While working with my clients over the past four years, I’ve noticed that the vast majority of people are so goal-focused that they forget to live in the moment and enjoy their journey. When I realized this, I can’t say that I was surprised because that’s exactly how I felt when I started my journey toward a healthy and fit life.
Road Map To Success
Back when I was just under 200 pounds – miserable and knowing that something had to change – my ultimate goal then was to lose 50 pounds and to wear a size 10/12 again. (That was the smallest size I had ever been, so it seemed attainable.)
I wanted so badly to feel good about myself. I wanted not to feel depressed every day. I wanted to have energy and feel good and really be able to LIVE life with my kids, rather than observe their lives from the sofa.
I thought reaching that goal was what would make me happy, so I was laser-focused on getting there.
In the beginning, I would do my workouts and make healthier choices dutifully. I did this out of obligation – and let’s face it, a little self-guilt and fear mongering – because I knew that if I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t be happy. I attached happiness to the goal.
But one day, when sweat was pouring off of me, I realized I was SUPER HAPPY in the moment of DOING something to reach my goal. I felt such a sense of accomplishment as I rocked my way through my workout, and I realized that it wasn’t reaching the goal that would bring the happiness, it’s the ACTION.
It’s the teeth-gritted, sweat-in-the-eyes, just-five-more-minutes, limb-quivering, “I-CAN-DO-THIS!!!” STRUGGLE. THAT’S what gives us the sense of accomplishment and the confidence that then motivates us to continue to push forward.
When I set my goal of reaching that size 10/12 again, I could not have predicted that my body, in a healthy state, is capable of fitting into size 6 clothing. (Mind blown!) I NEVER would have known that had I kept my initial mindset, because I would have stopped when I reached my goal!
But because I learned to love the ACTION, I continued on even after I’d lost the 50 points. While my weight actually went back up due to the increase in muscle mass, my body continued to shed fat and lose inches and I reached a size 6: my body’s “happy and healthy place.”
Frequently, we are so very blindly focused on the GOAL that we forget to truly live and be present in the moment! We have this idea that we won’t really be praised (or praise ourselves) for the achievement until we’ve reached “the goal.” But it’s the actual PROCESS that makes the outcome worth remembering, worth savoring, worth celebrating!
Not all results are predictable, and so often when we make plans, life gets in the way and throws us for another loop. So, binding your happiness to an end result is setting yourself up for disappointment, because it’s so easy for the dream to be deferred. When we struggle for something because it means something to us deep down, THAT is true success regardless of the end result.
The real rewards and life’s sweet and savored moments come from the day-to-day minutiae. Living life. Being present in the moment. Making choices that will help you reach your goal. Taking care of you so you can in turn take care of those around you.
Yes, it’s great to actually reach the goals that we set for ourselves (hello, skinny jeans and glowing self-
confidence!), but don’t get so wrapped up in the GOAL that you forget to really savor and enjoy the journey because THOSE are the times where we have the most potential to GROW!
So, the next time you feel like quitting in a workout or you hear your brain going, “Ahhhh the bed’s so warm and the air’s so COLD outside!” remember how GOOD it feels to fight for what matters to you, to take care of you and your body. That cozy sofa and warm bed will feel even better to the slightly fatigued, post-workout body, no?
The process IS success.
This quote by Greg Anderson sums it all up. “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in doing it.”