To accomplish all your goals focus on the process instead of the prize.
What do I mean by process?
You know the importance of goal setting. From early on you have been encouraged to set goals and work towards them.
Self-help books, blogs, articles, and master classes are devoted to coaching people how to set goals in a simple process.
They protest against setting unrealistic goals since you’re less likely to achieve them. Goals should be accurate and written on paper they claim.
What if I suggested that this approach doesn’t work in most instances?
Have I still got your attention? Great, let’s continue.
The reason goal setting alone is not conducive is because we have little knowledge of what our efforts are likely to produce.
What use is a goal if not effective? Doesn’t it defeat the purpose of setting goals?
Actor and filmmaker Woody Allen summed it perfectly when he said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
Irrespective of your religious faith the underlying message is, life never goes according to plan.
“I learned by observation that people who pursued extraordinarily unlikely goals were overly optimistic at best, delusional at worst, and just plain stupid most of the time,” affirms author and creator of the Dilbert comic strip Scott Adams in, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.
Enriching the lives of others is considered a valuable measure of selfless pursuit.
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”—Zig Ziglar
How you achieve this, depends on whether you align with a greater purpose. Some people pursue their purpose inspiring others such as Mother Teresa and Gandhi, who impacted humanity through their charitable work.
There is no single measure of what constitutes fulfilling goals other than how they make you feel.
The following principles are worth considering so the process of achieving goals becomes more important.
Don’t Be Fixed On The Destination
When you focus on the destination alone, you forgo the good things that take place in-between. You are wired to thrive. It is formed into your DNA to rise above your perceived limitations. I know it may not seem that way. Instead of being resentful of not reaching your destination, enjoy the process of working towards your goals. Before long, conditions will turn out better than expected if you shift your attention away from the outcome every once in a while.
Author Jeff Olson states in The Slight Edge: Secret to a Successful Life, “Here is the amazing thing—and I’ve seen this happen so many times, yet it never ceases to fill me with awe: when you set your goals, life has a way of rearranging itself, a series of events starts in motion that you could never have predicted or planned, to get you there.”
Take Your Eyes Off The Prize
Have you ever set a goal to lose weight with a fixed number in mind? Recall how you chose this figure? I’m certain you applied little logic other than knowing it felt right. What if you reframed the goal to become healthy instead? Would that place you in a better position to achieve your goal? You will be surprised to not only lose weight, but your health improves clearing up issues that plagued you for years.
There is a better way of achieving goals other than the usual methods espoused. The key is not being fixed on a particular result, but allowing the process to unfold in due course. Sadly, less than 10% of people reach their goals because excuses and life impedes attaining them. The message is simple, reframe your goals to become process orientated.
Author Larry Weidel states in, Serial Winner: 5 Actions to Create Your Cycle of Success. “I have watched so many people work so hard for a goal, putting in tremendous amounts of blood, sweat, and tears. And then, for one reason or another, they get overwhelmed and quit. The big disaster is that their personal investment is washed away and they never receive the benefit of all their hard work.”
Enjoy The Process
I attended a money management workshop some time ago with valuable insights. The presenter proposed spending money buying experiences instead of material objects. He reasoned, experiences leave an indelible mark on us and contribute to our long term happiness. They add to the rich tapestry of life as distinct to buying material objects. YouTube blogger Casey Neistat makes a point of devoting an entire episode to this principle in a recent video, What’s Most Important.
Applying this rule to goals, buy the process instead of the destination. Buy rewarding life experiences that support your goals, instead of being fixed on the result. A virtue of success is an inherent curiosity. It is a child-like fascination using your mind’s natural ability to find answers to questions. Be immersed in your surroundings and in the moments you may be too busy to notice. Invest in life and it will return wisely on your investment.
Don’t fall into the trap Vishen Lakhiani espouses, “Too many of us pursue goals we think will make us happy—only to wake up one day in our forties, wondering what on earth happened to us as we find ourselves stuck in uninspiring, boring, stagnant lives. How does this happen?”
Successful people are adaptable and know when to pivot to reach their goals. They are open to challenges and do not get trapped in dogmatic thinking.
Take your foot off the throttle every now and again and slip into cruise control. You will arrive at your destination, regardless. The speed at which you pursue your goals is not a measure of fulfillment.
Afterall, the journey becomes the process and life unfolds as you never thought possible.