Choose to focus on the process rather than the goal.

Being too goal oriented creates unnecessary tension and makes you lose sight of what’s actually important. Being process oriented puts you in the position where achieving your goals becomes natural and also gives you more fulfillment.

I know: it seems counterintuitive. Why focus so much of your time, energy, attention, and resources on the process when you could simply work directly on the end result?

Yet the game of life — and any sub-game you may have chosen to play — doesn’t work like that.

Keep reading…

Goal oriented vs process oriented

What we get in life depends mostly — some would say entirely — on what we choose to direct our focus toward.

You may think that focusing on a certain goal and focusing on the process toward that goal are essentially the same thing. Well, not exactly.

Any goal that’s big and exciting enough will always have an element of transformation, that is, it will force you to turn you into a different person.

The bigger the goal, the most profound and radical the transformation required.

What many don’t realize is, because change is required anyway, it makes sense to work and focus on change itself — the process — rather than the end goal.

The dangers of being “goal oriented”

While being goal oriented directs your focus and energy toward the end result itself, the person who is process oriented sees the bigger picture and directs their focus and energy on what allows the goal.

Being too goal oriented makes you think of the process as some kind of obstacle, some type of gap that should be reduced to a minimum and as soon as possible.

You would think that going straight to the goal (mentally, then actually) is the fastest way, yet paradoxically it’s likely to be the other way around.

Why? Because once you focus on the process — what allows the goal — then the goal ceases to be the most insurmountable task in the world.

In other words, instead of working on the goal itself, you work toward being the kind of person and being in the position where achieving the goal becomes natural.

Why being process oriented is better

Once you shift to a process-oriented mindset, things will naturally be easier no matter what your goals are — here are five reasons why…

1. The process never ends

Yes, achieving goals is important. But then, what? This is the paradox that many successful individuals have experienced at some point in their life…

They work really hard toward something, achieve their goals, reach happiness… then realize that happiness was never going to last, was never meant to be the end.

Life means changing. Changing means being alive. Once you turn into the person who’s focused on processes rather than goals, you’ll discover that the process never really ends — and that it’s a good thing.

2. Fulfillment and purpose

Suppose that the happiness you get once you achieve a certain goal does last forever (not going to happen, but let’s pretend it for a second).

Even if that was the case, your own happiness — and self-worth, self-image, personality, mood etc. — would be fragile as they’d be based on something that can be taken away from you.

But the process toward a goal/dream can’t be taken away. Make it your purpose, and learn to get fulfillment from it, and your levels of happiness will have a much more solid foundation.

3. What about you?

Why do so many lottery winners end up in a worse financial (and probably emotional) situation within two years? Why do so many people who find an amazing partner unconsciously reject them?

Though each situation is different, one of the main underlying causes is… them! Their mindset, their self-image, how they approach life, how they respond to whatever happens to them.

Being too goal-oriented may come with the risk of being so focused on what you want externally that you forget what you should be working on internally e.g. your ability to receive

4. Goodbye, stress

If the process never really ends, then deadlines cease to be so important. This means a lot less stress, anxiety, and even uncertainty.

The truth is, when it comes to setting and achieving goals (and life in general, to be honest) we experience a lot of tension and negative emotions that we ourselves create.

Focusing on the goal/deadline itself means they are important. Importance means additional anxiety. Remove the importance (by focusing on the process) and everything will be easier.

5. Mistakes are good

Lastly, being focused on the process toward your goals allows you to be a child again; you are free to experiment, to explore, to make mistakes.

Because in reality, mistakes are often an essential part of the process. Can you really grow as a person, learn a new skill, be in a position others could only dream of, without making mistakes?

Probably not. So be willing to make mistakes. If you focus on the end goal, mistakes can be painful; if you focus on the process, not so much: they are part of the process itself.

From goal oriented to process oriented

Six tips to change your mindset:

  • Let go of any sense of importance attached to the end goal
  • Remove deadlines (turn the one-year goal into a lifelong one)
  • Lean to enjoy and get fulfillment from the process
  • Pat yourself on the back after each small win
  • Get clear on what you want and what allows it
  • Don’t just focus on external goals — look within