- To work out three times a week.
- To get in shape.
- To build muscle.
- To lose weight.
- To play basketball without getting winded.
- To fit into size-34 khakis.
- To bench-press 90kg.
- To lose 6kg before your high school reunion, which is June 15.
- To gain 10 pounds of solid muscle, put an inch on your arms, and have six-pack abs.
This is what’s called a process goal. You tell yourself you’re going to mess around with all that exercise equipment you bought, and whatever happens, happens. This is fine for guys who have trouble getting started or staying with it—which, in a country where only about 21 percent of the population exercises at least two times a week, includes almost everybody.
An outcome goal can be general or specific, and this particular one is about as general as you can get. Again, we aren’t knocking it. We do suggest you quickly move past this vague idea and define what you mean by “in shape.” Decide whether “shape” refers to the way you look (trim waist, wide shoulders, defined muscles), the way you feel (focused, energetic, confident), or the way you perform (able to play 3 sets of tennis on a hot day, hike 15km with your kids, hit the weights hard for 45 minutes four times a week).
Next: If your goal is to bench press 90kg, lose weight before your class reunion or look like a male model