This is my second-last post for this January series so I am continuing with my plan to reiterate the messages I hope I stressed throughout the month. Yesterday, I reminded you to check your systems. Today, I’m reminding you to focus on your efforts instead of your results.
Yes, I know it is really fun to notice and celebrate results. I’m definitely not arguing otherwise. However, results take time, they are not always within your control, and results happen after a series of efforts. If you only focus on results, you can end up frustrated and annoyed -especially if you realize that the result you originally sought isn’t the same as the one you want to seek now.
Soooooo, if you focus on your efforts instead, you can enjoy more regular feelings of competence and accomplishment. You can check something important off your list every single time you are working towards your goal or moving forward with your habit.
This doesn’t mean that you need to put in a Herculean effort every time.
It means that all of your efforts count.
The day that you do a single squat or a minute of meditation? That counts!
The day that you do an hour long dance workout or sit in meditation for hours? That counts too!
Focusing on your efforts makes everything part of the big picture (your habit/goal/practice) and of the biggest picture (your well-being.)
I’m not saying that you’ll never be frustrated or disappointed – those things are just part of life (and of habit-building)- but focusing on your efforts can help you have a realistic perspective on things.
And when you notice the efforts that you regularly have time and energy for, you’ll have more reasonable expectations for your eventual results.*
So, Team, as you move forward with your habit-building practice, please consider keeping the focus on your efforts instead of just on your results.
Caveat: If you are the type of person who is completely fueled and energized by the idea of your future results and you can easily shake off disappointment and frustration about day-to-day activities, please just carry on doing what you are doing. Different brains enjoy different approaches and I just want everyone to have the freedom to work in a way that makes sense to them.
Here’s your gold star for today’s efforts, whether you focus is just on the work of today or if you also have one eye on that distant prize. Please be kind to yourself, either way.
*To use a non-fitness example, if I want to write a novel I can focus on that end result – a finished first draft. Compared to my imagined future manuscript, 5 minutes of daily writing will seem paltry and it will feel like a very long time before I can celebrate an accomplishment. However, if I focus on my efforts – building a regular writing habit that will eventually lead to a manuscript- I can enjoy the process more, I can celebrate more often, and I can see every writing session as part of the bigger project. AND, because my focus on my efforts will show me just how much I can get done in a day, a week, a month, I won’t be creating the unreasonable (and definitely disappointing) idea of finishing my novel in a very short period of time.