Jul 12, 2023 | General Interest

Planing tasks and goals

Process-Oriented Goals


Goals can be challenging! Setting and achieving goals can often be overwhelming, and while traditional goal setting may seem clear and motivating, for many that is not the case. Setting a goal with a specific outcome, when not met, can make individuals feel like a failure and unmotivated in staying consistent with achieving their goal. Therefore, we would like to chat about process-oriented goals and how this method might be more encouraging and successful for those with Autism, ADHD, ADD, or anxiety

What are process-oriented goals? 

Process-oriented goals can best be described as goals that focus on the actions, behaviours, and processes that will help eventually lead to the desired outcome. These types of goals are more about the journey, than they are about the destination. Whereas outcome-oriented goals focus on the end result, process-orientated goals prioritize the steps that will lead to success. 

Why they are helpful 

There are several reasons why process-oriented goals are helpful to those who find outcome-oriented goals challenging or frustrating. Here are some examples: 

Focus on actions 

Since process-oriented goals emphasize specific actions and behaviours that you need to take to make progress, they shift your attention to the aspects that you can control in relation to your efforts. This makes it easier to stay focused on the steps along the way, rather than the bigger outcome.  

Can be measured 

We all like to feel like we have achieved something and have taken measurable actions to meet our desired goal. When using process-oriented goals, you can track and monitor the progress you have made and make the needed adjustments along your journey. For example, rather than setting a goal like “write a book by January 4, 2024” consider a goal like “write for one hour every day for the next six months.” This goal seems more manageable as it breaks the larger goal into something smaller and more achievable. 

Encourages motivation 

When you break down larger goals into more bite sized process-oriented goals, you will have more immediate success. This will result in maintaining motivation and momentum. By achieving smaller goals along the way, you gain a sense of accomplishment, which helps diminish feelings of inadequacy and failure.  

Are flexible 

Process-oriented goals encourage flexibility and adaptability. Since they can be adjusted based on your progress, you will gain a better understanding of what needs to be changed to achieve the overall goal. You can also assess your progress and make the necessary adjustments in the process-oriented steps to help you achieve your final goal. 

Process orientated goals can have several benefits including the following: 

  • Shifts focus away from the outcomes, and to the present moment where actions are more within your control. 
  • Provides sense of control by empowering individuals as they work towards the desired outcome. 
  • Reduces overwhelm by breaking tasks into manageable tasks. 
  • Encourages accomplishment as you complete each step and move close toward your end goal. 

Just like with any goal, it is important to be realistic and kind to yourself along the journey to success.  

Adjust your goals as needed and be sure to keep in mind that progress is much more important than protection. Remember to celebrate your successes along the way, be patient with yourself, and give yourself the space and time needed to achieve your end goal.

Learn more on this topic

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