You know that saying, “Enjoy the process!” Well, how exactly do you do that?
Have you ever felt drained from doing something you don’t want to do? Or wondered how some people can continually execute on their goals with enthusiasm?
There are certain areas in my life, like fitness, where I can execute all day. I love being at the gym. Then there are areas like nutrition, where all the goal setting and action systems in the world won’t save me from falling off the boat.
The third scenario is an area like business, where I’m making apparent progress, but it doesn’t feel that way. That fulfillment factor is missing.
Think about that feeling you get as soon as you hit a PR… A few minutes later, you’re already trying or looking towards the next PR.
Why We Fall Flat On Our Face
This completely changed the way I look at goal setting and systems overall. The reason we fall flat on our face at times is because we don’t have a deep rooted “why”. A sense of purpose that drives us. It’s not always on the tip of our tongues.
Well, how do you find that?
If I was to ask you what is important to you, there’s a tendency to slip into social idealisms. You might say something that sounds good, feels like it should be important, or something very surface level. The following process is going to help you objectively see where your priorities are at. It’s absolutely different for everyone. But the idea is once we have a clear understanding of what our top 5 values/priorities are — action becomes easy.
It becomes authentic. It becomes very clear what we should spend our energy and attention on. Now this is an exercise that you’re going to want to get a pen and paper out for. Sit back, relax, and don’t rush it.
Step 1: 13 Questions For Developing Your Operating System
The 13 questions I’m going to share with you are straight from Dr. John Demartini’s book. You have to list 3 examples for each question. By the end, we’ll have a total of 39 answers that we’re going to filter down based on frequency. You’re going to have quite a few answers that repeat, which is totally fine.
- How do you fill your personal & professional space?
- Which 3 actions do you truly spend your time on most?
- Which 3 actions do you spend your energy on most? How do you get your energy?
- How do you spend your money?
- Where do you have the most order and organization?
- Where are you most disciplined, reliable, and focused?
- What do you think about? What are you most inner dominant thoughts?
- Which 3 outcomes are you mostly visualizing/realizing?
- What is your internal dialogue? Which 3 outcomes of how you would like your life to be, do you talk to yourself about the most?
- What do you talk about in social settings? What’re the topics that you keep wanting to bring to the conversation?Something no one has to remind you to talk about?
- What’re 3 people, actions, or outcomes that inspire you most? And what is common to them?
- What’re the most consistent long term goals you have set?
- What do you love to learn about most?
Step 2: Filter it down
What you now want to do is list all of these answers and tally up how many times each of them repeat. You can also group certain answers together to make it more cohesive as you find fit. In order, list the top 5 answers that repeated most often. For me personally, my answers showed up:
- 11 times
- 8 times
- 5 times
- 5 times
- 4 times
Step 3: Revise the hierarchy
The next step is to filter once again based off these questions.
- When I have a choice between 1st and 2nd, which one do I choose?
- Which one does my life most commonly demonstrate as most important?
- When I have a choice between 2nd and 3rd, what do I choose?
- When I have a choice between 3rd and 4th, what do I choose?
- When I have a choice between 4th and 5th, which one do I choose?
How does that look? Does that order sit well with you? Adjust it once again as necessary.
These are not set in stone. Every 3 months, you should revisit the exercise to check in. At certain periods, you’ll notice the 5 values shifting around in terms of order, depending on what’s most relevant to you.
The Secret To Enjoying The Process
Here’s the thing. The more you can find ways to link an action to your 5 values, the more motivated and fulfilled you will be.
Let me lay out my personal hierarchy as an example:
- Communicate with others in a way that connects
- Inner Peace
- Creating art
- Financial freedom/business success
- To give love/receive love
I’ll illustrate a few action items to show you how they’d fit into the hierarchy. First, let’s take something I absolutely HATE doing at times, which is answering emails. How do I link this action that I dread into my hierarchy of values?
Well, if we think about it:
- Emails still allow me to communicate with others in a way that connects (Value #1).
- It allows me to create art by getting guests scheduled for the show (Value #3).
- It gives me a space to get clients for individualized program design (Value #4).
- It allows me to thank people I admire for their work or communicate with mentors that I’m learning from (Value #5).
Now let’s look at something I KNOW I love doing already, which is having conversations on a podcast.
Podcasting is something that is a part of my essence. I experience the same flow state that someone competing at the Games might feel. Why is it that I find such fulfillment in this action?
If you can zoom out and find the links, you’ll notice:
- It allows me to communicate with others in a way that connects. Whether that’s the guest and/or the audience.
- It allows me to authentically express myself, which gives me a sense of inner peace.
- It allows me to create a piece of art.
- It allows me to find ways to support and bring awareness around my coaching business, which is inching towards that financial freedom piece.
- As cheesy as it sounds, I feel a sincere sense of love towards the guest for coming on. For the listeners for taking the time to actually listen. And that heartwarming feel after every episode.
Don’t Fall Into This Trap
To stay happy while you “enjoy the process” and find fulfillment throughout the journey to any goal — fitness related or not, you must find ways to feed this hierarchy.
Do something actionable everyday that fulfills each of those points. We run into trouble when we compare our hierarchy to someone else’s. Or when we try to force our hierarchy on someone else. This is literally just scratching the surface. If you actually sat down to perform this exercise, I’m sure you may have had some light bulb moments.
I highly encourage you to go read the full book by Dr. John Demartini. His work is something I wish I could share with every person in the world. The book dives deeper into how you can apply this with your health, work, relationships, day to day life, you name it.
Now you have an operating system that is unique to you and only you, like it should be. Your journey will have bumps along the way and won’t always be purely enjoyable. But if you can find ways to link your actions back to your hierarchy — you won’t just get from point A to point B. You’ll be much happier and fulfilled along the way.
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March is the founder of the Barbell Beauties. Her goal is simple… Empower every woman to grab a barbell and LIFT. She’s been an active CrossFitter for 7 years and credits that sport for turning her into a true athlete.