Setting Goals: Making Behavior-Based Goals Work For You

Jason Daly
6 min readAug 27, 2021
setting goals

Nearly everyone knows about the importance of setting goals to achieve anything in their lives, but how many actually do it?

The problem is that we hear it so often that we tend to take it for granted and don’t really realise their effectiveness.

There are many different types of goals that you can use; SMART goals, DUMB goals and behavior based goals to name a few.

In this particular post we are going to focus on behavior based goals.

The easiest way to demonstrate the incredible effectiveness of behavior-based goals work when used in tandem with outcome-based goals is to give you a short narrative of someone utilizing both.

goal setting

To that end, let’s say we have a man named Dan who owns his own business and wants to secure three or four new clients each month in order to increase his business revenue.

Up until recently, Dan has relied heavily on word-of-mouth for advertising, and he’s done okay. In order to step it up a notch, he realizes he’ll have to do things he’s not very comfortable doing — things like attending networking events and cold-calling on businesses. Doing things that he’s not used to doing will call into play his self-discipline.

Dan is also aware that he is going to need to do these things repeatedly and consistently in order to secure the new business that will grow his business. For Dan, the fear of keeping his business at the same level, year after year, is more painful than stretching his skills to do the things he needs to do to secure that business growth.

In this situation, business growth is the quantifiable outcome-based goal. Increasing self-discipline and consistency are two of Dan’s behavior-based goals.

The outcome-based goal is the end-all-be-all goal. It’s the prize possession, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

But the habit-changing behavior-based goals are what will ensure Dan gets to the end of this particular rainbow (and beyond).

By strengthening his own self-discipline practice and learning to do things over and over again in a more consistent manner, he can accomplish things like attending networking events and giving out handshakes and business cards.

He’ll be able to sit down at his phone, and cold call businesses who likely need his services, and set up meetings with decision makers.

By combining the outcome-based goal with a few behavior-based goals, Dan has a much greater chance of actually achieving all of these. In turn, he will have developed his positive habits and skill sets, and that will serve him not only for this particular goal but in many different areas of his life, for many different goals.

why setting goals is important

Hopefully, this short narrative will have shown you the beauty of combining these two valuable ‘goal-setting and achieving’ techniques. Utilizing them both, your chances of success are much greater than using one of them alone.

Another way to increase the effectiveness of any goal setting strategy is to add rewards along the way.

Rewards will motivate you to keep going when you reach a particularly tough obstacle (and this will happen, guaranteed, and it also helps you to actually enjoy the journey to reaching your goal which so many people miss.

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So let’s take a closer look at how you can pair rewards and behavior based goals to dramatically increase your chances of success.

Rewards And Behavior-Based Goals

behavior based goals

Even when you are focusing on behavior-based goals, you want to start out by creating a goal that is more of a “big picture” — the end-of-the-rainbow scenario. One creative way to do this is to visualize what it is you want or need to come up with a picture that represents to you the outcome.

Practice bringing up this picture in your mind and get all of your senses involved. What types of sensory effects does this picture create for you? The more you can involve your entire brain in the process, the more realistic the big-picture goal will be.

When you’ve solidified your end goal, turn your attention to what types of actions you’ll need to take in order to secure that goal in your future.

What kinds of skills and habits will you need to form, or build, and of these, which seem inherently more difficult to you, being the unique person that you are?

setting goals

One of the scientifically proven ways to increase your success in achieving your goals is by giving yourself small rewards along the way. With regard to behavior-based goals, this might mean setting a goal where you practice a new habit for seven days, and if you succeed in that, you give yourself a small reward.

This process is much more realistic than simply setting a goal and expecting to motivate yourself through the time, energy, and work that it will take to achieve that goal. You are much more apt to keep your momentum if you know that, periodically, you’ll reward yourself for a job well done.

Rewarding yourself often will work in your favor, and will help you keep up the ambition and drive to reach the end goal, as well as keep up the positive habit changes while you’re getting there.

Sometimes half the fun of goal-setting is not only visualizing the end goal but thinking of creative ways to give yourself rewards along the way. Some people enjoy monetary rewards, and others might be more motivated by taking some time just for themselves in a favorite quiet place. One person might want a night out on the town, while another might reward themselves with learning a new skill. To each their own but utilizing a reward system while continuing to develop behavior-based goals can work in all areas of one’s life, whether it is business, relationships, health, or personal development!

And having a strong mindset is critical to any attempt to staying disciplined and motivated to achieve your goals, so click on the featured resource below to get a free report on how to develop a strong mindset. Download, it read and take action 🙂

goal setting theory