Try a Serving of Process with that Goal
New Year's Eve brings out the goal setter in each of us, which is why I'm sending this out on New Year's Day. I want nothing to do with your haphazard goals and resolutions. The only good resolution I ever heard was when Clara set hers to be "more nachos in 2015." Now THAT was a fine resolution, and one I was pleased to help her keep. I concede that having a goal is helpful for giving order to our thoughts, but I'm interested in your plan, that process leading to your goal, and the confidence you have in yourself to reach it. You had your fun last night, so today let's you and your headache think about the difference between being goal or process oriented.
Here are three examples that some of you might remember. I'm still attached to them:
1. Australopithecus: Me want eat meat!
Homo sapiens: Because I intend to serve Saber Tooth Tiger a l'Orange for this evening's meal, I shall sharpen my spear, carefully track the animal, and enlist Og, Oog and Oomp to help clean and gut the beast and drag it back to camp. With this thoughtful organization, my dinner party will certainly be a success.
2. Philistine: Chopin Preludes 2018 or bust!
L'artiste: I intend to learn to play piano this year, and therefore must find a suitable teacher, procure an instrument, and set aside 30 minutes each day to practice. I will play the Raindrop Prelude for the Summer Solstice.
3. Couch Potato: I'm going for six-pack abs this year, dude!
Yogi: I want strong abdominal muscles, so I must acquire a customized workout that will suit my body type, with proper prep and counter poses so I don't create bad posture along with a six-pack, and set aside the required amount of time to do the exercises. I am convinced that if I follow this regime, I will succeed.
Basically, understanding the Process/Plan behind the Goals prevent them from going belly up. The Saber Tooth Tiger hunt begins too late in the day, and guess who can and who can't see in the dark? Chopin turns out to be more difficult than we anticipated, and without a weekly lesson of level appropriate music, we get frustrated and abandon the piano dream. And we ALL know how the six-pack abs dream too often deteriorates into six packs, period.
Certainly having a Goal is the necessary first step, as it acts as our original motivator. If, after naming it, we could just set it aside and put our focus on the Process/Plan, we would still make our Goal. And we would do it in a much calmer live-in-the-moment kind of a way. Process wins on a few different levels!
When we're hiking to the top of a mountain, it's a pleasure to enjoy the actual walk: the babbling brook, the calls of birds, the color of forget-me-nots. It's useful, too, to keep an eye out for fallen logs and rattlesnakes. Cultivating a little contentment and awareness of our current state of being, so that all our hopes are not pinned on the Goal alone, helps maintain momentum and confidence. And should we fail to reach the top of the mountain, we won't feel as though all was lost. We might remember the attempt fondly, and try again another day.
Too much focus on the Goal (no matter what it is; go ahead and name yours here) is simply exhausting. It causes the Process to become cast in shadow, which is exactly where our energies should be focused! Enjoy the Process, have Confidence in it, and the Goal will be reached. Having a goal with no idea of the process needed to get there is like having a cigarette without a light. Ha! Just making sure you're paying attention.
There is a cycle here: Naming our Goal gives us incentive to keep up the good work of the Process and when we see that we are making headway, it stokes the fires of success, renewing our Confidence in the Process, and giving us another infusion of energy to stay the course. We roll through this cycle many times, until finally our Goal is reached. Although the Goal is an important motivator, it's the Process, and our Confidence in it, that ensures success.
Happy new year! Make yourself a plan today to go along with last night's resolution, than tell me all about THAT!