The Importance of Process Goals

Achieving Goals, Career Enrichment, Confidence, Leadership Coaching, Mindset & Mindfulness, Productivity
06/24/22 - Brooke McCord

“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why Are Goals Important

It sounds simple, but goals help you achieve things. They give you a focus, a direction, a vision of how you want your life to be. They can be larger, like finding a job you’re passionate about. Or they can be smaller, like getting into the gym 3 times per week (which isn’t always a small thing). All goals, larger and smaller, help move you in a direction that you want to go.

I’ve been taking a leadership course through Cornell, and one of the topics was centered around how to get things done. When we think about getting things done, we tend to focus on the outcome, but not on the process. What I learned through my course was that process goals (or intermediate, in-between goals) are key to achieving your overall goals.

What Are Process Goals

Process goals are mini goals that are markers of your overall goals to help you stay on track. They are there to measure the effort that you are putting into achieving your overall goal. Let’s use the goal of getting into the gym as an example. In this instance, a process goal could be waking up at 6 am to be able to get into the gym before work. The point of the process goal is to support the overall main goal.

Tips For Setting Process Goals

  • They should be attainable, but challenging: your process goals should move you forward. If they’re too challenging, you might never begin. 
  • Make them specific: take all the guesswork out of what you’re trying to accomplish, when, and how.
  • Create accountability: talk to a friend about your goals. An American Society of Training and Development study found that you have a 65% increase of achieving a goal if you tell someone.
  • Have a method of feedback, such as a tracker: this allows you to know what happened if you didn’t achieve your overall goal. Example: You know you didn’t make it to the gym because you didn’t wake up at 6 am most mornings, as seen on your tracker.

We tend to focus on the outcome, but not on the process. Process goals are what allows you to get to where you want to go and understand what went wrong if you didn’t achieve your overall goal.

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