Goals. Resolutions. Dreams. They’re really great for some people. But they’re not for me.
Dreaming big can be a fantastic way to accomplish amazing things. But it mostly just gets me lost and let down. It’s like the bigger the goal I make, the farther away it seems, and the more easily I get discouraged or get pulled away by the “flow” of other, more immediate things. So I don’t make goals anymore.
Instead, I make processes.
See, for me, achieving something is just a matter of taking a series of steps. Over the years my greatest accomplishment have happened a day at a time, and largely without my realization. So I’ve ceased to envision the far away mountain I want to climb. Instead, I look down at my feet and concentrate on the steps.
Perfection is the process
When I was 19 years old, I transformed my physique drastically over a period of just a few months. And it was mostly an accident. I never set a goal to get into incredible shape. Instead, what I did was change how and what I ate. I planned out five small meals throughout the day, every day. I went running 3x a week. I did an ab workout 3x a week. I did pushups and pullups and jumped rope (just for fun) before or after the gymnastics classes I coached.
After only a couple of months, people started to ask if I had lost weight. I didn’t know, I hadn’t been keeping track. I didn’t care to. And after a few more months, friends who hadn’t seen me since before the process began were shocked by the changes I’d made. And looking back, they should have been! But never once during the process did I look at a long-term goal that I wanted to accomplish. I focused on the steps and the goal reached itself!
Goals are great for some…
There are people who can make a goal, envision the result in their mind, and then somehow push through the steps it takes to get there. They are driven by the feeling of accomplishment they experience when they see a BIG result. It’s what motivates them. It completely loses me, though.
So instead of making goals I make processes. Here is an example of some of the current processes I’m working on:
1. I have a strong desire to be close to God and deepen my relationship with Him. I want to be in tune with spiritual things and be a person of not only spiritual conviction but spiritual strength. I know that becoming such a person will require a process.
So, my “goal” is the process. Each day, I’ve determined to read the word of God (in the Bible, Book of Mormon, or Doctrine & Covenants) before leaving bed. That’s the “goal” that I’ve made. But it’s not really a goal, it’s a step to achieving the “real” goal. But for me, the step is the goal. Does this make any sense? I’ll try to be clearer in the next one…
2. I want to be in good physical condition. Health is important to me, and so is having a positive body image (yes, I realize that sounds super girly.) So one of the things I’m currently working on is improving my fitness. But instead of setting the type of long-range goal like “I want to have a six-pack by (insert date here,)” or “I want to have xx% body fat by (insert date,)” I once again set a goal that’s a small step.
The “goals” (which are really just processes) that I’ve set for myself are to take a 15 minute run each day and to do a 15 minute strength workout each day. That’s it. But I know that if I commit myself to the process, I’ll achieve the goal.
If you find that you’re constantly getting lost on the journey toward a goal, you might look at making processes instead. A faraway goal can often be too daunting to reach. But when the process is all you care about, the goal just happens!
What do you think? Are you getting lost on the road toward your big goals?