What's Important, the Process or the Goal?
Are you generally a goal-oriented person or a process-oriented person? And what does that have to do with wellness?
I'm not the type of person that has an "ah ha!" moment about something in my life that needs to be changed. Usually, change, for me, is often the result of months (possibly years) of something nagging at me. In the past, it has often looked like this. I'll notice my pants aren't fitting, the seat belt feels tighter, or all I want to do is escape life to watch my crime shows with a nice cold beer. I'll notice these things and do nothing for quite some time. I'll know that I'm not taking care of myself, using food and alcohol as a buffer to my negative thoughts, and constantly seeking comfort in the midst of my uncomfortableness.
At some point, I'm not sure when, I'll start to think about "facing the music". I'll begin processing my "come to Jesus" with my Spouse, close friends, and possible therapist if I happen to be talking with one at the time. I'll say things like "Ugh, I really gotta get this weight off because I feel so uncomfortable" or "I feel tired all the time, I need to start working out" or "I really need to go to bed earlier because I'm dragging ass outta bed". I'll make comments that I'm not happy living the way I'm currently living, and then after I've said these types of comments, for possibly another month, I'll create a weight loss "goal" and a plan to accomplish said goal.
The goal, losing weight, focuses on an external factor. So if I want to accomplish this goal, then how do I get there?
Initially, once I decided to take action, I created a plan to lose weight. I focused on food choices and a workout routine I didn't hate. Simple right? My food plan incorporated all the foods I was eating, but reduced the portion size of two meals. I figured if I'm going to make changes, it should be doable changes that I could do for a lifetime.
I had the plan, I scheduled the workouts, made time to create my daily plan, and downloaded inspirational podcasts and audiobooks to nourish my mind. What I didn't consider was taking a moment to figure out why I was living the way I was living. Why wasn't I exercising? Why was I numbing out through crime shows, beer, and food? Why was I staying up late watching TikTok videos and then waking up later than I'd like? Whether I wanted to admit it or not, this was my "process". My process consisted of not paying attention to my actions, eating beyond satisfaction, and not wanting to look at the negative thoughts in my head.
I started out with a specific weight loss goal, but as time has gone on, I've realized I want to figure out what's going on in my head, the stories I tell myself about myself, and why I rely on food, alcohol and other vices to comfort me. I realize that we are wired to constantly seek stimulation and comfort, so its not wrong that I've been living as I've been living. However, I want to be fully engaged in my life, I want habits that support wellness, I want to feel my emotions and not be afraid of them.
So what does this all mean? Goals are important, but the process is more important. Goals are a guiding light, they show us which direction we desire to go. A process is how we get there, its our everyday living, our thoughts, behaviors and actions. My goal was to lose a certain amount of weight. This goal is what I used as a focus point to create a plan to make that goal happen. After implementing my wellness plan, I realized that weight loss wasn't really what I was after. What I really wanted was to live a fully engaged healthy life, and weight loss will happen but its not as important as showing up for myself every day.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you feel like goals are more important that the process?