Process over Outcomes
During the Olympics this month I was thinking to myself about the long journey the athletes have taken to get to where they are; the hard work they put in, the setbacks they may have had, the everyday PROCESS of achieving these incredible long term OUTCOMES.
Lets bring our thoughts to your goal setting; your approach, the expectations you put on it, and our sometimes over-analysis of the outcomes.
Like our superstar Olympians, we need to create goals for ourselves, big or small, long and short, in numerous facets of our life.
A sports psychologist that currently works with Team GB, suggests there are three factors that the athletes use in setting their own intentions;
OUTCOME goals: which are about the long-term, and might be about winning or getting to the final.
PERFORMANCE goals: which are a little more specific, maybe a particular time they want to achieve by a certain date.
Finally, PROCESS goals, the small daily things they need to do such as their pre-race routine, the amount of water they need to drink and how much sleep they will get.
Whilst you need all three of these, it’s the focus on the PROCESS that I want to highlight here!
When you value results over the PROCESS that gets them, you can end up measuring your progress too frequently to get any meaningful feedback. If you weigh yourself 5 times a day, you aren’t getting much information that can help you!
Every measurement gives you an emotional high or low even though it’s more indicative of a normal daily fluctuation than anything else. It’s exhausting; you’re wasting more energy on measuring and stressing than on taking positive actions.
However, a PROCESS is entirely under your control. Continuing with the example of weight loss, you might make a PROCESS goal of going to the gym 4 times a week or starting a habit of walking every day. This is easily measurable and doable; you are totally in charge of whether or not you reach your goal.
Develop the process!
If you find your self stuck, unable to progress, ask yourself if you are focusing more on the final outcome or if you are present in the moment – creating everyday PROCESSES to elicit long term change.
The PROCESS puts you in control. You only have partial control over whether you reach a specific goal, but you have complete control over the PROCESS you use.