Forget About Focusing on Goals. Focus on The Process
The world we live in constantly reminds us that we need to keep improving if we want to achieve any form of success in life. It’s no joke that reaching those goals is somewhat harder in real life that in your crazy little mind. We all have things that we want to achieve in our lives, and at some stage, I bet that was very different to what they are now. We are either trying to get into the better shape, build a successful business, raise an awesome family, winning a belt or championship, and so on.
Everyone successful I know, have read about or listened to harp about goal setting and how important it is, but is it really? Is goal setting the x-factor that is going to get me 6% body fat, the black Lambo, the awesome family, or championship belt? While I think it is important to have goals for sure I think the most important factor in reaching those goals is the process in which we choose to move forward on. What I’m starting to realize, however, is that when it comes to actually getting shit done and making progress towards my goals, there is a much better way to do things.
This my dear readers is the difference between goals and systems. The process in which you make those goals become a reality.
What’s the difference between goals and systems?
If you’re a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team accomplishes at practice every day.
If you’re a fighter, your goal is to win fights. Your system is practicing your craft and perfecting your skills daily so that it becomes second nature when you enter the octagon or ring.
If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a successful business. Your system is your sales and marketing process.
If you completely ignored your goals and focused only on your system, would you still get results? 100% you would!
When I raced motocross as a kid my goal was to become champion and the process to become champion was to spend hours practicing my craft, from corner speed to jumping jumps to practicing starts. I knew if I was perfect at that, every race I had a chance of being a champion.
When I decided I was going to compete in a bodybuilding competition my goal was to get a top 3 at my first show. I had no idea about what diet I needed to be on or how to train for a show so I needed to connect with like-minded people, learn as much as possible and then train my ass off. I got up at 4 am to do sprints before work, I went to the gym at 2200 for late gym sessions and I followed a structured meal plan according to my schedule, made sure I drank enough water to stay hydrated. I figured out what process would work for me to get the best results.
The result was becoming multiple junior motocross champion and I placed 3rd at my first bodybuilding show.
Let’s talk about three more reasons why you should focus on the process, or your system instead of goals.
1. Goals can stress you out
When you’re working toward a goal, you can put a lot of pressure on yourself to reach that goal. Stress can cause a whole lot of nasty situations that will actually hold you back from reaching your goals. Stress is bad for your health on many levels but it will essentially keep you from performing at your peak when you need to have your shit together. Focus on the process and achieving easier goals through the process or your new system.
SOLUTION: Commit to your process, not your goal. Put your goal in the memory bank and just see it when you go to sleep and when you wake up.
By choosing to focus on our goals we stress ourselves out. We place unnecessary stress on ourselves to build muscle, lose weight or to succeed in business that we forget to have fun along the way. Instead, you can keep things simple and reduce stress by focusing on the daily process, rather than worrying about the big goals. When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time.
2. Adjusting Goals for Long-Term Success
It’s true that most people when they hit their goal whether it be competing in a marathon, losing weight or starting a business they seem to stop right there. They have this mentality like, I did what I set out to do and now I can go back to normal life which is fine but if you want to continue to be a success, or continue to be in shape you have to keep redefining your goals. You might think your goal will keep you motivated over the long-term, but that’s not always true.
SOLUTION: Build a system that allows you to modify easily so that you can keep moving forward on yoru new goals.
I was training at the gym last week and I was doing my second-to-last set of squats. When I hit that rep, I felt a small twinge in my lower back. It wasn’t painful or an injury, just a sign of fatigue near the end of my workout. For a minute or two, I thought about doing my final set. Then, I reminded myself that tomorrow is another day and that intend to keep training for the rest of my life.
In a situation like the one above, a goal-based mentality will tell you to finish the workout and reach your goal. After all, if you set a goal and you don’t reach it, then you feel like a failure.
But with a systems-based mentality, I had no trouble moving on. Systems-based thinking is never about hitting a particular number, it’s about sticking to the process and not missing workouts.
3. Goals cant predict the future ( Shock Horror )
We try to predict how quickly we can make progress, even though we have no idea what circumstances or situations will arise along the way, and as much as we would like to do this, life just loves throwing the damn lemons at us. I am not sure about you but when life throws lemons at me I tend to mix it with tequila and enjoy the ride. Every time we set a goal, we try to do it, we try to plan out where we will be and when we will make it there.
SOLUTION: Build a Regeneration Circuit
Regeneration Circuits are important for building good systems as they allow you to keep track of many different parts of your system without feeling the pressure to predict what is going to happen next. Forget about predicting the future, focus on the process and build a system that can signal when you need to make adjustments accordingly.
Now, this is not me saying goals are useless I am just trying to point out that if you followed a system that allowed you to make solid habits towards the process, then reaching your goals will be easier and stress-free. I’ve found that goals are good for planning your progress and systems are good for actually making progress.
Goals can provide the motivation and the direction and even the push you need to move forward in the short-term, but eventually, it is the process and a well-designed system that will always win. Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process is what makes the difference.
I am back at home after traveling for a few weeks, so decided to do a heavy push workout. The workouts consisted of 3 warm-up sets of 20, 15, 10 reps and the 5 sets of 5 reps. I did include dumbbell lateral raises and bench over raises to super set between sets to pump the shoulders a tad more.
Weighted Dips superset with pull-ups
Close Grip Dumbbell Press
Finished off with a 1o min run on the treadmill
I broke my 16 hour fast with a banana and peanut butter protein shake, with Cocovia and Flaxseed.
1st meal – 3 scrambled eggs
2nd meal – pork ribs
Snack – 2 rice cakes with Dr Zaks Banana Peanutbutter
3 meal – Livers and Mash
Supplements taken – Pre Workout, BCAA’s, Gamma Amino Buryicacid and Testo Peak
Don’t let the excuse I don’t see any results hold you back or stop you from moving forward. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your body will not change shape overnight. Stay focused on your goal and perfecting the system in which you are using to keep your progress moving forward. Don’t cut corners for any laziness in your workouts or your meals.