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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.
- Pay off $20,000 student loan debt
- Run a marathon.
- Save money for children’s 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 “behaviors” instead of obtaining a specific outcome? Could we modify or completely change behaviors that would lead us to the desired outcome quicker, healthier, and with less stress? Could establishing some behavior-based goals help you fulfill your purpose? 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. Behavior-based goals focus more on the behaviors we want to strengthen rather than the negative actions we want to remove. In strengthening the positive behaviors, 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 behaviors in our lives is wide-reaching, affecting far more than just what we may have had in mind when creating the goal.
When we strengthen our positive behaviors, we strengthen our relationships.
We are not affected by the behaviors of others. We take control of our own emotions and we own the good, bad and ugly. However, instead of beating ourselves up over the bad and ugly, we choose to live our lives exhibiting the positive behaviors we have chosen.
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 behavior-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 behaviors 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 behavior that is strengthened in order to reach a goal is going to be strengthened in every situation where that behavior is utilized.
Try it with your children. So many times as mothers, we are so frazzled that we focus on our children’s and our husband’s bad habits instead of celebrating the amazing things they do each day. This puts a dark cloud over our households and our families have to tiptoe around us so that they don’t offend or irritate us. They are humans too and we have to give them grace for the things we think they should be doing and are not. When we focus on the great things, they often want to continue doing those things and find other ways to make us happy. Life’s too short to stew over behaviors that won’t change. You can’t change people they have to want the change. You focus on you and your outlook and you will find more peace.
Try setting a few behavior-based goals of your own and you’ll see that positively changing a behavior really helps in so many different areas of your life. The results are great, and your new positive behaviors will serve you well for the rest of your life.
How could implementing some behavior-based goals change the dynamics of some of your relationships?