While traveling to visit family during the holidays, I was reminded of a convenience that I often take for granted.
Rarely do I stop and think too much about driving to my intended destination with today’s technology. With a few simple clicks on my smartphone, I’m provided a detailed and mapped-out plan. Not only does utilizing my GPS prevent the stress of figuring out how to get to where I’m going, it also gives me options – the quickest route, the most scenic route, or even the route that just so happens to go right by my favorite coffee shop.
As long as we plug in our destination, we have a better chance at avoiding the stress of reading maps, asking for directions, or wrong turns along the way. We simply just follow the plan set before us.
As a health coach who spends most of my days helping others set, work toward, and eventually meet their wellness goals, I couldn’t ignore the similarities of needing a mapped-out plan to reach both a location destination and a health destination.
Achieving long-term goals without knowing how you are going to get there presents challenges, obstacles, and barriers much like the stops, missed turns, or roadblocks that show up when traveling without a plan. This is where the concept and implementation of process versus outcome goals can help achieve our health and wellness aspirations.
As we start out the new year, we’re likely focused on exciting (and sometimes, lofty) goals to improve aspects of our health. These big, thrilling, and long-term goals are the outcome or what we want to achieve.
An outcome goal should be something that motivates you, makes you excited, is specific, and is measurable. It should be the finish line and the ultimate benchmark in your health journey that signals you have reached your destination. A few examples could include:
1. Have a closer relationship with the Lord
2. Lose X amount of weight or X amount of inches from waist circumference
3. Run a 5K
4. Lower blood sugar and blood pressure to optimal levels
5. Reduce LDL cholesterol to optimal levels
6. Sleep 8 hours per night
Now that you have your health destination in sight, you need your road map and directions on how to get there. This is where “process goals” come into the picture. Process goals are exactly how they sound: they are the steps and building blocks to achieving your intended outcome goal. They break down that bigger outcome goal into bite-sized chunks that slowly, but surely, get you closer and closer to that final destination. A few examples that are directly tied to the outcome goals listed above include:
1. Spend X amount of devotion time with the Lord each day
2. Perform a full body strength training workout at least 2 times per week
3. Go for a 30-minute jog 3 days per week & log each workout completed on a calendar to monitor success and adherence
4. Adhere to a plant-forward dietary approach by eating 5-6 servings of vegetables each day
5. Limit saturated fat food sources to 1-2x/week (i.e. cheese & red meats)
6. Establish a bedtime routine with a set “lights out” time each night
Each of these listed process goals would get you closer and closer to your intended outcome goal as you adhere to them each week. They are now serving as your roadmap, compass, and GPS that will help you navigate your health journey and keep you on track to achieving your outcome goal!
Aiming for an outcome goal without process goals in place would be like knowing where you want to go, but having no directions to get there, so you just drive around aimlessly. You could end up traveling in the wrong direction of your intended destination and quite possibly get lost.
I encourage you to take a look at your health journey. Are you ready to plug that destination into the GPS to get started in the right direction? Do you have the proper tools set in place to ensure success as you embark on your journey toward better health? Do you have your final destination in mind as well as the roads you will need to take to get there?
If you are not sure where to start, take some time to think through and pray about your intended outcome goals and then break down those daily lifestyle choices you can make that will help you get one step closer to that outcome!
Ensure your journey is a success before you even take the first step by marking both process and outcome goals onto your wellness roadmap and if you are a Medi-Share Health Partner, be sure to utilize our health coaches to guide and encourage you along the way.