Behavior Based And SMART Goal Setting

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.

And one of the problems with the subject of goal setting is that it is discussed so often, it can become a bit blasé and not taken seriously.

And this is a big mistake if you really want to achieve the best things in life! Setting goals is critical to your success and can act as a motivator to keep you going and you can also reward yourself for hitting milestones along the way 😊

Ok, as shown above, many goals are oriented around hitting a specific outcome or target.

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? 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.

The difference may appear to be subtle, but it does make a difference to the way you approach goal setting and the intended result.

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.

Many businesses today are focusing on behavior-based goals rather than outcome-based goals, because of this ripple effect. Smart companies know that when behavior 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 behavior-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 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 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.

Now, when you are looking at setting some behavior-based goals, it pays to make them “SMART” when doing so.

Not sure what we mean by “SMART” behavior-based goals? Well, let’s take a look at that now…

Setting SMART Behavior-Based Goals

When you’re discussing goal setting, SMART has nothing to do with your intelligence. (But it is smart to use this technique!).

SMART is actually an acronym which represents the five necessary facets of setting goals, and if even one of them is omitted, your goals will be much harder to achieve.

So, let’s get into what SMART really means!

S — Specific

While behavior-based goals can be harder to quantify than outcome-based goals, by focusing on the specific behaviors that need development or strengthening, we can see that clearly defining these behaviors is possible.

For instance, “I will close or turn off all electronic notifications while working on this project”, is basically stating that the habit of becoming distracted will be curbed in order to achieve more productivity.

M — Measurable

To be effective, the road towards achieving a goal must be able to be measured.

In the example in the above paragraph, the measure would be how much more of the project one is able to accomplish by turning off all electronic notifications.

A — Attainable

You want your behavior-based goal to be attainable, i.e. not so overwhelming that you start out feeling as if you can’t do it. That defeats the entire purpose of the exercise.

Start off with smaller goals that you know you can achieve, such as positively changing one single habit, and focus on doing that consistently before attempting to change other habits.

Build on these small successes and before you know it, you’ll be achieving your big goals, as well!

R — Realistic

Set yourself up for success right from the beginning by setting goals that are realistic to your personality and your lifestyle.

Changing your behaviors to achieve a goal will never work if you aren’t realistic about who you are, what you’re capable of, and what you’re willing to do.

Start with easy behavior changes that are easy for you to accomplish, and fit your lifestyle and personality. Once you’ve mastered those, you can ramp up to changing behaviors that might be more challenging to you.

T — Time-Based

Giving yourself a time limit on achieving a specific behavior change can often spur more action toward that goal. But there’s a fine line between too little and too much time.

Changing behavior patterns often takes time, so make sure that you’ve accounted for this.

By using the SMART acronym when setting behavior based goals, you’ll find yourself much more likely to achieve them, and have measurable ways to check your progress!

So, what are you waiting for? Start setting your SMART behavior based goals today and see what a difference they can make to your life success.

Of course, you will certainly be aware that setting and achieving goals requires a lot of self-discipline, so if you want to learn about growing your own self-discipline then download the featured resource below which is a free report all about the power of self-discipline; download it, read it and take action 😊




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Jason Daly

Jason Daly

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