Especially this time of year and especially as Americans, we can get hyper-focused on goals. “THIS,” I say to myself, “is what I want to achieve/do/be!”
But what if goals actually get in our way more than they get us where we want to go?
Writer James Clear in his article Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on Process Instead, argues that goals actually discourage us and don’t motivate us to keep going. By focusing on the process or the system, we get to what we strive for (and beyond) with more ease and success. Read his great piece here.
I love how Eric Thomas puts it. I can really relate to focusing on falling in love with the process over looking far ahead to a big goal. You can hear him talk about his own story of falling in love with the process here.
OK, so I adulterated the famous Chinese proverb from Lao Tzu a little. But you get the idea. Looking into the future doesn’t help us as much as focusing on what we can do now to get where we want to go. Set up a system and put your energy there. This short video explains it succinctly and persuasively.
Bonus Extra Opportunity to Apply This Wisdom!
Here’s something that you can play with: write down goals for each of the realms – body, mind, emotions & spirit. (This is actually optional, but I find it to be helpful to get to the next step.) THEN write down the processes and systems that will move you little by little, day by day, step by step in that direction. For example, here is mine for my mental realm:
Make art every day and share it. Learn new approaches every week – new songs, new drawing materials/exercises, new subject matter. Every week, challenge my habits and learn how to reach more of people who are turned on by what I do.
Susan’s Goal/Mental Realm (again, this is optional, but it’s helpful in creating the system):
I am a professional artist who creates images and experiences that awaken, inspire & delight as many people as possible.
I recommend actually writing these down — even better if you do it with a real pen on actual paper! It changes the brain to do this clearly and explicitly. Then post it somewhere you can see it and put your system into your schedule.
I’d love to hear how this works for you and even examples of your Goals/Systems if you’re willing to share them.
Breathe Deep, my friends. Shine Bright. Show Up.