July is all about Goals.
In this week's focus, learn why the process is more important than the goal.
We are midway through the summer months, which is a good time to evaluate how your year is going. Are you where you hoped you’d be this time last year? What about 6 months ago, when you made your annual resolutions? Are you halfway there?
This midpoint in the calendar is a time for reflection: are you where you want to be?
This month, we’re taking a look at goals. The importance of them, how to set them, and how to reach them. Perhaps the most important lesson is the one we’ll learn this week: the unimportance of the actual goal.
It’s Not About the Goal
We so often get excited about pursuing new goals—starting a new business, losing weight, earning a degree—that, initially, seem like a wonderful path towards success. But, just as often, these goals don’t get accomplished, leading to a sense of frustration and disappointment.
These goals we create for ourselves help us reach what we believe to be a metric of success. They give us direction.
But goals only account for one point in time. Achieving your goal only changes your life in that moment, leaving you with a temporary fix or outcome. Once you’ve reached your goal, then what? Are you fulfilled, or left needing more? Or, what if you don’t reach the goal? How devastated do you become without that end result?
The goal itself is the compass. It’s what directs us to where we want to go.
It is not the end result, though. It’s simply a means to get to our end result. The goal is meant to guide us all along the way, but it is not the way.
Use your goal to steer you, then pour all of your energy into the process.
It’s All About the Process
This is perhaps the greatest lesson to learn about goals. It’s not about the goal or the end result; it’s all about getting there.
Goals are improvements. They are our own made up markers; they are as valuable as the improvements they bring to our life. They are also only temporary. The lasting result is when the intended goal becomes a part of who you are.
It’s the improvements you pick up along the way towards reaching your goal that bring lasting, sustainable benefits.
The joy comes in the process itself.
By spending all your efforts focusing on the end result, you spend your time frustrated, bored, angry, and impatient. But when you focus your attention on the process itself—the path that gets you to the goal—you find that you’re exactly where you should be. Your energy and effort are realigned and refocused to the present, to the process. You’re much more able to find the joy all around you; it's that joy that brings forth progress.
Choose your goal and commit to it, with absolute conviction. Then, leave it.
Turn all your focus on the path forward. Be ever-present on your journey and committed to where you are in the moment. This—the process—is what ultimately matters above all else on the path you take towards your goal.