Goals need to be action-based, not outcome-based. The actions you take are entirely within your control; the outcome is not.
It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not weakness, that is life.
— Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek
Ali Abdaal in his newsletter post The Spectrum of Control that there are three levels of goals, each with varying amounts of control that you have in their success:
- Input Goals. Goals that are specifically based on how much you put into
something. For example:
- Spend 30 minutes reading every day
- Go to the gym 4 times a week
- Output Goals. These are about measurable results. For example:
- Writing a certain number of words each day
- Hitting your step count
- Outcome Goals. This is usually what people actually want. For example:
- Getting a million followers on Twitter
- Being famous
- Creating that beach body
As you work down that list, the amount of direct control you have over that type of goal significantly drops. In general, avoid Outcome Goals in favour of Output Goals, and avoid Output Goals in favour of Input Goals. The more control you have over a goal, the more likely you are to be able to hit that goal.