Do You Focus on the Outcome or the Process?

With the New Year upon us, it seems negligent not to talk about change. Whether it is getting in shape, losing weight, getting out of pain, or just plain trying to change for the better, the New Year is the time we tend to focus on such things. But the thought of change is often accompanied with a sense of first excitement and then dread.  

The reality of life is that many things are out of our control.  Life happens. We have accidents, health issues, relationships change, and when these things happen, that loss of control makes us feel that we are not in charge of our own lives. We try to do the right thing, make the best decisions, live healthfully, but sometimes things just don’t work out like they are supposed to. So we end up feeling defeated, which further ensures that we “fall off the wagon” as it pertains to our goals.

So where does that leave us? It means that we need to recognize and control the few things that we can:  

  • Give up on perfection and the idea of willpower

Maybe you’re not doing everything perfect, but if you have a vague idea of your long term goals, and try to keep that in the back of your mind, you can assess (when you remember) to see if your daily choices are in alignment with those goals. In other words, will having that extra piece of coffee cake get me closer or farther away to losing that stubborn 10 lbs?  If you decide to have it, live it up!  And if you don’t, you’ve had yet another chance to practice living to your goal. Either way it is a win if you pay attention to what you are choosing.  What we do every day is what matters, more than what we do once in awhile. And the only way to get ahead is by paying attention.

  • Make sure that your long term goal means something to you.

It doesn’t matter if your goal is the “right thing” to do; it matters if it is meaningful to you. You have to know your “why,” otherwise you will never get closer to attaining what you truly want. We are all different and by respecting our individuality and uniqueness, it will free us up to focus in on what matters to us and live our lives according to our own truth rather than what the fitness industry or anyone else tells us.

  • Find a process that has a proven track record and makes sense to you

I’m not a proponent of diets or “plans”, because if you really look at how they pan out for most people, they don’t. Rather, look at people who have adopted a lifestyle that has worked over time and see if it resonates with you. Simple processes are the ones that usually work.

  • Measure your success by what you can control

You can control how well you move and what you choose to eat, but you can’t necessarily control the scale, your pain, your relationships, etc.  If you stay true to your long term goal, and continue to build the habits that are needed, success will come and you can own it.  

If we choose to embrace the process of change versus the outcome, we put ourselves in the driver’s seat.  Invest your time and energy on building skills which turn into habits that speak to you and serve you well.