Goals and goal setting have been a huge part of my life. Ever since college, I have thrived on the fact that I am working towards something. Every year I try to put some goals in place and then try to achieve them but something changed in the last three years. Not only did I fail to achieve them, I was nowhere even close to the targets I had set for myself, which made me realize that I had dedicated so much time to the idea of what success looks like, that I forgot to think about the road that will get me there!
Call it the sum total of failing plus reading a lot of personal development books and following people like Tim Ferris and Ramit Sethi online that the realization which followed, hit me hard:
Process matters more than the goal itself.
With the right processes, I can hit my goals, maybe even overachieve but without the process, I will be staring at failure once again. So this year, I have begun putting processes in place that will ultimately help me in my goals and it seems to have been working! Falling in love with the process and not the end result has let me enjoy my journey and in the process, build self-confidence. This has allowed me to focus only on what I need to do next.
Well designed systems will always win. It can be overwhelming to think about doing a 4-minute plank but if you increase your plank stand by 2 seconds every day, you know you will eventually get to a 4 minute plank! Effective process keeps moving us towards our goals by helping us focus only on what we need to do next. With goals, we fall into the trap of feeling happy and satisfied only when we achieve it.
What do you do after you have achieved that goal? How do you keep the ambition and desire still going?
Bjorn Borg quit when he was 26 because he had already achieved greatness.
Eric Cantona quit when he was just 30, having been voted the greatest player to play for Manchester United.
Usain Bolt retired at 31 because he had nothing more left to achieve.
They became great not because they had solid goals but because they had a solid process in place to enable them towards greatness.
Whether you look at athletes like Usain Bolt or Pele or Michael Phelps or you look at companies that have been in the business for decades. All of these people have one thing in common: They have tremendously strong processes in place that have helped them achieve such great results year on year and dominate like nobody’s business.
Success came from doing the same thing over and over again but in a better way. It came with them continuously fine-tuning the process they had in place and that took them places.
The work ethic that we develop in the process, ensure we are successful despite minor setbacks. Michael Jordan is still one of the highest paid athletes despite retiring from professional basketball long back because he has put in processes in place that ensure he keeps earning money and multiplying his wealth. Every success story you read about will talk about the processes they had in place to help them succeed. I am willing to bet my entire life on it!
Amazon never had a goal to become a billion-dollar company when it first started but it has been able to do just that because of all the process it put in place. That is another advantage of having the right process in place. Goals might change year on year or quarter over quarter but putting a process in place that works for you is a long term play. Short term, success might evade you but in the long run, you are bound to be successful.
It is hard to think about the process and not the goal if you have been wired to chase goals. I have lost three to four years in the process of realising that chasing goals won’t work if I don’t have a proper process in place. Learning might be hard but so is unlearning. It takes years of putting the right structures in place to become an “overnight” star! By focusing on the process, you will feel more capable despite failing. I have to constantly remind myself to not chase goals but rather work on the process
Here are some of my processes that I have put in place since the start of 2018:
Write one article a week. 750–1000 words.
Schedule my online posts on FB and LinkedIn for the best time in my network.
Exercise 4 times a week. Do anything. Just exercise.
Automate my investments.
I am constantly looking to improve and add new systems to my life so comment below this post or write to me and let me know what are some systems and processes that you have put in place in your lives?