What is Behavior-Based Goal Setting?

Could we modify or completely change behaviors that would lead us to the desired outcome quicker, healthier, and with less stress? Some experts certainly think so.

When we think of goal setting, we usually think of goals that envision a specific outcome. Some examples include:

  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Increase income by 10%
  • Buy a larger house/newer vehicle
  • Run a marathon
  • Save money for college

Of course, these are just a few of the more common goals that people set for themselves. But what if we based our goals on changing behaviours instead of obtaining a specific outcome? Could we modify or completely change behaviours that would lead us to the desired outcome quicker, healthier, and with less stress? Some experts certainly think so.

Many times, when we set goals, we focus on the negative, i.e. what we don’t want rather than what we do want. Behaviour-based goals focus more on the behaviours we want to strengthen rather than the negative actions we want to remove. In strengthening the positive behaviours, we change the way we act and react in many situations – not just situations surrounding a goal that is outcome-based. The ripple effect of creating more positive behaviours in our lives is wide-reaching, affecting far more than just what we may have had in mind when creating the goal.

Many businesses today are focusing on behaviour-based goals rather than outcome-based goals, because of this ripple effect. Smart companies know that when behaviour changes for the positive, the employee is happier not only at work but in their personal life and family life as well. A happier employee is a more productive employee. So managers are learning to integrate behaviour-based goals at each employee review.

This type of goal-setting isn’t seen just in the office, either. Personal trainers, life coaches, psychologists, therapists, and so many other professions are adding behaviour-based goal setting to their repertoire of techniques. This helps those in these industries to help their clients reach success, whatever that may mean to them.

Goals that change behaviours can be seen as a kind of intermediate goal that helps one achieve outcome-based goals easier, faster, and with more residual positive effects. A positive behaviour that is strengthened in order to reach a goal is going to be strengthened in every situation where that behaviour is utilized.

Try setting a few behaviour-based goals of your own and you’ll see that positively changing a behaviour really helps in so many different areas of your life. The results are great, and your new positive behaviours will serve you well for the rest of your life.


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