In the journey of life, setting long-term goals is akin to charting a course for a meaningful and fulfilling voyage. These goals act as beacons, guiding us through the complexities of life’s choices and challenges. To understand and effectively set long-term goals, it’s crucial to comprehend the concepts of outcome and process goals, as well as the dual forces of internal and external motivation.

Outcome Goals: The “What” of Aspirations

Outcome goals are the tangible, concrete objectives we aim to achieve in the long run. These are often the “what” of our aspirations – buying a house, attaining a certain position in a career, or achieving financial independence. They are the milestones that are easily quantifiable and often socially recognized.

However, outcome goals, while clear and motivating, depend significantly on external factors that may not always be in our control. This uncertainty necessitates the balance of outcome goals with process goals and a deep understanding of our motivations.

Process Goals: The “How” of Achieving Dreams

Process goals, on the other hand, are about the journey, the “how” of achieving our dreams. They involve the daily, weekly, or monthly steps we take to reach our outcome goals. This could include developing specific skills, building networks, or adopting healthy habits.

The beauty of process goals lies in their controllability. Unlike outcome goals, they are less dependent on external circumstances and more on personal efforts and persistence. By focusing on process goals, we create a roadmap that guides us towards our outcome goals, making the journey more manageable and less daunting.

Internal vs External Motivation: The “Why” Behind Goals

The driving force behind our goals can be broadly categorized into internal and external motivation. Internal motivation comes from within – it’s driven by personal values, interests, and desires for self-fulfillment. Pursuing a career because you love the work or striving to learn a new language for personal enrichment are examples of internal motivation.

External motivation, in contrast, is driven by external factors – societal expectations, rewards, recognition, or pressure. This includes pursuing a high-paying job primarily for financial security or societal status.

While both forms of motivation are valid and often intertwined, a sustainable and fulfilling goal-setting approach ideally finds a balance between the two. Over-reliance on external motivation can lead to a lack of fulfillment, burnout and dropout if those external rewards are delayed or not met. Internal motivation, rooted in personal values and passions, often leads to greater satisfaction and resilience in the face of challenges. At KOHR golf we attempt to educate and inspire students to begin to connect with their external goals for this very reason.

Integrating Outcome, Process Goals, and Motivation

The most effective long-term goal setting involves integrating outcome and process goals, fueled by a blend of internal and external motivation. This holistic approach ensures that while we strive for tangible achievements, we also find joy and fulfillment in the everyday process of working towards these goals.

For example, if your outcome goal is to become a successful entrepreneur, your process goals might include developing business skills, networking, and learning about your industry. The motivation could be a mix of internal drive (passion for your field, desire for personal growth) and external factors (financial success, recognition).


Long-term life goals are not just about the destination but also about the journey. By understanding and balancing outcome and process goals, and recognizing the sources of our motivation, we can set a course for a life that is not only successful by external standards but also deeply fulfilling on a personal level. Remember, the most rewarding goals are those that resonate with both our inner desires and the realities of the world we live in.

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