Outcome vs Process Goals

Have you heard about SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound) goals? That’s usually all you hear about this time of year! Of course it’s important for your goals to be SMART, or smart, for that matter!

boutcome vs process

What about outcome vs process goals?

Outcome Goals
Outcome goals are the end result you’re looking for. They’re proverbial marathon, not the sprint! Examples of Outcome goals:

  1. Run a PR at __________ distance
  2. Run a faster 5k
  3. Run without walking breaks

Outcome goals motivate us in a big way. The problem with outcome goals? They are usually things we don’t have total control over. We’ve all trained hard for a particular race or distance only to come up short on race day. That’s why runners say that you never know what race day will hand you. That’s why we try to train for the things we think race day will hand us, but we’ve all had races where unexpected things went wrong that no amount of training could have prepared us for.

Process Goals
This is exactly where process goals come in. These are goals that we can control.

Let’s take the outcome goal of running a particular race without taking walking breaks. The process goals are relatively simple:

  • Start with organized run/walk intervals
  • Gradually begin to increase your run interval and shorten your walk interval
  • Practice running shorter distances with no walk breaks at all when you think you’re ready
  • Gradually begin to increase your runs with no walking until you know you can run the distance without walking
  • Give yourself peace of mind by going further than the race distance (depending on how long it is, there is the law of diminishing returns, so if you’re training for a marathon, running beyond that distance opens you up to injury or illness — although there are those that swear by always running longer than the race distance)

There could be a lot of other process goals in that list: hire a coach; find a training plan that suits your desired outcome; make sure you have a solid base before training for your race; do running drills; strength train; make sure you work in rest days; make sure you leave yourself extra training time in case of injury or illness.

By now you’re probably thinking of some outcome goals for 2021, and what process goals will move you towards that outcome.

I admit I’ve struggled with enjoying the journey sometimes. I love to tick things off a list though! I look forward to exploring outcome goals vs process goals more. — Chocolaterunsjudy

Final Thoughts
We hear all the time that it’s the journey, not the destination. Of course outcomes are fantastic when we achieve them, but they can be oh-so-elusive, too.

There is a lot of satisfaction — and ease of mind! — in ticking off all your process goals. You will know that you did your very best. You will feel proud of every step you took towards your goal. You will feel a sense of accomplishment, whether or not you manage to meet your outcome goal.

ICYMI: I’ve covered Who & What in the Yin Yoga FAQ; now it’s time to explain when you should practice, which you’ll here.  If you have a question, drop it in the comments and I’ll cover it — eventually!

What outcome goals are you working on?

Have you thought about the process goals you need to complete to achieve your outcome goal? 

Or would you rather not think and just run? 


Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.


The Trick to Reaching Your Goals


A new year is all about new goals, right? Or maybe it’s just about the same goals but in a new year. Once you set those goals — how do you reach them?  There’s lots of talk about SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound).

I think the secret to your goals is even easier: baby steps.


Take baby steps
You heard me: break your goal down into very small steps. Once you’ve done that, if you’re still having trouble working towards your goal, it just means your steps aren’t small enough. You need to break them down even more.

Getting to the starting line is just the final steps in many baby steps

Let’s break down a race goal
Of course you’ll train differently for a 5k than you would for a marathon, but the basic steps to carry you to your goal are the same:

  • Pick a race and register for it.
  • If your race involves travel, book those plane tickets and make the hotel reservations. Early. Earlier than you think you need to do. I like to make sure my hotel has a refrigerator and microwave for those early race morning breakfasts (and leftovers!).
  • Get fitted for the proper shoes.
  • Either hire a coach or find a training plan (online, in a magazine, in a book, make your own).
  • Figure out when you have to start training for the race. I like to add in a couple of extra weeks to my training plan — life happens.
  • Put all the workouts on your calendar. This could be a digital calendar or a physical calendar — or both! Share with training buddies or significant others so they know when you will be available (or unavailable).
  • Also put any big events you’re aware of during your training period on your calendar. Think about how that event will effect your training. Decide how you’ll juggle the event with your training.
  • Make sure to book support appointments in advance: massages, chiropractic, fitness trainer.
  • Will you need a fresh pair of running shoes before the race? When will you buy them? Don’t wait til the last minute only to find out they’re not available in your size!
  • Test out your shoe, clothing, accessories like fuel belts or hydration vests, nutrition (if necessary), and hydration choices on your long (or longer, if the race is a shorter distance) runs.
  • Test out your pre-and post run meals on your long runs. If you’re traveling, look to see if you’ll be able to get similar meals near where you’re staying. What will you do if there are no tried and true options for you at local restaurants? If you’re staying local and you want to eat at a particular restaurant, consider making a reservation for that pre-race meal.
  • As the race nears, decide on your goals: finish with a smile on your face, run with a friend, crush a PR, enjoy the views? It’s your race, but knowing what you want out of it going into it can help you have a good time.

There are so many decisions that can go into a race, especially if you’re traveling for that race. There are so many steps to training. It can seem overwhelming in the beginning. Breaking down a large goal into easily doable steps will make it seem more doable, less frightening.

Breaking down a large goal into easily doable steps will take out so much of the pre-race anxiety and get you to the starting line feeling prepared. — Chocolaterunsjudy

Final thoughts: It works for all goals
Breaking a large goal into baby steps is the trick for reaching any goal: running, weight loss, career, getting stronger, getting more flexible. You name it and you can baby step your way to it.

Do you make goals and then never think about how to get to them? How does that make you feel?

What baby steps would you add to training for a race?

What are your goals — for 2020, for this month, this week? Please share!


Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup


8 Tips that really create new habits


We are almost one month into 2019. How are your goals coming along? Do you even remember what your goals were? Are you struggling to stick to those goals?

Even if you love to run, there are probably parts of running that you wish you did better . . . or did at all! It’s so tempting to just run. And some runners can. And some runners can’t.

I hope that you find a tip here that makes it easier to create a new habit you’ve been struggling with.

I would not be out that early without my accountability buddies!

Find an accountability buddy
It’s easy to give up on goals when we’re not being held accountable. Sometimes it’s easy to let things slide when you only have to answer to yourself.

But what if you had a friend holding you accountable? Or a spouse? They don’t have to have the same goal as you. They actually don’t even have to have any goal at all, but it works better if you’re both trying to achieve some kind of goal.

If you know someone is waiting for you, aren’t you more likely to stop procrastinating and get there to meet up with your friend?

Do the hard thing first
Are you struggling with making foam rolling a habit? Try doing it before you run. Or even first thing in the morning. It’s easy to blow it off after your workout when you’re tired or just don’t have the time. This goes for anything that you know you should do, but just never seem to get around to.

Create a trigger
This is an ‘if that, then this’ situation: if that happens, then this must happen next. Do you want to become a morning runner? Set up a trigger for yourself. Maybe it’s “if I eat breakfast, then I get into my workout clothes”. Or “if I drink coffee, then I go for a run”.

Ditch all or nothing thinking
If you run a long race, what do you think about in the beginning: how many miles you have to run, or running the mile you’re in? And as those miles keep ticking off, do you think about how many more miles you need to run, or the miles you’ve already run?

If you’re trying to create a habit and you miss a day — are you really going to throw the baby out with the bath water? Instead of thinking “what’s the use, I’ve already blown it” think “I’ve managed to do _______ for 10 days, I can get right back to doing it”.

Give  yourself a star
Buy or make a calendar. Write down the habit you’re trying to create (and when you will do it) for every day for the next month. And give yourself a gold star on that calendar every time you complete your new habit.

I know, I know, it seems childish. And maybe it is. But you know what? It also works!

Get techie
Can’t be bothered to buy a calendar and gold stars? Your phone can help you create new habits, too. Yes, there’s an app for that. In fact, there are lots of apps for that. Just search on “habit tracker”. The best apps will remind you to take action.

Want to eat a healthy breakfast? Make it up the night before so it’s grab & go!

Make it easy
Creating new habits is hard. If it were easy, there probably wouldn’t be an app for that. Whatever habit you’re trying to create — make it easy:

  • Want to become a morning runner? Lay out your clothes and gear the night before. If you need coffee, set it up on a timer if you have a coffee maker that has one. Otherwise get everything ready so all you have to do is press a button in the morning. Make sure everything is charged before you go to bed.
  • Want to start journaling your runs? Put your journal (with a pen) wherever you will see it first thing when you come in from your run — or even journal in your car before you go home.
  • Need to foam roll? Same thing as above — make sure it’s the first thing you see when you get back from your run (or before you go out on your run).
  • Want to start actually eating something in the morning instead of skipping breakfast? Make a smoothie the night before and have it in a blender bottle in your fridge. Buy (or make) oatmeal cups so all you have to do is add water and microwave. Put scrambled eggs in a mason jar so all you have to do is warm them up.

And don’t forget to start small
If you run a long race, what do you think about in the beginning: how many miles you have to run, or running the mile you’re in? And as those miles keep ticking off, do you think about how many more miles you need to run, or the miles you’ve already run?

If you’re trying to create a habit and you miss a day — are you really going to throw the baby out with the bath water? Instead of thinking “what’s the use, I’ve already blown it” think “I’ve managed to do _______ for 10 days, I can get right back to doing it”.

Talk to me:

What goal are you struggling with?

Have you broken it down into small steps?

What goal are you acing?


Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup


Can you be content . . .


. . . with failure?

Content: satisfied with what one has; not wanting more or anything else.

If you read my blog, the answer would seem self evident: I am not content with failure. Not content with being BOTP, not content with races where my training doesn’t seem to pay off, not content when I’m dealt a bad weather hand . . . shall we go on?

And when I do fail (and I will), I certainly don’t fall into the not wanting more or anything else.

It makes me sound like the a true grinch, doesn’t it? An angry, negative person? I hope my friends would set you straight, because I don’t consider myself to be that person.

My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.— Abraham Lincoln

Failure must be an option
When you’ve got astronauts trapped in outer space, I get it — you have to figure out a way to get them back. When it comes to racing, however, you’re going to fail. Probably over and over and over again.

Every failure is a step to success. — William Whewell

Even if you start running and everything is great, the PRs keep rolling in, you’re injury free — at some point the tables will turn. Maybe you get injured. Maybe your hard training doesn’t net you a PR. Maybe you fall out of love with running.

What you do next can make or break your running success. Do you hang up your running shoes and never race again? Do you stop running altogether? Do you just content yourself with past glories and assume your glory years are over?

Or do you dig deep and continue to race, continue to train, knowing that some day, some way, the training will pay off.

I hope it’s the latter. I had many running failures (as far as races are concerned). Disappointing race after disappointing race. Injury. Yet I kept at it, with no PRs, no AG awards — and then the PRs did start rolling in.

Every disappointing race was just a step towards success.

There were a lot of disappointing halfs before this PR, just like there were a lot of tries at getting to a healthy weight before I could get to a place where I’ve been able to maintain a healthy weight.

It’s not a failure if you are content to keep trying
The only way we learn and grow is if we are not content with failure (sorry, Abe). Our biggest growth does come from our failures, because we learn from them and they build mental toughness.

I’m not suggesting that you need to be content with failure — seriously, who ever crossed the finish line of a bad race and say “go me!”. It’s okay to be disappointed and frustrated. Just channel that into motivating you to continue — but not so much that you over train and burn out or injure yourself. Be content with the knowledge that better races are out there for you.

It’s a brand new year for me. I have yet to race in 2018.  I have dreams and goals, but one thing I know for sure:

Whether or not my goals are achieved this year, I will believe that every failure is a stepping stone to a future success. I believe (there’s that 2018 word — do you remember yours?) that failures will happen, that I will learn from my failures, and that I will be content with the journey and in the knowledge that my failures will ultimately lead me towards even greater successes.
— Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy

Deb Runs

I am linking up with Debruns and her Wednesday Word

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.


This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup


Tell me in the comments:

Are you content with the journey?

Do you believe it’s possible to be content with the failures?

Not on your journey


It seems like a stretch that lost could go with comparison, but, in a way, once I saw the quote above, it does.

We discussed comparison a while ago, remember? As in it’s the thief of joy.

And everyone is on their own journey, as they say. It doesn’t mean they’re lost. It doesn’t mean you’re lost. It means, quite simply, that there can be many different paths to the same destination

Higdon. Hansons. Gallloway. Paleo. Vegan. Mediterrean..

There is no right or wrong way, there is only a right or wrong way for you.

And you are only lost when you cling to something that is not working or abandon something that is working for you in favor of something that is working for someone else.

Never regret anything you have done with a sincere affection; nothing is lost that is born of the heart.
–Basil Rathbone

Sometimes we feel as though we are lost:

  • We feel that we are unloveable
  • We can’t seem to make progress no matter how hard we work at something
  • We feel invisible
  • We don’t know which way to turn

The truth is always inside of us; it is never truly lost. We have to stop, breathe, and listen to what our heart is telling us.

Every day you spend drifitng away from your goals is a waste not only of that day, but also of the additional day it takes to regain lost ground.
–Ralph Marston

 I hope after reading this you spend a little time thinking about what goal you really want to go after — and just do it!

Deb Runs

Talk to me! Tell me in the comments:

Do you ever feel lost?

Do you start a new program because someone else is having success with it?

What goal are you working towards today?

It’s not the size of the dream . . .

. . . it’s the size of the dreamer

Okay, I gotta admit, what does that mean? What difference does the size of the dreamer make? Seriously, isn’t the size of the dream really the important thing? One of my favorite quotes from Inception (a fascinating movie if you haven’t seen it) is “you musn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling”.

I used this quote as my title, though, because if you’ve missed it, I’m vertically challenged (short!). My Dad always likes to say that good things come in little packages.


What is a dreamer but a planner with big dreams? Seriously?!

Yes, I am definitely a dreamer. Or is that a planner? Seriously, what is the difference?

I loved the quote from Mark Twain — because I do consider myself to be an optimist, mostly — are optimists automatically dreamers?

I’m big into visualization, and if that’s not dreaming in disguise, what is it? Am I visualizing a race before I run it (I do), or am I simply dreaming about it?

I suppose that the real difference is that visualization happens while you’re awake, and dreaming can happen while you’re asleep. But then there are day dreams. Like so much of life, it’s a fine line, isn’t it?

A dream by any other name . ..

Is my dream to run a half in every state just that: a dream? A wish? A goal?

I think of myself not just as a dreamer, but as a dream chaser.
–Sarah Brightman

Yes, Sarah, yes. I do chase my dreams, and not just in running. I dreamed about being an artist, but decided to chase my dream of being a graphic designer instead, and in an unconventional way, too.

You can’t keep a good dreamer down!

Be a dreamer. If you don’t know how to dream, you’re dead.
–Jim Valvano


My irony is that I am an optimist, a goal chaser, a day dreamer — and yet, I rarely remember my actual dreams. But being a dreamer isn’t really about our dreams; it’s about reaching for the stars and not letting anyone discourage us from doing so.

Do you remember your dreams?

Do you consider yourself to be a dreamer?

What are you dreaming about right now?

Deb Runs

Come dream with us and join us in the Wednesday Word linkup