Performance Goals


Goal target

Performance Goals


Performance goals vs. Outcome goals

When linked to long term goals (lifetime or Capstone), provisional goals are best written as performance goals versus outcome goals.  Performance goals focus on the person performance while outcome goals focus strictly on the outcome or result. 

Performance is what the person controls while outcomes are frequently controlled by others.  Unfortunately, outcome goals do not take into account how well a person performed.  Goals based on outcomes are extremely vulnerable to failure because of things beyond your control.

Effective provisional goals focus on performance, not outcome.

A person may have an outstanding performance and not win a contest because other people have performed even better.  Conversely, a person may perform poorly and still win if all others perform at a lower level.  If a person’s goal is to run the 100m race in 12.2 seconds, the person has greater control in achieving this goal than winning.  However, the person has even greater control of achieving a goal if the goal is to run using the correct form, driving the knees through the entire race.  This performance goal ultimately gives the person more control over his/her performance.

When possible set performance goals, not outcome goals.  Make sure you set goals over which you have as much control as possible.  There is nothing more discouraging than failing to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control.  These could be bad business environments, poor judging, bad weather, injury, or just plain bad luck.  If you base your goals on personal performance, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals and draw satisfaction from them.  For example, you might achieve a personal best time in a race, but still finish fifth as a result of a poor judging decision.  If you had set an outcome goal of being in the top three, then this will be a defeat.  If you set a performance goal of achieving a particular time, then you will have achieved the goal and can draw satisfaction and self-confidence from its achievement.


Performance Goal Outcome Goal
Run the 100m race in 12.2 seconds Win first place in the contest
Make contact with opponent and block out after the shot Get the rebound
Sprint after balls coming into play Get to the ball first and control it




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