Sometimes we set ourselves up for failure and don’t even know it. For example, how many times have you changed your behavior to achieve a certain result like losing 10 pounds, only to backslide once you reached your goal and wind up back where you started? Many of us seem to swing on a perpetual pendulum because our focus is on a short-term outcome rather than an ongoing change.
This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately given my new interest in fitness competitions. In this sport there’s a lot of concentration on upcoming competitions. There’s kind of this outward pressure that you should always be gearing up for the next one. But once the competition is over you don’t want to end up burnt out, crabby and miserable because you can’t sustain the herculean efforts you put in temporarily.
I’ve come to see it’s better to have a long-term mindset where you purposefully fall in love, not with the end outcome, but with the actual things you need to do on a regular basis. Fall in love with the process of improving.
In my case this means working out hard, watching my diet and developing my stage presence. Rather than see these things as nasty chores or sacrifices I must make for a little while, I am now seeing them as exceptional skills that benefit me and that I am lucky to get to do every day. I’ve given up seeing the end state as the trophy or even fixating on the end state at all.
This philosophy applies to any goal, for example a person who wants to be a top sales person can decide to fall in love with making lots of exceptional sales calls, getting better at it all the time. Someone who is seeking a long term love relationship can start to consciously enjoy the activity of dating, becoming a better and better person to date with each outing, all with the knowledge that that special person is coming.
When you develop a passion for the process of improvement you develop positive habits. Success then becomes a natural byproduct of what you’re doing. Instead of riding that pendulum of frustration, you hop on a rocket ship of inevitable victory. Your success becomes a foregone conclusion.