By James Governale
As a health practitioner, you're aware that a major component for addressing a health concern is goal setting. There's a societal draw to being goal-driven and focusing on the achievement of goals - some will embrace this and others not as much. So what can you do when you come across someone who shuns the idea of setting goals or resolutions for themselves?
Did you know that there's also a current movement that embraces process orientation as a valid method to partake in feeling successful. As a health practitioner, I turn to the growing discourse within the health field around setting goals and how to distinguish the terminology accordingly. Conventional terminology states that goals fall into two categories: process-oriented goals and outcome-oriented goals.
What are process-oriented goals?
Process-oriented goals are activities or tasks that one takes to make progress toward a particular concern. The fundamental idea is to approach the goal-setting in a way that it creates building blocks for healthy habits. The habit takes shape by setting process-oriented goals, which allows the client to continually progress toward the desired outcome. Completion of each process-oriented goal can be viewed as a success in and of itself, while contributing to a larger goal. Allowing the client to feel the benefits of what it's like to succeed becomes integral to building confidence and keeping the client motivated.
Process-oriented goals often come in the form of answering the question: "What is something I can do right now toward my goal?" These kind of goals can be measurable and time-based, as in setting up daily or weekly tasks for an aspect of the health concern. Process-oriented goals can help move the client into feeling more active. They are clear, doable goals that a client can take immediately.
What are outcome-oriented goals?
Simply stated, an outcome-oriented goal is a larger goal. It's a goal that describes the end result of what the client wants. Outcome-oriented goals come in the form of statements like: "I want to have ______" or "I want to be better at ______." They are broad and speak to the improved condition that the client would like to be living. Such statements are most effective when posed affirmatively, rather than using words like "don't" or "not" within the stated goal.
Outcome-oriented goals are like aspirations that can expand the horizon and push the client out of his comfort zone. They can be inspiring and motivating for the client to set his sights on the big picture. On the flip-side, they can be overwhelming and daunting, if there's a perception that progress isn't being made toward them. This is a key area where the client will need to take accurate inventory of his efforts and the progress he's making.
So, what do you think? Do certain clients come to mind when you think of process or outcome orientation? What kind of balance do you strike for yourself?