Goals are more than just a destination we reach. When we view them as an end rather than a process or journey through which we grow, we end up disappointed. We do ourselves a disservice, because far more of a goal is the actual steps we take to get there. The process of learning, the practice of changing ourselves slowly, one step at a time… that is the experience of striving toward a goal. If we focus too much on the result, we miss the most enjoyable part—the journey to get there!
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“When we remember that life is a process, it helps us put our goal-setting in perspective. The purpose of setting goals is to give us a temporary structure in which to operate. Unfortunately, when we begin to believe that the structure is solid and real, we lose touch with the process of getting there. This is why we often feel so depressed and let down when we reach our goal.s We have not let ourselves enjoy the experience of the journey, and when we reach the end, we have missed the journey.
Being in the present allows s to experience the journey and to respond to the process of the journey. When we operate this way, we see that all goals are just temporary ideas that change as we draw near to them.”
Similarly, change is a process. Our lives may change in an instant, but we cannot. In order to make significant changes in ourselves and our lives, we must work toward them with careful, conscious practice. Have patience; it takes time. Telling myself this reminds me not to despair when I slip up after having made so much progress toward a goal. My slips are not the end of my journey, but rather a step along the way. It’s hard to break ourselves of habits that have been ingrained in us for years. It’s natural that we will make mistakes along the way—none of us is perfect, after all! Our slip ups don’t magically undo all of the progress we have made, and we don’t have to start over from scratch because we are still one day closer to reaching our goal than we were yesterday. Just look at how far we have come! Recognizing that is part of enjoying the process.