Reaching the Goal Line
Goals. We all have them. Ever wonder why some people are more successful at meeting their goals than others? Without systems, processes and procedures in place, our goals are only dreams. Here I’ll look at how shifting your attention away from the goal and onto the systems may get better results.
It’s already March and time to check in on the resolutions we made in the New Year. Feeling bad about the ones you have yet to achieve? Perhaps it’s because setting goals could possibly be counter-intuitive to actually reaching them. It’s the commitment to the process and system that will make real lasting changes.
We are genetically programmed to be more forward looking and goal pursuing than systems oriented. This leads many of us to be discontent in the here and now until we meet a goal in the future. What if we turned our attention to the process rather than the goal? I think you will be surprised that you will be more focused, confident and happier with the outcome.
Let’s compare a goal-orientated athlete versus a systems-orientated athlete as an example. If the goal-orientated athlete does not make a personal best, break a record or have a great training day they may view themselves as a failure. They identify their self-worth with the win and not everyone can win all the time.
On the other hand, take the systems-oriented athlete. Every win or loss is analyzed from the systems perspective. What can I improve? What could I have done differently? A small win in an overall training session becomes a confident booster, while a small obstacle becomes an item for improvement. It becomes more about the process today than the end result tomorrow.
There are several benefits of focusing on the process and not the immediate goal. By committing to process you will:
Gain more confidence
Goals have a funny way of telling us “I am not good enough yet." I’m not saying that a vision is unimportant; however, focusing on the goal may not be the way to actually reaching that goal. Take the goal of losing 10 lbs. If I were to focus on the scale everyday, I would probably be overwhelmed and feel bad about myself. If I shift my attention to the process and have a system in place to eat healthier and go to the gym, I will likely find that as I accomplish the baby steps I will feel good about myself and therefore gain confidence and become more engaged in the journey.
Have more control and adjust goals according
Circumstances change and therefore having a goal over our head may not be realistic. We may feel like a failure when our journey is actually leading us elsewhere. Instead, why not be introspective and seek feedback on what is working? Judge the process not the outcome and allow your goals to be fluid. Judging the process will allow us to adjust our goals and methods of reaching them as we are provided with more information along the way.
Be happier with the long-term outcome
Ever meet a goal such as running a marathon or a weight goal and then once it is met you completely stop all of the training? This seems disconnected from long-term impacts (making a way of life). For example, someone may try a new diet fad and meet their goal quickly of losing those 10lbs but then they immediately stop what they are doing. By taking your mind off of the goal and placing it on and put the system, we will have a better, sustained outcome. Stick to the process and be kind and forgiving if you don’t meet these goals immediately.