One of the things I’ve been learning, lately, is that we never truly “arrive”. Once we hit a goal, there is always another to take its place.
I used to be so focused on the outcomes — the desired end result (tbh, I still struggle with this). But it would often lead to frustration, either because that outcome always seemed too far out of reach, or because I would reach it and then not feel as exuberant as I’d expected to feel.
One of my favorite articles, by James Clear, talks about letting go of our focus on goals (aka “outcomes”), and instead, focusing on systems — in other words, the small action steps you need to take, day-by-day, to achieve those goals or outcomes.
The benefits include: (1) mastering the skills you need, in order to excel; (2) not being overwhelmed by the big end goal you’re aiming for; and (3) making incremental progress toward that desired outcome.
The Japanese call these small, continuous improvements “Kaizen” (read more about that concept here).*
Think about it this way:
If you’ve ever had a goal to lose over thirty pounds, you know that thinking about trying to get to that end goal (outcome) seems so far out of reach. It can be so overwhelming, in fact, that you think to yourself, “I’ll never get there. What’s the point of even trying?“
What if you, instead, focused on the day-to-day actions you needed to take that would still — eventually — take you to that goal? For example, eating half of what you normally would at mealtimes, or making sure to move intentionally for at least thirty minutes a day. Now you’re just focused on today. And, isn’t that a lot more manageable, mentally?
Let’s look at another example:
Say you have an online business, and you need to fill up your email list (get leads), and start generating sales. Maybe your goal is to get 600 new email subscribers, because you know those people are more likely to buy from you. Yet, looking at that number (600 subscribers) seems daunting!
So, what are the daily actions you can take that will help you grow your list?
Maybe it’s reaching out to a handful of new people through social media, each day, and building relationships. Maybe you create content that attracts your ideal people to you. The more you do these small things, the more momentum you will build, and the more people you’ll find signing up for your list. Before you know it, you’ve surpassed that original goal of 600 new subscribers!
When we focus on the outcomes, we get overwhelmed and deflated.
But if we focus on the daily steps we can take to make progress, we are much more likely to enjoy the journey.
. . . . .
*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my Disclaimer page for more information.