise more. I didn’t join a gym and get a personal trainer.
I literally just drive to a popular road-running destination and sat in my car. I just practised that going there and none of the running. I did this for a month. Sometimes I’d get out of the car and take in the fresh morning air. But even before that I just practiced getting up early in the morning. That’s it.
So before I even began to run, I started practising getting up early, then practised going to the running spot, then I started walking, and then, only then, did I start running.
While it takes longer to get results the results stays much longer
Because instead of setting an outcome goal, I set behavioural goals instead. What small thing can I do differently
So ditch your “S.M.A.R.T” goals and break things down to their smallest part and then start with that one behaviour instead.
Do this and you’ll hit every goal you can imagine, even big money goals. Because making more money is simply a set of actions put into motion to produce a result.
If you’d like to learn more about how I actively apply this method to develop my own internal growth, then come join me on the 18th Jan 2024 for my Year in Review. It’s completely free and quite personal in fact.