I’m often asked to clarify the difference between a performance goal and an outcome goal. This distinction is so important, it can make the difference between your achieving goals or not.

Most of us have learned over the years to set goals that have a specific outcome – like make $100,000 this year, lose 20 pounds or increase team performance by 25%. There’s only one problem with these statements, and it is a serious problem.

None of these goals are actually within your control.

They all speak to desired outcomes – what you would like to have happen – but not to what you can make happen. The goals you can make happen because you have control are what we call ‘performance goals’. You control your own performance and therefore control whether or not you achieve your goal.

Yes, making money, losing weight or increasing team performance can still be your ‘desired outcome’, but it cannot be a goal.

So, the phrase ‘make $100,000 this year’ becomes ‘attend 20 networking events every month’ as that particular activity makes it more likely to secure clients to achieve the desired outcome of $100,000.

‘Lose 20 pounds’ becomes ‘go to the gym 3 times per week’, which will of course make losing weight more likely.

And ‘increase team performance by 25%’ becomes ‘learn and develop a leadership style that is proactive and inclusive’, which – you guessed it – makes increased team performance more likely.

Action – The main difference between an outcome goal and a performance goal is your degree of control. Create goals that are within your control and you will ALWAYS feel like you are creating results, whether the desired outcome is achieved or not.