Performance vs Outcome Goals: The Role of Each in Productive Goal Setting

Goal setting is a tool people have been using to achieve hard things for a long time. But as more and more studies about goal setting are released, the more types of goals there are to learn about. Today we’ll be talking about Outcome Goals and Performance Goals and why we need both of them. 


First things first, let’s take a look at some working definitions.


Outcome Goal: 

Outcome goals focus on the final point of an event. For example: winning a game or booking a job. These goals depend on not only how you perform, but how those around you perform, or (in the case of booking a job) what casting has in mind. 

You can perform to the best of your ability and still may not achieve your outcome goal. That’s why it is so important to have other goals that support this goal to help keep you focused. 


Performance Goal:

Performance goals do outline the end product of a performance, but they are mostly focused around personal acheivements and therefore compared to previous performances. 


For example: Consistently nailing a triple pirouette with a clean landing. Or, achieving higher extensions and easier kicks.


These goals are generally a bit more flexible and within your control. Bonus, statistically speaking, these types of goals are associated with less anxiety and greater performance when compared to outcome goals. 



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So, practically speaking:

You may have an outcome goal of being cast in “A Chorus Line.” 

You might then have a performance goal of nailing the turn combo in the audition combo. 


Now, there is a third type of goal called a Process Goal that can help us achieve performance goals.

Process goals are focused on improving the strategy, form, and anything else needed to achieve performance goals. 


So, using our earlier example. If you’re performance goal is to nail that turn combo, a process goal may be working on maintaining a stable and neutral spine in a forced-arch-passé. 


As you can see, each of these types of goals work together to help you acheive your desired outcome goals. Keeping this in mind when you are goal-setting will only help you on your journey.


Now, if you really want to start achieving your goals write them down. 

Studies have shown that people who write down their goals were 33% more successful in achieving them than those who only set goals in their heads. 

Want to take it a step further? More studies have shown that 76% of participants who not only wrote down their goals (all three types), but also provided weekly progress updates to a friend, successfully achieved their goals. 


This shows the importance of accountability in goal setting. Having someone you trust to report your progress to is an incredible motivator. This person is not only there to be reported to, but also to encourage you when the work toward your goals starts to feel long and arduous. 



A Challenge for You…

Take a moment right now and write down two of your outcome goals. 

Now, write down one or two performance goals that might help you reach those outcome goals. 

Next, write down two or three process goals  that will help you acheive your performance goals. 

Finally, (and this is the hardest part) write down someone you trust to be accountable to each week.  Make sure you ask them if they are able to be this person for you. 


Having trouble with the last one? If you’re a member of Dancers Who Lift, ask your trainer if they can be that person for you and add it to your weekly check-in. 


Not a member of Dancer’s Who Lift, but don’t have anyone to be your accountability buddy? Reach out to us at or on instagram or Tiktok @dancerswholift. If we aren’t able to help, we’d love to connect you with someone who can!  

Ready to dive right into accountability? Check out our Body Mechanics program. Not only will you have access to trainers for accountability, but also the entire Dancers Who Lift community of dancers working together to reach their individual goals. 


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