Have you ever set a goal to do something and felt really proud of yourself for setting that goal, only to feel disappointed months later once you’ve failed to reach that goal? A personal example that pops into my head is completing a marathon. This is a goal I’ve had for many years, yet year after year I fail to take the necessary steps in order to achieve it and feel disappointed in myself again and again. Looking back, I realize I had never focused on the right type of goal. Instead of focusing on finishing a marathon, I should have focused on training for a marathon. The old me would daydream about triumphantly running across the finish line instead of using that time to go outside and train. That was until I learned to shift my attention away from my goal, and instead focus my attention on the process.
Focusing on the process simply means focusing on the actions you must engage in in order to reach your goals. This shift in attention allows you to become more present in the here and now and allows you to take your success day by day. It creates daily victories that over time help sustain the motivation required to accomplish your long-term goal. Not only that, it also allows you to focus on action steps that are within your control. This mindset can be applied to any type of goal- from running a marathon, to getting all A’s in school, to getting your dream job. It all starts with picking a goal, figuring out how to reach that goal, then focus on how you’re going to achieve it, and not on what you are going to achieve. By doing this, you will set yourself up for success in more ways than one.
“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary”—John Wooden
Now if you’re wondering if I reached my goal of completing a marathon, I have not (yet). Back in February 2020, I signed up for my first half marathon to take place in June 2020 and began my training. I put all my focus into my training runs and into taking care of my body. Now unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that in March 2020 COVID-19 made its appearance and my race (like all of the others) was cancelled. Had I focused solely on the actual race itself instead of the training, this would have devastated me. Instead, I recognized that this virus is out of my control. No one knows when the race will actually take place. So, I have continued to train and take care of my body and I know that one day in the near future I will have done everything I can to prepare myself to achieve this long-term goal of mine.