Why You Need To Focus On Progress Over The Destination
I’m sure you’ve heard these sayings before – practice makes perfect or keep your eyes on the prize. What both of these sayings have in common is the destination. The finished product. The end goal. There is nothing inherently wrong with keeping your end goal in sight and I mean, you should probably keep that in mind from time to time but I find there is an overall lack of focus on progress.
Focusing on your progress does not mean totally forgetting what your big goals and dreams are. If anything it is a constant reminder of what you are working towards. There is nothing worse than the feeling of failure. You tried so damn hard to achieve a goal and you fell short. It didn’t work out. There are two ways to look at this failure. Either you throw in the towel and say you failed. Or, you look back at the progress you made and reevaluate.
Why focusing on progress is powerful
There are so many reasons that you should focus your time and energy on your progress versus just your outcomes. Remember, focusing on just the outcome leaves everything in very black and white terms. You either failed or you didn’t. Progress is the grey area. There is more room for growth and positivity.
You can see how far you’ve come
If you are like me then you probably plan out everything. You keep track of your goals on a weekly or monthly basis. You are tracking your habits. Maybe you are even journaling about it. The part I love about tracking things is being able to look back at the progress. For example, I have a fitness goal for this year that includes working out 4 times a week. At the beginning of the year, I was getting around 3 workouts in each week, usually falling short of the goal.
Now, I am hitting the 4 workout goal almost every week. Notice I said *almost* every week haha. But the fact that I have my tracker showing the progress I’ve been making keeps me going. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what we did yesterday let alone 3 or 4 weeks ago. If I didn’t keep track of my progress I may say I never hit my weekly fitness goal and feel bad about it when in reality, I am doing really well.
You can challenge yourself
Maybe you’ve been working on growing an Instagram following. You set up a goal to hit a certain number of followers and you’ve been steadily increasing. If you were not keeping track of your progress you may see the numbers rising and just leave it at that. But since you see how well you are doing you have the chance to challenge yourself.
If your goal was 1,000 followers by the end of the month and you are already at 900 with time to spare, why not increase your goals. Focusing on the progress gives you the confidence boost you may need and allows you to push yourself more. Strive for bigger and better. Remember, the worst that will happen is your fall short. If you increased your goal to 1,200 followers and ended up with 1,100 that is still 100 more than you initially aimed for!
You will find consistent satisfaction
Would you rather be consistently happy or feel like you aren’t good enough for months to only feel good for one day? I would hope you said consistently happy. The thing with putting all your focus on the destination (end goal) is that the work required to get there doesn’t feel fun. You probably feel frustrated that things aren’t moving fast enough. Small setbacks will feel huge.
If you are always focusing on progress you will find more ways to be happy along the journey. There will be a lot of small wins. You will get to check off milestones that will make you feel great. You will be constantly challenging yourself and moving that end goal further and further. It becomes less about the actual result and more about how amazing you are doing right now, in the present.
Mindset shifts to focus more on your progress
Your mind is so powerful. I am always blown away by how much our minds can influence our physical bodies. So, if it is so powerful that it can cause our bodies to feel a certain way (hey anxiety) then it can definitely change the way we THINK about progress.
Be as positive as possible
Something that is talked about everywhere is the practice of gratitude. I really didn’t think it was that big of a deal in the past but since adding more positivity and gratitude into my daily life I have noticed a big difference.
If you can end your day writing down or thinking about a couple of good things that happened, no matter how big or small, you will start noticing all sorts of good things. Start trying to name even one good thing about your goal progress. For example, maybe you signed up for a course or created an Instagram account. Even if it’s small, it’s a huge win! It is something to celebrate and it’s a step closer to your goals.
Change the words you use
Words are very influential and can affect how we feel and think. Changing the words you use when talking about your goals and your hard work can actually change how you feel about it.
Instead of saying things like “nothing I do is good enough” or “I’m not getting closer to my goals” try reframing it to something more positive and focused on progress. Saying things like “I am learning from my mistakes” or “small steps are still steps forward” allows you to see the exact same situation in a different light.
Plan ahead for setbacks
It is going to happen. A setback will occur and you will feel shitty about it. That is just life and there’s nothing you can do. However, you CAN plan ahead for these situations so you feel more prepared and able to keep making progress.
Setbacks don’t even need to be big things. Something small could totally derail your day and throw you off for the whole week. So understanding your triggers (maybe certain people really throw you off your game) and how you work best (avoiding your phone) will help you set yourself up for success.
When you do become derailed it’s important to have a plan so you can get back at it. You want to be able to bounce back. That will look different for everyone but think of ways to reset yourself and get back on track!
There can be a lot of pressure to achieve goals. In the past, hustle culture has been so prevalent and I think it has really messed us up in terms of goal setting and achieving. Of course, there is work that goes into achieving big things, no one is going to tell you not to work hard. There is a difference between working hard and focusing on nothing else.
When you focus more on your progress there is less “hustle” and more celebration, satisfaction, and space to breathe. You will feel generally more successful in your daily life because you are in fact, crushing your goals daily.
You CAN do whatever you want in life and there is no perfect timeline or way to get there. There is only progress and the journey you take creating a life you love ❤
Related post: How To Boost Your Motivation To Reach Your Goals
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Do you tend to focus more on progress or the end goal?
It is better to appreciate and celebrate the little victories that you are accumulating during the path because with each one of them you gain the confidence that you need to get to your goal.
I totally agree! It really is the little things 🙂
Definitely focus on progress as you keep moving forward in the goals you set. Be realistic in your evaluation too and in what you would like to accomplish. 😊
Pastor Natalie (ExamineThisMoment)
Love that! Being realistic is so important 🙂
I agree definitely focus on progress it pushes the mind and mindset is always key
For sure! Our mindset is very powerful!
I’m a firm believer in setting and focusing on goals! It’s all in how you perceive your end result. Do you believe in your end result or not?
Love that look on it!
You make some great points and I totally agree! I love that you make a point about changing your words. It’s a real game changer!
It’s so small but so impactful!