The writer Donna Tartt, who has published three novels in two decades, said in response to the question “Why do you take so long?”:
“If you’re not enjoying it, you’re probably doing it too fast.”
I love this thought.
I’ve been thinking about how it can apply to our big goals.
Give yourself plenty of time to execute when you set a big goal. The enjoyment is in the journey, in the reaching of the goal.
What’s the hurry?
When we set big goals we often set very ambitious time frames.
“I want to find a new job in two months.”
“I want to lose 20 pounds over the summer.”
“I want to earn $100,000 my first year as a freelancer.”
What’s the problem with setting ambitious goals?
Well, sometimes they’re simply unrealistic. For example, losing twenty pounds over the summer requires a weekly weight loss that’s probably not very healthy for your body.
Yet the real reason we often set ambitious goals (a seemingly positive thing!) is that we think our life will be better when we reach our goal.
We believe we’ll be happier when we find a new job, we’ll feel better about ourselves when we lose the 20 pounds, or our life will be so much better when our business generates $100,000.
But is it true?
We can’t escape the fact that our life is 50/50.
Half of the time we’ll be on the other side of happy. We need to be willing to experience negative emotions half of the time. We can’t run away from our feelings.
We experience 50/50 no matter the job, weight loss, or income.
So why set goals?
You’re not escaping or running from your current job, body weight, or income, you’re choosing the goal simply because you want to. When you set a weight loss goal to make yourself feel happy you’ll reach the goal and then find your life is just the same as before â€” no better no worse.
Have you ever wondered why so many people regain weight after they lose it? Because after you lose the weight, your life is no better than it was before the weight loss.
The simple truth is: our goals are not responsible for making us happy!
You can find other compelling reasons to reach your goal with the most compelling to experience the excitement of finding the right job, of losing extra weight, of earning $100,000. Or maybe you want to make yourself proud!
It’s all about the journey. The journey is the goal.
You’re not running from a job to another job to make yourself feel better. Your new job can’t make you happy. Your thoughts about your new job produce happy feelings for you. You can choose to change jobs because you want to, to challenge yourself to be the best you can be in a new position. Or you can practice creating happiness by changing how you think about your work and your current job.
The journey of weight loss is about becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings and the cause of your emotional eating. The experience is about getting to the cause of your overeating, not to lose twenty pounds fast only to regain it again. Therefore, why rush it?Â The goal is to learn more about yourself, it’s not really about the weight loss.
The experience of earning $100,000 in your business is a big milestone and the compelling reason to do it is to simply make yourself proud. You can say you did it. The moment when you achieve this goal is simply a moment, the joy and excitement (and yes, discomfort) will come every step of the way.
Don’t rush it
If you’re not enjoying the process, it’s because you’re doing it too fast.
Here’s a new perspective to try-on: why not give yourself a year to lose twenty pounds, a year to find a new job, two years to earn $100,000?
We set ambitious goals because we want it to happen fast. We may have reached a point of crisis with our work, the scale may have hit a certain number we’re uncomfortable with, or we may need a certain dollar amount to support ourselves with our new freelancing business. So our brain tells us it has to happen fast, like now!
Plan ahead so you don’t wait too long and put yourself in a situation that creates thoughts of desperation. For example, the thought “I have to get a new job”, produces feelings of desperation and anxiety.
Here’s an example of how our brain works:
Circumstance – Finding a new job
Thought – “I need to find a job immediately”
Feeling – Desperate, anxiety
Action – Apply everywhere, unfocused effort
Result – Take the first job offered
Circumstance -Finding a new job
Thought – “I want to find a challenging new position”
Feeling – Confidence
Action – Apply to companies that align with my vision
Result – Take the job that’s the right fit
Choose to give yourself the time to take your time, be present, and remember the journey is the goal.
Do you want to achieve your big goal but unclear of how to get started? I can help!