You hear it over and over again, “set goals and you will achieve your goals,” “make ‘SMART’ goals,” it's even on the inside of some of your Lululemon shirts, “you can't score if you don’t have goals.” There is no doubt that it is important to have and set goals, however a hyper-focus on “results” leaves us wanting more once we have achieved the goal or the result that we have built up in our mind.
Getting into the college that you dreamed of attending, landing the graduate program you dreamed of being accepted into, getting the promotion you had sought for years, achieving the body you had wanted and pictured in your head. All of these started out as goals in your mind and achieving the result that you wanted means that you achieved your goal.
But what happens once you have achieved this goal? What comes next? How do you feel once you have completed this goal? While there is a period of time once you have accomplished your goal that you feel a sense of pride and you are happy about the accomplishment you have made, but this glimmer of success and pride is quickly extinguished by your next and potentially bigger goal. You have built up in your mind that if and once you accomplish this goal, you will be happy and content. However, why is it that after the initial pride wears off, we are still wanting more and have not achieved the happiness we thought this result would have brought?
The reason there can be a feeling of emptiness after accomplishing a goal is because that goal had been placed on such a pedestal in your mind that it was all you were focused on. Weeks, months, years, decades may have gone by before you accomplished this goal and once it is accomplished after you have your moment of pride, you sit back and say to yourself, “Where did the last year go? What did I even do this past year?”
A change in mindset when it comes to goals is all it takes to become more present in all aspects of your life and to achieve sustained and prolonged happiness. Set the same goals that you wish to accomplish, but instead of just focusing on the end result become obsessed with the day-to-day process that it will take to accomplish this goal. This means setting smaller daily, or even weekly goals that will help lead you to accomplish your larger goal. In doing this you will realize what day-to-day goals and habits will make you a better, happier person and allow you to be more present in all aspects of your life. Additionally, a focus on the process will allow us to realize the challenges that we may need to overcome throughout the process. It is experiencing and overcoming these challenges that allow us to grow as a person, and ultimately get us closer to being ready to achieve our goal.
It is through an obsession over the process that we will realize our greatest goals while also remaining wholesome and present to the rest of our life and to our loved ones around us. Next time you set a long-term goal, be sure to make process-oriented goals that will keep you on track to not just accomplish your goal but also make you a better person.
Fall in love with the process and when you have finally completed your goal you won’t look back and just be able to say you have accomplished some end result but rather you will look back and say that you have learned a lot about yourself as a person and have lived every day in the present moment.