We all have goals, dreams, and aspirations.
There is always something we hope to achieve that we think will make our lives much better and will help us attain glorious happiness.
We tell ourselves stories that if we achieve this one goal – get this one item, get that promotion, drop that pants size – that we will be successful, and if we are successful, we will be happy.
There are only two possible outcomes for our goals: We either achieve it, or we don’t.
If we achieve our goals, we simply make new ones, new targets to achieve and a new schedule for our postponed happiness.
If we fail, we feel demotivated, we feel like we have failed ourselves and as if we are somehow lacking.
When we fail at achieving our goals, we play a one player blame game with ourselves. Stop!
This is why you should not aim for success: It is a constantly shifting goal post that never lets you win.
Ok, Don’t Aim for Success, Got It! Now What?
I do not mean to sound cliche, but there is definitely a lot of truth in the phrase:
“It’s not about the destination, its about the journey.”
I only realised how true this was when I first discovered my wanderlust (extreme desire to travel).
Travelling is always the wonderful part that people rave about, arriving at the destination rarely is.
Thinking of travel in relation to everything else I love in life left me wondering whether I should think of goals in the same way.
Its not about the goal, its about the process we take to get there.
If you forget about your goal completely, and simply focus on the process, you still will have great results and be a lot happier.
Imagine these for example:
You have a goal of getting fit, but all you focus on is running for a few minutes each day and you forget about the goal, eventually you will be fit, with the bonus of being consistent with a great new habit that you enjoy.
You have a goal of writing a book, but all you focus on is sitting down and writing a page a day and you forget about the goal of writing a book. In a year, you will have a fairly large body of work and will be a better writer for it – and this could be your first draft.
You have a goal of expanding your business, but all you focus on is delighting your customers with the best you have to offer. Eventually, they will be so happy that they can’t resist telling others about you, which expands your business for you.
You get the picture.
Its not about about where you want to be but what you constantly and consistently do each day to live a happier life.
Not only is focusing on the process better than goals, goals can actually make you less happy while messing with the success of what you may have already achieved.
Goals force you to postpone your immediate happiness to a future time that may never arrive. (and it also gets you stuck on repeat.)
Goals also cause you to yo-yo with your achievements. If you had a goal of losing weight, for example, you will have a workout plan in place to achieve it.
Once people achieve their weight goals, most people stop doing whatever they were doing to achieve the goal, they treat it as sprints instead of marathons, and eventually put on the lost weight again.
Once you stop doing what got you to where you are, you will just end up where you were.
Goals also cause you to judge yourself, either as a failure or a champion, rarely is there an in-between.
Not having goals frees you up to simply being you and enjoying the journey – without judgement.
Got it! No Goals, Just the journey, where do I start?
Starting is probably the most important thing you will ever do to grow who you are.
You want to run a marathon? Take the first step.
You want to write a book? Write the first page.
You want to workout everyday? Start with one pushup.
Make starting so easy you just cannot fail, and keep starting, everyday.
Oh, and Start now! Start today! Start before you feel ready, just start.
Too many dreams have been lost to the mythical place of tomorrow, do not let that happen to your dreams.
This is by far not an ultimate plan or strategy for a perfect life, simply a musing of someone who just wants to live a better life, today.
Envision the life you love, and imagine the things you would have to do to get you there, then fall in love with the process instead and soon the life you love and the life you live won’t be two separate things.
Start, start small, start immediately, and keep going.
The only place to be happy is right now.
What are you going to start doing today for the life you love?