My goals for 2024 aren’t typical.
I’m not ending for an end result. Nor am I aiming for an outcome. Not money. Not followers. None of it. In fact, my aim is more to not think of them.
I have no control over the outcome.
The first issue with having outcomes as goals is that I have no control over them.
There is little point in trying to control something out of my reach. It’s a futile attempt. There’s chance. There’s timing. There are other people. There’s the environment. There are all these factors that I have little to no control over but still influence the end result.
Even the best drivers may get into an accident. Why? Because there are other drivers on the road that they can’t control. Sure, if they’re a good driver, they’ll be aware of their surroundings. That reduces the chance but doesn’t eliminate it completely.
Likewise, I have no control over the outcome. I have no control over the markets. I have no control over who hires me. I have no control over my girlfriend. I have no full control over anything besides my own decisions.
So this year, my attention, focus and time are reserved only for what I can control. I don’t care about what happens – I just care about what I do.
Everything besides that is not my business.
I get distracted by the results.
The second issue I had was focusing on the outcome. It meant I’d lose sight of the process.
When all you think about is the destination, you forget that there’s a journey to get there. And so you spend all your time thinking, hoping, and imagining but not actually going.
My issue is that when I focus on the results, I forget about the process.
Tell me if this sounds familiar…
I go to the gym consistently. I work out, it’s wet, I go all in. I go to the gym Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and probably Saturday and Sunday. And I’d do this for a couple weeks. All good, right? My issue was that every day, I’d look at myself in the mirror and check to see if I was getting bigger and more defined. But each day looks the same.
What I’m working for doesn’t appear to be coming. So then I give up. I skip the gym on Monday. Skip the gym on Thursday. Next week, I will skip Monday and Tuesday. And before I know it, I’m not going at all. What was the point? I wasn’t seeing the results. I wasn’t getting the body I was looking for. So there’s no point going.
That’s the problem.
The absence or presence of results is not always the best indicator of the right action. Contrary to popular opinion, seeing is not believing. If that were the case, going to the gym would be pointless if I didn’t lift heavier and run faster every week.
But if I focus more on and trust the process without it being dependent on the results, then the results and body will follow afterwards.
In my case, focusing on the results robbed me of the results. It stole my motivation. It drew my focus away from where it should be, and in the end, when I should’ve gotten bigger, I got smaller.
If I’m honest, this is why I’ve been inconsistent throughout my life. I am a numbers person, so I look for numbers and facts. And I rely on these “facts” to guide my decisions.
I’ve started so many businesses and ventures. I’ve been on and off the gym more than I can count. I’ve practised drums on and off more times than I can count. One of the biggest reasons I’ve struggled to do anything consistently is because I rely on the outcome to determine whether or not I should continue. I’d practice drumming for four days and expect to immediately see results the next Sunday at church.
Now, my focus is to do in spite of. I might not see the followers I’m gonna continue posting. I will continue going to the gym even if I don’t see my muscles getting bigger immediately.
I'll lose my love of the process.
If I’m not careful, I’ll come to hate what I do. Becoming so future-focused, you lose the present tense. Everything is for tomorrow, and nothing is about today.
The truth is the destination isn’t really that exciting. In my opinion and experience, the only purpose of a destination is to give direction. But when all you think about is where you must arrive, you miss the beauty of the experiences, lessons, mistakes and stories.
I don’t want to miss the journey. Nor do I want to end up hating something I actually love.
In the past, especially with creative endeavours like writing or video editing, I’ve fallen out of love with it. I’d love it because it’s uncapped and gives complete freedom to explore and figure out. But then, when I start treating it like a business or telling myself “I have to” instead of “I want to”, I’m suddenly not looking forward to it anymore.
That will not happen this year.